The presidency of George W. Bush is notable for the grand scale of its ambitions, the controversy that these ambitions generated, and the risks he regularly courted in the spheres of politics, economics, and foreign policy. Bush's ultimate goal was indeed ambitious: the completion of the conservative “regime change” first heralded by the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. But ironically this effort sewed the very discord that ultimately took root and emerged to frustrate Bush's plans, and may even have begun to unravel aspects of the Reagan revolution he sought to institutionalize.
Politically, the Bush White House sought the entrenchment of consistent Republican electoral majorities. Institutionally, the Bush administration sought to preserve control of Congress by maintaining reliable partisan Republican majorities, and to influence the federal courts with a steady stream of conservative judicial appointees. The administration also sought increased autonomy over the executive branch by the aggressive use of executive orders and bureaucratic reorganizations in response to 9/11.
Many of these efforts were at least partially successful. But ultimately the fate of the Bush presidency was tied to its greatest single gamble, the Iraq War. The flawed prosecution of that conflict, combined with other White House management failures and finally a slumping economy, left Bush and the Republican Party deeply unpopular and the victim of strong electoral reversals in 2006 and the election victory of Barack Obama in 2008. The American public had turned against the Bush agenda in great part because of the negative outcomes resulting from the administration's pursuit of that agenda.
This book assembles prominent presidential scholars to measure the trajectory of Bush's aspirations, his accomplishments, and his failures. By examining presidential leadership, popular politics and policymaking in this context, the contributors begin the work of understanding the unique historical legacy of the Bush presidency.
America at Risk gathers original essays by a distinguished and bipartisan group of writers and intellectuals to address a question that matters to Americans of every political persuasion: what are some of the greatest dangers facing America today? The answers, which range from dwindling political participation to rising poverty, and religion to empire, add up to a valuable and timely portrait of a particular moment in the history of American ideas.
While the opinions are many, there is a central theme in the book: the corrosion of the liberal constitutional order that has long guided the country at home and abroad. The authors write about the demonstrably important dangers the United States faces while also breaking the usual academic boundaries: there are chapters on the family, religious polarization, immigration, and the economy, as well as on governmental and partisan issues.
America at Risk is required reading for all Americans alarmed about the future of their country.
James W. Ceaser
William A. Galston
Harvey C. Mansfield
Kay Lehman Schlozman
James Q. Wilson
Robert Faulkner is Professor of Political Science at Boston College. Susan Shell is Professor of Political Science at Boston College.
"America at Risk goes well beyond the usual diagnoses of issues debated in public life like immigration, war, and debt, to consider the Republic’s founding principles, and the ways in which they have been displaced by newer thoughts and habits in contemporary America. A critical book for understanding our present condition."
—Francis Fukuyama, Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
"In this penetrating book, the nation’s finest social and political thinkers from across the spectrum take a careful and no-holds-barred look at the dangers facing the American political system. The conclusions are more unsettling than reassuring---but that is because they are honest and real."
—Norm Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
"In the midst of overwrought pundits, irate soccer moms, and outraged bloggers, it is difficult to distinguish genuine dangers from false alarms and special pleading. This book enables us to do so, in a way that helps us to actually think about, not just feel anxious about, threats to those features of American society that are worth cherishing. The authors range in ideology and expertise, but they are uniformly judicious, incisive, and informative. This is a fascinating book about issues that the political system usually ignores or exaggerates."
—Jennifer L. Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
"A substantial contribution to understanding the role of public opinion and the news media during the Iraq War. Equally impressive, it effectively puts the domestic context of U.S. policy in historical perspective, making the book useful to historians as well as to political scientists."
---Ralph B. Levering, Davidson College
"American Public Opinion on the Iraq War sets out to chart against a detailed account of the war a nuanced assessment of how public opinion on the conflict evolved, the partisan differences that emerged, how the issue affected other areas of foreign policy opinion, and the limits of public opinion on policy. It succeeds at all of this, and it does so in a manner that is at once informative, inherently interesting, and exceptionally easy to read."
---Randolph M. Siverson, University of California, Davis
Ole R. Holsti explores the extent to which changes in public opinion reflected the vigorous public relations efforts of the Bush administration to gain support for the war and the partisanship marking debates over policies toward Iraq. Holsti investigates the ways in which the Iraq experience has led substantial numbers of Americans to reconsider their nation's proper international role, and he assesses the impact that public opinion has had on policymakers. Significantly, Holsti places his findings in a broader context to address the role of public opinion and of the media in democratic governance.
"A sobering analysis of anti-Arab racism, from neo-conservative to liberal, rooted in America's settler colonial past and seeping into every corner of our lives. Steven Salaita takes the reader into the crisis of Arab-American communities in the wake of 9/11. Written with passion, this lucid account of the dangers of American imperialism paints a dark picture of the agenda of the Bush administration not only in the Arab world but also for people of color at home." Miriam Cooke, Professor, Duke University
"An impassioned and deeply compelling look at the origins, evolution, manifestations and implications of anti-Arab racism today. ... A tour-de-force." Lisa Suhair Majaj, co-editor, Etel Adnan: Critical Reflections on the Arab-American Writer and Artist and Intersections: Gender, Nation, and Community in Arab Women¹s Novels
"Salaita dives head-first into the heart of racism in America and uses his personal experiences to help readers understand the mechanics of racism as it applies to Arabs, Muslims and people who look Middle Eastern in the post-Sept. 11 world." Ray Hanania, journalist and filmmaker, author of I¹m Glad I Look Like a Terrorist: Growing up Arab in America and Arabs of Chicagoland
"A highly recommended read, not only for students of Middle East history, but for the average American who wants to know how we have become so intimately and yet so bitterly entwined with the people of the Middle East. ... Salaita has thoughtfully articulated a very regretful era of unabashed racism in American history." Ramzy Baroud, editor, Palestine Chronicle and author of Searching Jenin
Today is a difficult time to be both Arab and American. Since 9/11 there has been a lot of criticism of America¹s involvement in the middle east. Yet there has been little analysis of how America treats citizens of Arab or middle eastern origin within its own borders.
Steven Salaita explores the reality of Anti-Arab racism in America. He blends personal narrative, theory and polemics to show how this deep-rooted racism affects everything from legislation to cultural life, shining a light on the consequences of Anti-Arab racism both at home and abroad.
Uniquely, the book shows how ingrained racist attitudes can be found within the progressive movements on the political left, as well as the right. Salaita argues that, under the guise of patriotism, Anti-Arab racism fuels support for policies such as the Patriot Act.
Salaita breaks down the façade of Anti-Arab racism with an insightful analysis, arguing for the urgency of a commitment to openness and inclusion in today¹s political climate.
Steven Salaita is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin -Whitewater. He writes frequently about Arab America and the Arab World.
Since his death in 1950, George Orwell has been canonised as England's foremost political writer, and the standard-bearer of honesty and decency for the honourable 'Left'. In this controversial polemic, Scott Lucas argues that the exaltation of Orwell, far from upholding dissent against the State, has sought to quash such opposition. Indeed, Orwell has become the icon of those who, in the pose of the contrarian, try to silence public opposition to US and U K foreign policy in the 'War on Terror'.
Lucas's lively and readable critique of public intellectuals including Christopher Hitchens, Michael Walzer, David Aaronovitch, and Johann Hari – who have all invoked Orwellian honesty and decency to shut down dissent – will appeal to anyone disillusioned with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Lucas contends that these leading journalists and commentators have used Orwell to justify their own political transition from radicals to upholders of the establishment. All of them play influential roles in supporting the UK and US governments' charge that opponents of war -- and those who question the motives behind American foreign policy and its implementation -- should be condemned as 'appeasers of mass murder'.
