ABOUT THIS BLOG

I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.


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Monday, May 5, 2014

Reconsiderations

When citing a work, make sure you put the words in context.

Sometimes the defenders of freedom must show patience as well as resolution. But that patience comes of confidence, not compromise. We believe, with Alexander Hamilton, that the "spirit of commerce" has a tendency to "soften the manners of men." 

Inherent limitations of Congress:
  • Except in simulation, legislation is slow. (And swift action is not necessarily smart action.)
  • In a body resting on geographic representation, parochialism is inevitable. (And it is often legitimate.)
  • A multi-member, bicameral institution will have a hard time planning.  (And planning is overrated.)

Peanuts

Reform proposals:
  • End the Tuesday-to-Thursday club.
  • Return to regular order and limit restrictive rules.
  • Change filibuster rules.
JFK on the complexity of courage:
  • The pressure to "go along" -- but we "should not be too hasty in condemning all compromise as bad morals."
  • The pressure to seek reelection -- but lawmakers "who go down to defeat in a vain defense of a single principle will not be on hand to fight for that or any other principle in the future."
  • The pressure to serve interest groups -- but "they are the articulate few whose views cannot be ignored and who constitute the greater part of our contacts with the public at large, whose opinions we cannot know..."
On January 12, 1991, House Speaker Tom Foley (D-WA) and Republican Leader Bob Michel (R-IL) spoke about the impending Gulf War. Click for video of their remarks, so you can see what grownups look like:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The COIN & STAMP bills may not have been so unrealistic after all...

Except in this case, it's the GOP trying to trick the Tea Partiers:

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/immigration-reform-conservatives-106213.html

"In the aftermath, they are stepping up their efforts to thwart any plan that might be afoot among House leadership to jam reform through the House by the end of this year. A group of conservatives plans to meet and strategize this week, and are scouring bills searching for offending language that might somehow slip through their gates. [my emphasis]

“We have to man the watchtowers 24/7,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), referring to a feeling among hard-liners that House leaders will try to sneak through immigration measures."