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.

Search This Blog

Monday, March 28, 2016

Twitter Accounts

Administration and Interest Groups

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Congress and the President II



I encourage  you to use Twitter -- but please follow Twitter guidelines for spoof accounts!

Peer evaluation: On Monday, April 4 (the Monday after simulation) please bring in a short memo in which you identify three or four participants who did a particularly good job. Give a couple of sentences to each person you name, explaining why she or he stood out. Give special attention to those who did their work behind the scenes. Please take some care with these memos. In addition to using them for evaluating the assignment, I save them so that I may quote them in letters of recommendation. Evaluations are anonymous: please bring in hardcopy and do not put your own name on the sheet.

Writeup: In analyzing your role in the simulation, please cover these points:

  • How well did your positions and goals match those of your real-life counterpart?
  • What methods did you use? In the circumstance that you dealt with, would your counterpart have done the same?
  • What obstacles did you face?
  • What did you achieve?
  • How did the simulation both resemble and differ from the real world?
  • Overall, what did you learn?

You may include  relevant supporting materials, such as: memoranda, bill drafts, or strategy notes. (Better yet, just refer to material that is already online, and provide the URLs.) Please be selective here: do not include everything, just the key items.

  • Essays should be double-spaced, and between 5 and 6 pages long. I will not read past the 6th page. (Supporting materials do not count against the page limit.) 
  • Cite outside sources with Turabian endnotes.
  • Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you.
  • Return essays to the Sakai dropbox by 11:59 PM, Friday April 15. Your grade for the simulation will drop one gradepoint for one day's lateness, a full grade after that.


Adminsitrative Rules
Executive orders
Executive Actions
US v. Texas
The position of The Donald

Signing Statements

Monday, March 21, 2016

Congress and the President I

Article I and Article II

Hamilton in Federalist 8: "It is of the nature of war to increase the executive at the expense of the legislative authority."

Statements of Administration Policy
1— Strongly Support Passage
2— Support Passage
3— Do not Object to Passage
4— No Position on Passage
5— Oppose
6— Strongly Oppose
7— Secretary’s veto Threat (single and multiple agency)
8— Senior Advisor’s Veto Threat
9— Presidential Veto Threat

CQ on presidential success:

Presidential approval

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Oversight and Hearings

A hearing gone very bad...

  • The Constitution
  • Gerald R. Ford: "An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history."
  • House role
  • Senate role
Executive privilege and Fast and Furious

Contempt of Congress:


How to prepare for a hearing.  Bookmark this page.  You might need it for simulation, or even real life.

The Army-McCarthy Hearings:

The Kefauver Hearings:


Iran-Contra on TV


Monday, March 7, 2016

Oversight I

NAIL:  Nominations, Appropriations, Investigations, Legislation

Nominations (more after spring break)
Investigations & Oversight
Legislation:  Executive Branch Organization and Laws on Reporting 
The Speech or Debate Clause
Presidential Immunity
Executive privilege

  • The Constitution
  • Gerald R. Ford: "An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history."
  • House role
  • Senate role

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The White House is reportedly vetting Jane Kelly, judge on the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals, for a Supreme Court nomination.

This is a particularly interesting because Kelly, a native Iowan, is personally close with Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley is 82 and facing reelection in a purple state--Obama appears to be putting as much pressure on him as possible to at least grant his nominee a hearing, especially after floating Republican Brian Sandoval as a potential nominee earlier. Grassley has wavered somewhat on whether he would be willing to grant a nominee a hearing: he originally joined McConnell in stating that his committee would not grant any Obama nominees a hearing, but has recently taken a more lenient stance, saying:

"I would like to think that, especially with Supreme Court nominations, we could get above the fray a little bit and determine what’s best for the public.”

It appears to me that Obama appointed Republican Sandoval and now Iowan Kelly largely to put pressure on Grassley. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Prediction market PredictIt currently has the odds for Kelly being Obama's first nominee at 39% (likely to rise further in the next few hours, as it was only 3% this morning). It has the odds of any Obama nominee getting a hearing at 43%, and a confirmation at 29%.






Power of the Purse II

Sample of a good bill analysis
Get the narrative from CQ Weekly

Getting ready for simulation.

Revenues -- Where the money comes from:

The tax system is more progressive than most people realize:

Tax expenditures

Outlays -- Where the money goes:

Outlays by function and superfunction

"Waste, fraud and abuse"  is an old gimmick

No, we cannot balance the budget by catching Social Security fraud: only 13 people aged 112 or older are getting checks.