This controversial book shows how Orwell has been used since 9/11 to justify, in the guise of independent thought, the suppression of dissent. We must rescue ourselves from Orwell and from those who take on his guise so, as Lucas puts it, our ‘silencing is… vital to a "manufacture of consent" for the wars which are supposedly being fought in our name and for our good’.
It takes more than an excellent candidate to win elections; it takes an outstanding campaign organization, too. Campaign Inc. is the story of how leadership and organization propelled Barack Obama to the White House. As the chief operating officer of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Henry F. De Sio, Jr., was positioned to view this historic campaign as few others could. In this fascinating behind-the-scenes account, he whisks readers into Obama’s national election headquarters in Chicago to glimpse the decision-making processes and myriad details critical to running a successful and innovative presidential campaign. From the campaign’s early chaos to the jubilation and drama of winning the Iowa caucus, to the drawn-out Democratic nomination process, to Obama’s eventual election as president of the United States, De Sio guides readers through the challenges faced by the Obama for America campaign in its brief twenty-one-month lifespan.
De Sio shows readers that Obama himself was direct about his vision for the campaign when he instructed his staff to “run it like a business.” Thus, this is less the story of Barack Obama, candidate, and more the story of Barack Obama, CEO. Because campaigns are launched from scratch during every election cycle, they are the ultimate entrepreneurial experience. In the course of the election, the Obama campaign scaled up from a scrappy start-up to a nearly $1 billion operation, becoming a hothouse environment on which the glare of the media spotlight was permanently trained.
Campaign Inc. allows readers to peek behind the curtain at the underdog organization that brought down the Clinton campaign and later went on to defeat the Republican machine, while offering lessons in leadership and organization to innovators, executives, and entrepreneurs.
In the context of the recent financial crisis, the extent to which the U.S. economy has become dependent on financial activities has been made abundantly clear. In Capitalizing on Crisis, Greta Krippner traces the longer-term historical evolution that made the rise of finance possible, arguing that this development rested on a broader transformation of the U.S. economy than is suggested by the current preoccupation with financial speculation.
Krippner argues that state policies that created conditions conducive to financialization allowed the state to avoid a series of economic, social, and political dilemmas that confronted policymakers as postwar prosperity stalled beginning in the late 1960s and 1970s. In this regard, the financialization of the economy was not a deliberate outcome sought by policymakers, but rather an inadvertent result of the state’s attempts to solve other problems. The book focuses on deregulation of financial markets during the 1970s and 1980s, encouragement of foreign capital into the U.S. economy in the context of large fiscal imbalances in the early 1980s, and changes in monetary policy following the shift to high interest rates in 1979.
Exhaustively researched, the book brings extensive new empirical evidence to bear on debates regarding recent developments in financial markets and the broader turn to the market that has characterized U.S. society over the last several decades.
Understanding wealth in the United States—who has it, how they acquired it, and how they preserve it—is crucial to addressing the economic and political challenges facing the nation. But until now we have had little reliable information. Edward Wolff, one of the world’s great experts on the economics of wealth, offers an authoritative account of patterns in the accumulation and distribution of wealth since 1900.
A Century of Wealth in America demonstrates that the most remarkable change has been the growth of per capita household wealth, which climbed almost eightfold prior to the 2007 recession. But overlaid on this base rate are worrying trends. The share of personal wealth claimed by the richest one percent almost doubled between the mid-1970s and 2013, concurrent with a steep run-up of debt in the middle class. As the wealth of the average family dropped precipitously—by 44 percent—between 2007 and 2013, with black families hit hardest, the debt-income ratio more than doubled. The Great Recession also caused a sharp spike in asset poverty, as more and more families barely survived from one paycheck to the next. In short, the United States has changed from being one of the most economically equal of the advanced industrialized countries to being one of the most unequal.
At a time of deep uncertainty about the future, A Century of Wealth in America provides a sober bedrock of facts and astute analysis. It will become one of the few indispensable resources for contemporary public debate.
The 2008 election was an extraordinary event that represented change at many levels. The candidates’ innovative campaigns changed how funds were raised, how voters were mobilized, and how messages were communicated through advertising and the internet. Parties and interest groups played their own important role in this historic election. In The Change Election, David Magleby assembles a team of accomplished political scientists to provide an in-depth analysis of this groundbreaking presidential election. These scholars through a set of compelling case studies examine the competition for votes in a dozen competitive House and Senate contests and for the White House in five states: Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Backed by a wealth of data, and extensive interviews, the contributors offer an up-close look at the interactions of candidates' individual skills and personalities with the larger political forces at work in the election year. The book offers insights into the rapidly evolving organizational and technical aspects of campaigning. The dramatic success Obama and other candidates had in raising money—especially from small donors—is addressed along with how money was raised and spent by the candidates, party committees, and interest groups competing for votes.
Building on a tested methodology, The Change Election explores the interplay of money and electioneering. Magleby builds on more than a decade of prior studies to show the ways participants in our electoral process have adapted to statutory and judicial decisions and how the 2008 election has the potential to transform American electoral politics.
In this unique book, Peter Alexander Meyers leads us through the social processes by which shock incites terror, terror invites war, war invokes emergency, and emergency supports unchecked power. He then reveals how the domestic political culture created by the Cold War has driven these developments forward since 9/11, contending that our failure to acknowledge that this Cold War continues today is precisely what makes it so dangerous.
With eloquence and urgency Meyers argues that the mantra of our time—“everything changed on 9/11!”—is false and pernicious. By contrast, Civic War and the Corruption of the Citizen provides a novel account of long-term transformations in the citizen’s experience of war, the constitution of political powers, and public uses of communication, and from that firm historical basis explains how a convergence of these social facts became the pretext for unprecedented opportunism and irresponsibility after 9/11. Where others have observed that our rights are under attack, Meyers digs deeper and finds that today “government by the people” itself is at risk.
Sparkling with historical and philosophical insight, this is a dramatic diagnosis of the American political scene that at once makes clear the new position of the citizen and the necessity for active citizenship if democracy is to endure.
Public trust in corporations plummeted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, when “Lehman Brothers” and “General Motors” became dirty words for many Americans. In Corporate Dreams, James Hoopes argues that Americans still place too much faith in corporations and, especially, in the idea of “values-based leadership” favored by most CEOs. The danger of corporations, he suggests, lies not just in their economic power, but also in how their confused and undemocratic values are infecting Americans’ visions of good governance.
Corporate Dreams proposes that Americans need to radically rethink their relationships with big business and the government. Rather than buying into the corporate notion of “values-based leadership,” we should view corporate leaders with the same healthy suspicion that our democratic political tradition teaches us to view our political leaders. Unfortunately, the trend is moving the other way. Corporate notions of leadership are invading our democratic political culture when it should be the reverse.
To diagnose the cause and find a cure for our toxic attachment to corporate models of leadership, Hoopes goes back to the root of the problem, offering a comprehensive history of corporate culture inAmerica, from the Great Depression to today’s Great Recession. Combining a historian’s careful eye with an insider’s perspective on the business world, this provocative volume tracks changes in government economic policy, changes in public attitudes toward big business, and changes in how corporate executives view themselves.
Whether examining the rise of Leadership Development programs or recounting JFK’s Pyrrhic victory over U.S. Steel, Hoopes tells a compelling story of how America lost its way, ceding authority to the policies and values of corporate culture. But he also shows us how it’s not too late to return to our democratic ideals—and that it’s not too late to restore the American dream.
Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies is an impassioned call for the realization of a progressive left politics in the United States. Through an assessment of the ideologies underlying contemporary political culture, Jodi Dean takes the left to task for its capitulations to conservatives and its failure to take responsibility for the extensive neoliberalization implemented during the Clinton presidency. She argues that the left’s ability to develop and defend a collective vision of equality and solidarity has been undermined by the ascendance of “communicative capitalism,” a constellation of consumerism, the privileging of the self over group interests, and the embrace of the language of victimization. As Dean explains, communicative capitalism is enabled and exacerbated by the Web and other networked communications media, which reduce political energies to the registration of opinion and the transmission of feelings. The result is a psychotic politics where certainty displaces credibility and the circulation of intense feeling trumps the exchange of reason.
Dean’s critique ranges from her argument that the term democracy has become a meaningless cipher invoked by the left and right alike to an analysis of the fantasy of free trade underlying neoliberalism, and from an examination of new theories of sovereignty advanced by politicians and left academics to a look at the changing meanings of “evil” in the speeches of U.S. presidents since the mid-twentieth century. She emphasizes the futility of a politics enacted by individuals determined not to offend anyone, and she examines questions of truth, knowledge, and power in relation to 9/11 conspiracy theories. Dean insists that any reestablishment of a vital and purposeful left politics will require shedding the mantle of victimization, confronting the marriage of neoliberalism and democracy, and mobilizing different terms to represent political strategies and goals.
Democracy in Print captures many of the most influential voices from a century of United States history who have spoken out on the struggle to make real the promise of democracy for all Americans, railed against abuses of corporate power, renounced American empire, championed environmental causes, opposed war, and waged peace. It chronicles voices of the women’s rights movement, the civil rights movement, the labor movement, and the gay rights movement. And on every page, it declares the importance of an independent media, by culling the best of The Progressive magazine over the last one hundred years.
Readers will discover the vision of the magazine’s founder, Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette, and his suffragist wife, Belle Case La Follette. They’ll find historic gems from the likes of Jane Addams, Carl Sandburg, Huey Long, and John Kenneth Galbraith, and profound essays by Theodore Dreiser, Barbara Ehrenreich, Noam Chomsky, Upton Sinclair, Arundhati Roy, James Baldwin, Edwidge Danticat, and Edward Said. The collection is leavened with humor from Kate Clinton, Will Durst, Michael Feldman, and Molly Ivins, and graced by poems from such writers as Mahmoud Darwish, Rita Dove, Martín Espada, Maxine Kumin, Adrienne Rich, and Sandra Cisneros. Fascinating interviews bring readers into conversations with prominent cultural figures, including Chuck D, the Dalai Lama, Allen Ginsberg, Amy Goodman, Harold Pinter, Patti Smith, Susan Sarandon, and Yevgeny Yevtushenko.
Eminently browsable, this book is for anyone concerned with American democracy, the global community, and the perils of the planet. With contributions by actors and Supreme Court justices, comedians and Nobel Prize-winners, Democracy in Print offers all readers nourishing food for thought.
Dissent from the Homeland is a book about patriotism, justice, revenge, American history and symbology, art and terror, and pacifism. In this deliberately and urgently provocative collection, noted writers, philosophers, literary critics, and theologians speak out against the war on terrorism and the government of George W. Bush as a response to the events of September 11, 2001. Critiquing government policy, citizen apathy, and societal justifications following the attacks, these writers present a wide range of opinions on such issues as contemporary American foreign policy and displays of patriotism in the wake of the disaster.
Whether illuminating the narratives that have been used to legitimate the war on terror, reflecting on the power of American consumer culture to transform the attack sites into patriotic tourist attractions, or insisting that to be a Christian is to be a pacifist, these essays refuse easy answers. They consider why the Middle East harbors a deep-seated hatred for the United States. They argue that the U.S. drive to win the cold war made the nation more like its enemies, leading the government to support ruthless anti-Communist tyrants such as Mobutu, Suharto, and Pinochet. They urge Americans away from the pitfall of national self-righteousness toward an active peaceableness—an alert, informed, practiced state of being—deeply contrary to both passivity and war. Above all, the essays assembled in Dissent from the Homeland are a powerful entreaty for thought, analysis, and understanding. Originally published as a special issue of the journal South Atlantic Quarterly, Dissent from the Homeland has been expanded to include new essays as well as a new introduction and postscript.
Contributors. Srinivas Aravamudan, Michael J. Baxter, Jean Baudrillard, Robert N. Bellah, Daniel Berrigan, Wendell Berry, Vincent J. Cornell, David James Duncan, Stanley Hauerwas, Fredric Jameson, Frank Lentricchia, Catherine Lutz, Jody McAuliffe, John Milbank, Peter Ochs, Donald E. Pease, Anne R. Slifkin, Rowan Williams, Susan Willis, Slavoj Zizek
Dissent in Dangerous Times
Austin Sarat, Editor University of Michigan Press, 2004 Library of Congress JK275.D57 2005 | Dewey Decimal 303.484
Dissent in Dangerous Times presents essays by six distinguished scholars, who provide their own unique views on the interplay of loyalty, patriotism, and dissent.
While dissent has played a central role in our national history and in the American cultural imagination, it is usually dangerous to those who practice it, and always unpalatable to its targets. War does not encourage the tolerance of opposition at home any more than it does on the front: if the War on Terror is to be a permanent war, then the consequences for American political freedoms cannot be overestimated.
"Dissent in Dangerous Times examines the nature of political repression in liberal societies, and the political and legal implications of living in an environment of fear. This profound, incisive, at times even moving volume calls upon readers to think about, and beyond, September 11, reminding us of both the fragility and enduring power of freedom."
--Nadine Strossen, President, American Civil Liberties Union, and Professor of Law, New York Law School.
In this startling, intensively researched book, bestselling historian Paul Kengor shines light on a deeply troubling aspect of American history: the prominent role of the “dupe.” From the Bolshevik Revolution through the Cold War and right up to the present, many progressives have unwittingly aided some of America’s most dangerous opponents.
Based on never-before-published FBI files, Soviet archives, and other primary sources, Dupes exposes the legions of liberals who have furthered the objectives of America’s adversaries. Kengor shows not only how such dupes contributed to history’s most destructive ideology—Communism, which claimed at least 100 million lives—but also why they are so relevant to today’s politics.
• Shocking reports on how Senator Ted Kennedy secretly approached the Soviet leadership to undermine not one but two American presidents
• Stunning new evidence that Frank Marshall Davis—mentor to a young Barack Obama—had extensive Communist ties and demonized Democrats
• Jimmy Carter’s woeful record dealing with America’s two chief foes of the past century, Communism and Islamism
• Today’s dupes, including the congressmen whose overseas anti-American propaganda trip was allegedly financed by foreign intelligence
• How ’60s Marxist radicals—Tom Hayden, Mark Rudd, Jane Fonda, Jeff Jones, Bill Ayers, and more—have suddenly reemerged as “progressives for Obama”
• How Franklin Roosevelt was duped by “Uncle Joe” Stalin—and by a top adviser who may have been a Soviet agent—despite clear warnings from fellow Democrats
• How John Kerry’s accusations that American soldiers committed war crimes in Vietnam may have been the product of Soviet disinformation
• The many Hollywood stars who were duped, including Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, Gene Kelly—and even Ronald Reagan
• Soviet records that demonstrate beyond doubt the Communists’ expansionist aims and their targeting of American liberals, especially academics and the Religious Left
• How liberals still defend the same Communists who trashed Democratic icons like Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, and JFK—and still attack the anti-Communists who tried to spare them from manipulation
• Details on many other dupes (and dupers), including Arthur Miller, Dr. Benjamin Spock, John Dewey, H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Lillian Hellman, Howard Zinn, Walter Cronkite, and Helen Thomas
• A new chapter on the War on Terror.
