Tag Archives: John Boehner

Richard Davey is wrong

There may indeed be such a thing as Democratic or Republican potholes.

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Federalist Papers Scorecard: We’re Losing

Even those with limited expectations for the Congress would assume members to have mastery of junior high civics concepts. Such optimism was misplaced in the Tea Party which brought the country to the brink of crisis over the simple notion that a law passed by a previous Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court might go into effect.

Tea Party Patriots worship the Constitution of course. Since my students and I have been reading The Federalist Papers together this semester I’ve been struck with how our modern practices are matching up to The Federalist Papers. Not well, I’m afraid.

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The New White Primary

Day Eight, America Held Hostage. As Professor Ubertaccio has argued here and here, President Obama cannot and should not negotiate with minority Tea Party in the Republican House. There is a majority in the Senate and a majority in the House willing to vote for a clean Continuing Resolution to reopen the government. The ransom note is being held by the Tea Party. Presidents aren’t supposed to negotiate with hostage takers, right?

Yet Speaker John Boehner and sensible Republicans are being held in check by an institutional arrangement that reminds me a bit of the old white primary system.

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The Tea Party and the Violence of Faction

In The Federalist Papers James Madison wrote that perhaps the greatest challenge facing America’s new republican government was the “violence of faction.”  I like to joke with my students that the Founders constructed government institutions so that even idiots could run them without too much damage, because they knew that someday idiots would run government. That was a valuable precaution but is it adequate to our present situation, when a Tea Party minority is running (or not running) the government?

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The Go F*** Yourself Model of Polarization

Political scientists have been debating how much polarization exists in the electorate for some time so this post at Wonkblog caught my eye, from Prof. Danny Hayes. He considers the recent incident during fiscal cliff negotiations in which Speaker John Boehner invited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to perform an anatomically impossible feat.

Prof Hayes uses an article by Professors Shanto Iyengar, Gaurav Sood, and Yphtach Lelkes to note that polarization within the electorate may be “affective”: the scholars draw on social identify theory to make the argument that simply identifying with one party is enough to generate unfavorable impressions of the other party. So Boehner’s advice to Reid may have been more than men behaving badly, it may have promoted polarization in the electorate.

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