Category Archives: Politics–General

Polarization in the U.S. Senate

James Moody and Peter Mucha published a fascinating article recently on the polarization of the United States Senate. Given their findings (published in Network Science, 1:1, 119-121), senators are farther apart, and are more partisan than at any point since the early 1900s. To put it differently, there are more straight, party line votes than at any point during the past century, which means we see lots of Democrats voting against lots of Republicans on many, many issues. The research also… Continue Reading ››

Youth & the Republican Party

No one does ritualistic self-immolation like the Republican Party. Still stinging from the 2012 setback, the Grand Old Party remains on the political couch, yearning for therapy and analysis. On Monday, the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) issued a lengthy report on the party and the youth vote. Politico‘s Katie Glueck published a nice summary here. The highlights are expected, in some ways. The Republicans appear behind the times on social issues, especially when it comes to gay marriage, where… Continue Reading ››

The Perfect Storm

I hope everyone has been watching the unfolding scandal at the IRS (that’s the Internal Revenue Service for the present).  As I see it, this seems like the perfect convergence of several disturbing trends in recent decades. First, we see the increasing use by congress of “big” and “broad” statutes whose language is left (deliberately?) vague.  So we begin with vagueness–even extreme vagueness. Second, Congress then leaves the implementation of these bold and vague laws to the agencies either already… Continue Reading ››

Right Track/Wrong Track Poll Numbers

Public opinion experts–I do not consider myself one of them, mind you–use a variety of techniques to tap into how people perceive our nation’s health and welfare. One of the most popular is the right track/wrong track question, which is usually worded like, “do you think America is headed in the right direction or on the wrong track?” We usually put these numbers together and determine whether the right direction is larger or smaller than the wrong track. Right now,… Continue Reading ››

For progressives, do you think our political process works right now?

With public opinion polls low for Congress (independent of which party is in power) and support for the President seemingly at his base level, no real substantive work being done, and the only progress at all on our national debt is an approach that the President insisted on and now says is the worst way possible to cut our deficit (sequester), can anyone stand up and cheer for our political process? So, for you progressives, if you agree that the… Continue Reading ››

Witdrawal or Transformation?: Two Kingdoms and Christians

Lately it seems there have appeared more articles on the subject, known among Reformed folks as “The Radical Two Kingdoms Debate” or “R2K.”  As near as I can tell, this debate is a resurrection of one that has been going on for centuries.  It appears to be between those who accept the transformational model of cultural engagement–particularly in the political arena–as suggested in the classic H. Richard Niebuhr book, Christ and Culture and those who reject that model and opt… Continue Reading ››

Scandals: The Cumulative Effect

The Obama Administration is, for the first time, mired in scandal. The IRS problems continue to irritate. Benghazi bubbles. The Department of Justice’s wiretaps rile. The most interesting article, for me, was Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei’s assertion that the DC political culture is turning on Obama as a consequence of these possible misdeeds. As I have noted before, Washington’s political culture is small and compact. Journalists, bureaucrats, politicians, lobbyists, and various and sundry other people populate that culture, along… Continue Reading ››

Benghazi as Watergate?

Congress is set to begin hearings on the Benghazi attack, in which four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christoper Stevens, were killed. The 9/11/12 assault, which was initially blamed on a YouTube video that defamed Mohammed, is now seen as a full-scale act of terror on a relatively soft target, the U.S. Consulate. The primary controversy seems to stem from the possibility that military assets, that could have provided aid to the Ambassador and the security personnel protecting him, were available,… Continue Reading ››

Kagan and the Demise of Democracy

Donald Kagan, a history professor, gave a “farewell lecture” at Yale University last week and made the statement “Democracy may have had its day.” Dr. Kagan is not one to shy away from controversy and has often raised the ire of his colleagues through his public statements and actions. By way of explanation, he argued that universities “are failing students and hurting American democracy. Curricula are ‘individualized, unfocused and scattered.’ On campus, he said, ‘I find a kind of cultural… Continue Reading ››