Packed with stunning revelations, Dupes shows in frightening detail how U.S. adversaries exploit the American home front. Now with an updated introduction to the paperback edition.
Exceptional State analyzes the nexus of culture and contemporary manifestations of U.S. imperialism. The contributors, established and emerging cultural studies scholars, define culture broadly to include a range of media, literature, and political discourse. They do not posit September 11, 2001 as the beginning of U.S. belligerence and authoritarianism at home and abroad, but they do provide context for understanding U.S. responses to and uses of that event. Taken together, the essays stress both the continuities and discontinuities embodied in a present-day U.S. imperialism constituted through expressions of millennialism, exceptionalism, technological might, and visions of world dominance.
The contributors address a range of topics, paying particular attention to the dynamics of gender and race. Their essays include a surprising reading of the ostensibly liberal movies Wag the Dog and Three Kings, an exploration of the rhetoric surrounding the plan to remake the military into a high-tech force less dependent on human bodies, a look at the significance of the popular Left Behind series of novels, and an interpretation of the Abu Ghraib prison photos. They scrutinize the national narrative created to justify the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the ways that women in those countries have responded to the invasions, the contradictions underlying calls for U.S. humanitarian interventions, and the role of Africa in the U.S. imperial imagination. The volume concludes on a hopeful note, with a look at an emerging anti-imperialist public sphere.
Contributors. Omar Dahbour, Ashley Dawson, Cynthia Enloe, Melani McAlister, Christian Parenti, Donald E. Pease, John Carlos Rowe, Malini Johar Schueller, Harilaos Stecopoulos
Since the 1960s, hostility and mistrust toward the U.S. government has risen precipitously. At the same time, the field of public administration has wrestled with its own crisis of legitimacy. What is at the root of current antigovernment sentiment? Conventionally, two explanations for this problem persist. Some see it primarily in moral terms, a deficit of Constitutional or democratic values in government. Others emphasize government’s performance failures and managerial inefficiency.
Thomas J. Catlaw departs from both explanations in this groundbreaking study and demonstrates that the current crisis of government originates in the uncritical manner in which we have accepted the idea of “the People.” He contends that this unifying, foundational concept—and the notion of political representation it entails—have failed. While illuminating some of our most pressing social and political problems, Catlaw shows how the idea of the People, far from serving to unify, relies in fact on a distinctive logic of exclusion. True political power is the power to determine what constitutes the normal, natural life of the electorate. Today, the exclusionary practices that once made up or fabricated the People are increasingly contested. In turn, government and political power now appear more invasive, less legitimate, and our shared reality appears more fragmented and disconnected.
In order to address this crisis and reinvigorate democracy, Catlaw argues, we must accept as bankrupt the premise of the People and the idea of representation itself. Fabricating the People boldly proposes post-representational governance that reframes the practice of modern democracy and reinvents the role of public administration.
The financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 is the most alarming of our lifetime because of the warp-speed at which it is occurring. How could it have happened, especially after all that we’ve learned from the Great Depression? Why wasn’t it anticipated so that remedial steps could be taken to avoid or mitigate it? What can be done to reverse a slide into a full-blown depression? Why have the responses to date of the government and the economics profession been so lackluster? Richard Posner presents a concise and non-technical examination of this mother of all financial disasters and of the, as yet, stumbling efforts to cope with it. No previous acquaintance on the part of the reader with macroeconomics or the theory of finance is presupposed. This is a book for intelligent generalists that will interest specialists as well.
Among the facts and causes Posner identifies are: excess savings flowing in from Asia and the reckless lowering of interest rates by the Federal Reserve Board; the relation between executive compensation, short-term profit goals, and risky lending; the housing bubble fuelled by low interest rates, aggressive mortgage marketing, and loose regulations; the low savings rate of American people; and the highly leveraged balance sheets of large financial institutions.
Posner analyzes the two basic remedial approaches to the crisis, which correspond to the two theories of the cause of the Great Depression: the monetarist—that the Federal Reserve Board allowed the money supply to shrink, thus failing to prevent a disastrous deflation—and the Keynesian—that the depression was the product of a credit binge in the 1920s, a stock-market crash, and the ensuing downward spiral in economic activity. Posner concludes that the pendulum swung too far and that our financial markets need to be more heavily regulated.
With world affairs so troubled, what kind of foreign policy should the United States pursue? Benjamin Page and Marshall Bouton look for answers in a surprising place: among the American people. Drawing on a series of national surveys conducted between 1974 and 2004, Page and Bouton reveal that—contrary to conventional wisdom—Americans generally hold durable, coherent, and sensible opinions about foreign policy. Nonetheless, their opinions often stand in opposition to those of policymakers, usually because of different interests and values, rather than superior wisdom among the elite. The Foreign Policy Disconnect argues that these gaps between leaders and the public are harmful, and that by using public opinion as a guideline policymakers could craft a more effective, sustainable, and democratic foreign policy.
Page and Bouton support this argument by painting a uniquely comprehensive portrait of the military, diplomatic, and economic foreign policies Americans favor. They show, for example, that protecting American jobs is just as important to the public as security from attack, a goal the current administration seems to pursue single-mindedly. And contrary to some officials’ unilateral tendencies, the public consistently and overwhelmingly favors cooperative multilateral policy and participation in international treaties. Moreover, Americans’ foreign policy opinions are seldom divided along the usual lines: majorities of virtually all social, ideological, and partisan groups seek a policy that pursues the goals of security and justice through cooperative means. Written in a clear and engaging style, The Foreign Policy Disconnect calls, in an original voice, for a more democratic approach to creating such a policy.
David Ryan examines the broad contexts of US foreign policy and the lingering aftermath of the Vietnam War that shaped the opportunistic framing of 9/11 and paved the way for the long-held neo-conservative desire for regime change and war in Iraq.
He explores the construction of the cultural framework for war following 9/11, the legitimacy of military force in Afghanistan, the rise of anti-Americanism, within the broader contexts of the struggle over legitimacy, identity and leadership.
Turning the "clash of civilizations" thesis on its head, Ryan presents a careful analysis of the evolution of US foreign policy and its engagement with Iraq through the 1980s. While 9/11 provided the opportunity, the post-Vietnam context provides a more pertinent framework for this reflection on the Gulf War, the Iraq War and the strategic implications for US foreign policy.
Barbara Burrell presents a comprehensive examination of women’s candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in congressional elections from 1994 through 2012. Analyzing extensive original data sets on all major party candidates for 10 elections—covering candidate status, sex, party affiliation, fundraising, candidate background variables, votes obtained, and success rates for both primary and general elections—Burrell finds no evidence of categorical gender discrimination against women candidates. They compete equally with men and often outpace them in raising money, gaining interest group and political party support, and winning elections; indeed, more women hold seats in the House than ever before. However, Burrell concludes, women have not advanced more quickly because newcomers face difficulties in challenging more experienced candidates and because women are not taking advantage of opportunities to run for office.
Crafted as a long poem, a libretto for stage presentations, “The Gospel according to Clarence Thomas” is less about Clarence Thomas than it is about the devastating reign of the Bush administration. The central idea of the book is: ‘War is an Evil product of Evil/Hypocritical Minds’.
The ‘Chorus of the Homeless’ occupies a central role in the poem, performing a function much like the Chorus in Greek Tragedies, providing a reasonably objective commentary. In a sense, the central story is a tragedy too – George Bush is a tragic figure. And, towards the end, he is conceived as a tragic hero, a Samson-like figure who pulls down the temple over his head to crush the Philistines. (Samson, by the way, was history’s first ‘suicide-bomber’).
One day in 2002, three friends — a Somali immigrant, a Pakistan–born U.S. citizen, and a hometown African American — met in a Columbus, Ohio coffee shop and vented over civilian casualties in the war in Afghanistan. Their conversation triggered an investigation that would become one of the most unusual and far–reaching government probes into terrorism since the 9/11 attacks.
Over several years, prosecutors charged each man with unrelated terrorist activities in cases that embodied the Bush administration’s approach to fighting terrorism at home.
Government lawyers spoke of catastrophes averted; defense attorneys countered that none of the three had done anything but talk. The stories of these homegrown terrorists illustrate the paradox the government faces after September 11: how to fairly wage a war against alleged enemies living in our midst.
Hatred at Home is a true crime drama that will spark debate from all political corners about safety, civil liberties, free speech, and the government’s war at home.
Elected with no clear public mandate, George W. Bush achieved surprising legislative successes in his early months in the White House. Following September 11, 2001, his public support rose to unprecedented heights. Actions taken in the following months and years have revealed the exceptionally ambitious nature of the Bush presidency.
High Risk and Big Ambition brings together leading presidency scholars and journalists to assess the trajectory and character of Bush’s time in office. The common theme running through their contributions is that this presidency is best characterized by a series of bold political and policy risks in the service of two primary goals: the transformation of American foreign policy and the creation of a lasting Republican dominance of domestic politics.
Included are discussions of foreign policy, national security, the war in Iraq, Bush’s leadership style, religious politics, and economic policy. George W. Bush emerges as an "orthodox innovator" who skillfully deploys both personal politics and the power of his office in an effort to complete the conservative governmental agenda initiated by Ronald Reagan. Yet because of the size of his ambitions, each success sets up a greater risk of failure. That alone makes his presidency one of the most interesting and consequential in decades.
Among politicians of national stature today, there is perhaps none more respected as a principled conservative than Rick Santorum. In It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, Santorum articulates the humane vision that he believes must inform public policy if it is to be effective and just. An appreciation for the civic bonds that unite a community lies at the heart of genuine conservatism. Moreover, Santorum demonstrates how such an approach to political, social, and economic problems offers the most promise for those on the margin of life: the poor, the vulnerable, and minorities who have often been excluded from opportunity in America.
Santorum argues that conservative statesmanship is animated by a sense of stewardship for an inheritance. But what do we inherit as Americans? And how can we be good stewards of that inheritance? Building on Robert Putnam’s discussion of “social capital,” the habits of association and trust that are the preconditions of any decent society, Santorum assesses how well, in the past generation, Americans have cared for the “fabric” of society. He explores in detail various dimensions of social and cultural connection that are the foundation of the common good. And he presents innovative policy proposals for the renewal of American society at all levels.
Throughout his book, Santorum emphasizes the central role of the family—in contradistinction to the metaphorical “village” of the federal government, as promoted by Hillary Clinton—in achieving the common good. With a sustained argument touching on first principles throughout, this ambitious and original book is a major contribution to contemporary political debate. It Takes a Family further establishes Santorum as the leader of reform-minded civic conservatives in America.
Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party in May 2001 and became an independent. Because he agreed to vote with the Democrats on organizational votes, this gave that party a 51–49 majority in the Senate.
Using the “Jeffords switch,” Chris Den Hartog and Nathan W. Monroe examine how power is shared and transferred in the Senate, as well as whether Democratic bills became more successful after the switch. They also use the data after the switch, when the Republican Party still held a majority on many Democratic Party-led committees, to examine the power of the committee chairs to influence decisions. While the authors find that the majority party does influence Senate decisions, Den Hartog and Monroe are more interested in exploring the method and limits of the majority party to achieve its goals.
"Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels" -SAMUEL JOHNSON, 1775
Updated and revised following the 2004 elections, The Last Refuge describes the current state of American politics against the backdrop of mounting ecological and social problems, the corrosive influence of money, the corruption of language, and the misuse of terrorism as a political issue.
Setting out an agenda that transcends conventional ideological labels, David Orr contends that partisan wrangling is only a symptom of a deeper dysfunction: The whole political machinery that connects Americans' fundamentally honorable ideals with public policy is broken. The book offers a withering critique of the failings of the Bush administration, supplemented by new essays that look at the national-level dominance of the Republican Party and examine the fallacy that the evangelical right represents a Christian majority.
After analyzing the challenges of reforming the current system, Orr offers an empowering vision of a second American Revolution that peaceably achieves sustainability and charts a hopeful course for forward-looking citizens.
The Iraq war defined the first decade of the twenty-first century – leading to mass protests and raising profound questions about domestic politics and the use of military force. Yet most explanations of the war have a narrow focus either on political personalities or oil.
Christopher Doran provides a unique perspective, arguing that the drive to war came from the threat Iraq might pose to American economic hegemony if the UN sanctions regime was ended. Doran argues that this hegemony is rooted in third world debt and corporate market access. It was protection of these arrangements that motivated US action, not Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction or a simplistic desire to seize its oil.
This book will provide new insights on the war which still casts a shadow over global politics, and will have wide appeal to all those concerned about the Middle East, world peace and global development.
More than half a decade has passed since the bursting of the housing bubble and the collapse of Lehman Brothers. In retrospect, what is surprising is that these events and their consequences came as such a surprise. What was it that prevented most of the world from recognizing the impending crisis and, looking ahead, what needs to be done to prevent something similar?
Measuring Wealth and Financial Intermediation and Their Links to the Real Economy identifies measurement problems associated with the financial crisis and improvements in measurement that may prevent future crises, taking account of the dynamism of the financial marketplace in which measures that once worked well become misleading. In addition to advances in measuring financial activity, the contributors also investigate the effects of the crisis on households and nonfinancial businesses. They show that households’ experiences varied greatly and some even experienced gains in wealth, while nonfinancial businesses’ lack of access to credit in the recession may have been a more important factor than the effects of policies stimulating demand.
It happens in America every four decades and it is about to happen again. America’s demand for change in the 2008 election will cause another of our country’s periodic political makeovers. This realignment, like all others before it, will result from the coming of age of a new generation of young Americans—the Millennial Generation—and the full emergence of the Internet-based communications technology that this generation uses so well. Beginning in 2008, almost everything about American politics and government will transform—voting patterns, the fortunes of the two political parties, the issues that engage the nation, and our government and its public policy.
Building on the seminal work of previous generational theorists,Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais demonstrate and describe, for the first time, the two types of realignments—“idealist” and “civic”—that have alternated with one another throughout the nation’s history. Based on these patterns, Winograd and Hais predict that the next realignment will be very different from the last one that occurred in 1968. “Idealist” realignments, like the one put into motion forty years ago by the Baby Boomer Generation, produce, among other things, a political emphasis on divisive social issues and governmental gridlock. “Civic” realignments, like the one that is coming, and the one produced by the famous GI or “Greatest” Generation in the 1930s, by contrast, tend to produce societal unity, increased attention to and successful resolution of basic economic and foreign policy issues, and institution-building.
The authors detail the contours and causes of the country’s five previous political makeovers, before delving deeply into the generational and technological trends that will shape the next. The book’s final section forecasts the impact of the Millennial Makeover on the elections, issues, and public policies that will characterize America’s politics in the decades ahead.
The Next Conservatism
Paul M. Weyrich and William S. Lind St. Augustine's Press, 2009 Library of Congress JC573.2.U6W47 2009 | Dewey Decimal 320.520973
Since November’s election, conservative columnists have filled the op-ed pages with calls for a new conservative agenda. In The Next Conservatism, two of the conservative movement’s best-known thinkers, Paul M. Weyrich and William S. Lind, offer exactly that. More, they offer a new kind of conservative agenda, one that reaches far beyond politics to grapple with the sources of our nation’s cultural decay. The Next Conservatism recognizes that culture is more powerful than politics. Nevertheless, it offers an engaging menu of political reforms, all under the rubric of “Restore the Republic!” No enthusiasts of Imperial America at home or abroad, Weyrich and Lind seek limited government, jealous guardianship of civil liberties, and a Washington liberated from the power of the New Class, the interests that feed off our nation’s decay. To these frequent conservative themes, Weyrich and Lind offer something new: a warning of a general crisis of legitimacy of the state itself, which can lead to a Hobbesian state of anarchy. How might we save the state while avoiding the jaws of Leviathan? The Next Conservatism offers innovative ways to thread that needle.
Meanwhile, what of America’s culture? Did its decay over the past half-century “just happen”? Weyrich and Lind argue no; rather, much of our degradation was deliberate, the work of the poisonous ideology of cultural Marxism, aka “Political Correctness.” The Next Conservatism takes the reader on a fascinating historical tour of the origins of Political Correctness in the infamous Frankfurt School, a gathering of heretical Marxists whose goal from the outset was the destruction of Western culture.
Weyrich and Lind then proceed to “deconstruct” the left’s program for America, debunking Feminism, “racism,” and environmentalism along the way. Reflecting the thought of Russell Kirk, The Next Conservatism condemns ideologies left and right, calling instead for a return to traditional ways of living, ways that reflect wisdom accumulated generation by generation. Only thus, they argue, can conservatives win a culture war many regard as hopelessly lost.
Old ways, in turn, lead to a Next Conservatism appropriate for hard times. Virtue, Weyrich and Lind offer, is to be found in modest living, not conspicuous consumption. The Next Conservative agenda rejects environmentalism but includes conservation, the return of the family farm, New Urbanism and the revival of such ‘oldies but goodies” as streetcars and passenger trains. A new theme, Retroculture, sums up a conservatism that recognizes that what worked in the past can work again today, and in the future as well. Our ancestors were no fools, the authors suggest, and “Back to the Future!” can serve as a powerful conservative rallying cry.
Having laid the political and cultural groundwork, The Next Conservatism then turns to conservative governance. In foreign policy, the authors call for minimizing foreign entanglements, though with a strong national defense and a military reform to adapt to face Fourth Generation warfare rather than the Second Generation America adheres to. For the economy, the authors call for repairing and expanding our national infrastructure, sound money, and protecting American industry, seeing labor as a potential ally. In both national security and economic security, the authors insist that good governance include moral security; drawing from the New Urbanism, they offer a “moral transect” that allows everyone to do what he wants, but not always where he wants. The public square, they suggest, should be safe for families.
Respecting the careful limits on government power a restored republic would embody, The Next Conservatism calls for redeeming America not through legislation but through a new conservative movement. Unlike the old movement, the next conservative movement would be a league of people who pledged to live their lives by the old rules. While conservatives would remain engaged in politics, they would rely on a vastly more powerful force of example, the examples of lives lived well in traditional ways. This next conservative movement would appeal far beyond the ranks of political conservatives, to all Americans who know that something has gone tragically wrong in the life of our nation. The Next Conservatism offers a vision of vast sweep, far beyond anything coming out of Washington. At a time when most Americans find life growing more difficult, it proposes a path to a new America that is also the old America, the good, comfortable America we had and have lost.
Election 2008 made American history, but it was also the product of American history. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin smashed through some of the most enduring barriers to high political office, but their exceptional candidacies did not come out of nowhere. In these timely and accessible essays, a distinguished group of historians explores how the candidates both challenged and reinforced historic stereotypes of race and sex while echoing familiar themes in American politics and exploiting new digital technologies.
Contributors include Kathryn Kish Sklar on Clinton’s gender masquerade; Tiffany Ruby Patterson on the politics of black anger; Mitch Kachun on Michelle Obama and stereotypes about black women’s bodies; Glenda E. Gilmore on black women’s century of effort to expand political opportunities for African Americans; Tera W. Hunter on the lost legacy of Shirley Chisholm; Susan M. Hartmann on why the U.S. has not yet followed western democracies in electing a female head of state; Melanie Gustafson on Palin and the political traditions of the American West; Ronald Formisano on the populist resurgence in 2008; Paula Baker on how digital technologies threaten the secret ballot; Catherine E. Rymph on Palin’s distinctive brand of political feminism; and Elisabeth I. Perry on the new look of American leadership.
Melodrama is not just a film or literary genre but a powerful political discourse that galvanizes national sentiment to legitimate state violence. Finding virtue in national suffering and heroism in sovereign action, melodramatic political discourses cast war and surveillance as moral imperatives for eradicating villainy and upholding freedom. In Orgies of Feeling, Elisabeth R. Anker boldly reframes political theories of sovereignty, freedom, and power by analyzing the work of melodrama and affect in contemporary politics. Arguing that melodrama animates desires for unconstrained power, Anker examines melodramatic discourses in the War on Terror, neoliberal politics, anticommunist rhetoric, Hollywood film, and post-Marxist critical theory. Building on Friedrich Nietzsche's notion of "orgies of feeling," in which overwhelming emotions displace commonplace experiences of vulnerability and powerlessness onto a dramatic story of injured freedom, Anker contends that the recent upsurge in melodrama in the United States is an indication of public discontent. Yet the discontent that melodrama reflects is ultimately an expression of the public's inability to overcome systemic exploitation and inequality rather than an alarmist response to inflated threats to the nation.
As Washington elites drifted toward ideological poles over the past few decades, did ordinary Americans follow their lead? In The Partisan Sort, Matthew Levendusky reveals that we have responded to this trend—but not, for the most part, by becoming more extreme ourselves. While polarization has filtered down to a small minority of voters, it also has had the more significant effect of reconfiguring the way we sort ourselves into political parties.
In a marked realignment since the 1970s—when partisan affiliation did not depend on ideology and both major parties had strong liberal and conservative factions—liberals today overwhelmingly identify with Democrats, as conservatives do with Republicans. This “sorting,” Levendusky contends, results directly from the increasingly polarized terms in which political leaders define their parties. Exploring its far-reaching implications for the American political landscape, he demonstrates that sorting makes voters more loyally partisan, allowing campaigns to focus more attention on mobilizing committed supporters. Ultimately, Levendusky concludes, this new link between party and ideology represents a sea change in American politics.
The study of prisons brought Tocqueville to America. For Rob Kroes, one of Europe’s most distinguished authorities on contemporary American culture, it was rather the other way around. For Kroes, it was deep knowledge of American culture that brought him back to America and face to face with a couple of highway signs, Tocquevillian in their portent, that invited motorists to exit from Interstate 80 in Nevada toward a place called Independence Valley and to keep their eyes open for a “Prison Area.” In this collection of essays, Kroes invites us to take these two signs seriously for their capacity to deepen our insights into America’s cultural contradictions, especially how, after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the US government’s response altered the meaning of America for Americans and Europeans alike. The author’s fascination with the myriad ways in which America changes face, from hard power to soft, from uses of force to the power of entertainment, but always holding the attention of publics across the globe, is what ties his work together. The essays here touch on diverse topics such as photography (“Falling Man” and Holocaust imagery), music (in Broadway and Hollywood musicals), film (Django Unchained), American exceptionalism (in an interesting counter to dog-eared dogma), and the difficulties of the first “white president of color.” Like his predecessors, Tocqueville and Johan Huizinga, Kroes offers a clear-eyed assessment of America on the ground, love it or hate it. This readable and sharp-penned critique of America and American culture and power will appeal to Americanists across a broad swath of disciplines.
In this book, Michael Sandel takes up some of the hotly contested moral and political issues of our time, including affirmative action, assisted suicide, abortion, gay rights, stem cell research, the meaning of toleration and civility, the gap between rich and poor, the role of markets, and the place of religion in public life. He argues that the most prominent ideals in our political life--individual rights and freedom of choice--do not by themselves provide an adequate ethic for a democratic society. Sandel calls for a politics that gives greater emphasis to citizenship, community, and civic virtue, and that grapples more directly with questions of the good life. Liberals often worry that inviting moral and religious argument into the public sphere runs the risk of intolerance and coercion. These essays respond to that concern by showing that substantive moral discourse is not at odds with progressive public purposes, and that a pluralist society need not shrink from engaging the moral and religious convictions that its citizens bring to public life.
Race and Human Rights
Curtis Stokes Michigan State University Press, 2008 Library of Congress E184.A1R223 2008 | Dewey Decimal 305.800973
The terrorist attacks against U.S. targets on September 11, 2001, and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, sparked an intense debate about "human rights." According to contributors to this provocative book, the discussion of human rights to date has been far too narrow. They argue that any conversation about human rights in the United States must include equal rights for all residents.
Essays examine the historical and intellectual context for the modern debate about human rights, the racial implications of the war on terrorism, the intersection of racial oppression, and the national security state. Others look at the Pinkerton detective agency as a forerunner of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the role of Africa in post–World War II American attempts at empire-building, and the role of immigration as a human rights issue.
In our evolving American political culture, whites and blacks continue to respond very differently to race-based messages and the candidates who use them. Race Appeal examines the use and influence such appeals have on voters in elections for federal office in which one candidate is a member of a minority group.
Charlton McIlwain and Stephen Caliendo use various analysis methods to examine candidates who play the race card in political advertisements. They offer a compelling analysis of the construction of verbal and visual racial appeals and how the news media covers campaigns involving candidates of color.
Combining rigorous analyses with in-depth case studies-including an examination of race-based appeals in the historic 2008 presidential election—Race Appeal is a groundbreaking work that represents the most extensive and thorough treatment of race-based appeals in American political campaigns to date.
The Rhetoric of the New Political Documentary explores the most visible and volatile element in the 2004 presidential campaign—the partisan documentary film. This collection of original critical essays by leading scholars and critics—including Shawn J. and Trevor Parry-Giles, Jennifer L. Borda, and Martin J. Medhurst—analyzes a selection of political documentaries that appeared during the 2004 election season. The editors examine the new political documentary with the tools of rhetorical criticism, combining close textual analysis with a consideration of the historical context and the production and reception of the films.
The essays address the distinctive rhetoric of the new political documentary, with the films typically having been shot with relatively low budgets, in video, and using interviews and stock footage rather than observation of uncontrolled behavior. The quality was often good enough and interest was sufficiently intense that the films were shown in theaters and on television, which provided legitimacy and visibility before they were released soon afterwards on DVD and VHS and marketed on the Internet.
The volume reviews such films as Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11; two refutations of Moore’s film, Fahrenhype 9/11 and Celsius 41.11;Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election; and George W. Bush: Faith in the White House—films that experimented with a variety of angles and rhetorics, from a mix of comic disparagement and earnest confrontation to various emulations of traditional news and documentary voices.
The Rhetoric of the New Political Documentary represents the continued transformation of American political discourse in a partisan and contentious time and showcases the independent voices and the political power brokers that struggled to find new ways to debate the status quo and employ surrogate “independents” to create a counterrhetoric.
During the past decade, Democrats and Republicans each have received about fifty percent of the votes and controlled about half of the government, but this has not resulted in policy deadlock. Despite highly partisan political posturing, the policy regime has been largely moderate. Incremental, yet substantial, policy innovations such as welfare reform; deficit reduction; the North American Free Trade Agreement; and the deregulation of telecommunications, banking, and agriculture have been accompanied by such continuities as Social Security and Medicare, the maintenance of earlier immigration reforms, and the persistence of many rights-based policies, including federal affirmative action.
InSeeking the Center, twenty-one contributors analyze policy outcomes in light of the frequent alternation in power among evenly divided parties. They show how the triumph of policy moderation and the defeat of more ambitious efforts, such as health care reform, can be explained by mutually supporting economic, intellectual, and political forces. Demonstrating that the determinants of public policy become clear by probing specific issues, rather than in abstract theorizing, they restore the politics of policymaking to the forefront of the political science agenda.
A successor to Martin A. Levin and Marc K. Landy’s influential The New Politics of Public Policy (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), this book will be vital reading for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in political science and public policy, as well as a resource for scholars in both fields.
In this wide-ranging assessment of democracy in America today, fifteen respected scholars of American politics chart the strengths and weaknesses of the nation’s democratic mechanisms and outline the challenges that lie ahead. They focus not on specific policies or elections but on the quality of American political life, the representativeness of its governing institutions, and the issues of racial and economic equity.
The contributors cover a broad spectrum of the American political process. Topics include the extent and nature of political participation, the relevance of political parties, political fundraising and its policy consequences, demographic change and its likely effect on the national political agenda, and the future of racial politics. Others explore how representative Congress really is today, how the market economy affects public policy, the use of impeachment as a political weapon, and the degree of corporate influence on the political process. A final chapter explores the circumstances likely to shape policy agendas over the course of the twenty-first century.
Taken together, these essays provide a clear picture of political evolution during the past fifty years and discuss possible problems and issues of the future. Written for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, the book is a thoughtful, well-documented, critical analysis of contemporary American democracy.
A fast-paced, behind-closed-doors account of the Federal Reserve’s decision making during the 2008 financial crisis, showing how Fed policymakers overcame their own assumptions to contain the disaster.
The financial crisis of 2008 led to the collapse of several major banks and thrust the US economy into the deepest recession since the Great Depression. The Federal Reserve was the agency most responsible for maintaining the nation’s economic stability. And the Fed’s Open Market Committee was a twelve-member body at the epicenter, making sense of the unfolding crisis and fashioning a response. This is the story of how they failed, learned, and staved off catastrophe.
Drawing on verbatim transcripts of the committee’s closed-door meetings, Mitchel Abolafia puts readers in the room with the Federal Reserve’s senior policymaking group. Abolafia uncovers what the Fed’s policymakers knew before, during, and after the collapse. He explores how their biases and intellectual commitments both helped and hindered as they made sense of the emergency. In an original contribution to the sociology of finance, Stewards of the Market examines the social and cultural factors that shaped the Fed’s response, one marked by missed cues and analytic failures but also by successful improvisations and innovations.
Ideas, traditions, and power all played their roles in the Fed’s handling of the crisis. In particular, Abolafia demonstrates that the Fed’s adherence to conflicting theories of self-correcting markets contributed to the committee’s doubts and decisions. A vivid portrait of the world’s most powerful central bank in a moment of high stakes, Stewards of the Market is rich with insights for the next financial downturn.
"Holsti, the authority on American foreign policy attitudes, investigates others' views of us. It's not pretty. It matters. Read this."
---Bruce Russett, Dean Acheson Professor of International Relations, Yale University, and editor of the Journal of Conflict Resolution
"Clearly and engagingly written, Holsti's book ranks among the most important---and most objective---of the post-9/11 scholarly studies. It deserves a large readership, both within and beyond academe."
---Ralph Levering, Vail Professor of History, Davidson College
In terms of military and economic power, the United States remains one of the strongest nations in the world. Yet the United States seems to have lost the power of persuasion, the ability to make allies and win international support.
Why? Immediately after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, leaders and citizens of foreign nations generally expressed sympathy for the United States. Since then, attitudes have changed. Drawing upon public opinion surveys conducted in 30 nations, Ole R. Holsti documents an increasing anti-American sentiment. His analysis suggests that the war in Iraq, human rights violations, and unpopular international policies are largely responsible. Consequently, the United States can rebuild its repute by adopting an unselfish, farsighted approach to global issues.
Indeed, the United States must restore goodwill abroad, Holsti asserts, because public opinion indirectly influences the leaders who decide whether or not to side with the Americans.
Ole R. Holsti is George V. Allen Professor Emeritus of International Affairs in the Department of Political Science at Duke University and author of Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy.
Transatlantic Policymaking in an Age of Austerity integrates the study of politics and public policy across a broad spectrum of regulatory and social welfare policies in the United States and several nations of Western Europe. The editors and a sterling list of contributors look at policymaking in the 1990s through the present—providing a comparative politics framework—stressing both parallel development and the differences between and among the nations. Similar prevailing ideas and political factors can be identified and transatlantic comparisons made—providing for a clearer understanding of the policymaking process.
Faith in regulated markets and the burden of rising welfare costs are concerns found on both sides of the Atlantic. Western democracies also share political climates colored by economic austerity; low trust in government, pressures from interest groups, and a sharply divided electorate. Because of differing political processes and differing policy starting points, a variety of disparate policy decisions have resulted.
Real world policymaking in the areas of welfare, health, labor, immigration reform, disability rights, consumer and environmental regulation, administrative reforms, and corporate governance are compared. Ultimately, the last decade is best characterized as one of "drift," sluggish changes with little real innovation and much default to the private sector. In general, policymakers on both sides of the ocean, constrained by economic necessity, have been unable to produce policy outcomes that satisfy the key segments of the electorate.
The contributors examine the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany, as well as a number of other European countries, and study the European Union itself as a policymaking institution. Transatlantic Policymaking in an Age of Austerity distills the prominent issues, politics, and roles played by governmental institutions into a new understanding of the dynamics of policymaking in and among transatlantic nations.
When it comes to liberalism, the usual story in postwar America is one of decline, accompanied by the subplot of conservatism’s ascendance. But take a longer view—look beyond and below politics—and it is the unchallenged triumph of liberalism and its philosophical assumptions that ought to command our attention.
The triumph of liberalism means the tyranny of liberalism, explains James Kalb in this illuminating book, for liberalism is the extension into the sociopolitical realm of modern scientific thought and technological rationality. These modes of thinking are regarded by nearly everyone today as uniquely authoritative; those institutions and beliefs which do not conform are regarded at best as annoyances, and at worst as evil. Furthermore, Kalb shows how liberalism is an expression of the interests and outlook of commercial and managerial elites, who are suspicious of less rationalized and controllable forms of social organization like the family.
Kalb does not merely rehearse a tale of woe, nor is he content simply to analyze the current situation. With reference to concrete issues such as the debate surrounding same-sex marriage, he outlines the kind of traditionalist response to liberalism that is likely to be most effective. He argues that traditional, decentralized, and nonliberal forms of social organization are ultimately impossible to eradicate, and he shows how more human forms of association than those favored by liberalism might once again be brought into being.
The Christian Right never ceases to surprise professional observers of American politics. With the Christian coalition in disarray, many expected that the movement would play less of a role in the 2004 elections. But when exit polls reported that "moral values" were the most commonly cited reason for presidential vote choice, pundits immediately proclaimed the importance of the "values vote." Yet the role of the Christian Right, of statewide referenda on same-sex marriage, and of religious mobilization remained the subject of debate. The Values Campaign? The Christian Right and the 2004 Elections reaches well beyond the instant analyses of the post-election period to provide an assessment of the role of the religious right in 2004. The contributors to this volume are among the leading scholars of religion and politics in the United States, and many have contributed for over a decade to ongoing discussions of the role played by the religious right in national elections.
The authors consider national mobilization and issues, and also explore the role of the Christian Right in specific states. Their evaluations contend that the "values campaign" was not an aberration but a consistent pattern of national politics, and that moral traditionalism will likely continue to be a significant factor in future elections.
A timely study of the 2004 elections, this volume will appeal to scholars and observers of electoral politics, state politics, and religion and politics.
Taking seriously the “W Stands for Women” rhetoric of the 2004 Bush–Cheney campaign, the contributors to this collection investigate how “W” stands for women. They argue that George W. Bush has hijacked feminist language toward decidedly antifeminist ends; his use of feminist rhetoric is deeply and problematically connected to a conservative gender ideology. While it is not surprising that conservative views about gender motivate Bush’s stance on so-called “women’s issues” such as abortion, what is surprising—and what this collection demonstrates—is that a conservative gender ideology also underlies a range of policies that do not appear explicitly related to gender, most notably foreign and domestic policies associated with the post-9/11 security state. Any assessment of the lasting consequences of the Bush presidency requires an understanding of the gender conservatism at its core.
In W Stands for Women ten feminist scholars analyze various aspects of Bush’s persona, language, and policy to show how his administration has shaped a new politics of gender. One contributor points out the shortcomings of “compassionate conservatism,” a political philosophy that requires a weaker class to be the subject of compassion. Another examines Lynndie England’s participation in the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in relation to the interrogation practices elaborated in the Army Field Manual, practices that often entail “feminizing” detainees by stripping them of their masculine gender identities. Whether investigating the ways that Bush himself performs masculinity or the problems with discourse that positions non-Western women as supplicants in need of saving, these essays highlight the far-reaching consequences of the Bush administration’s conflation of feminist rhetoric, conservative gender ideology, and neoconservative national security policy.
Contributors. Andrew Feffer, Michaele L. Ferguson, David S. Gutterman, Mary Hawkesworth, Timothy Kaufman-Osborn, Lori Jo Marso, Danielle Regan, R. Claire Snyder, Iris Marion Young, Karen Zivi
Michaela Ferguson and Karen Zivi appeared on KPFA’s Against the Grain on September 11, 2007. Listen to the audio. Michaela Ferguson and Lori Jo Marso appeared on WUNC’s The State of Things on August 30, 2007. Listen to the audio.
Worlds Apart tells of a well-meaning foreign policy establishment often deaf to the voices of everyday people. Its focus is the Bosnian War, but its implications extend to any situation that prompts the consideration of military intervention on humanitarian grounds. Ambassador Swanee Hunt served in Vienna during the Bosnian War and was intimately involved in American policy toward the Balkans. During her tenure as ambassador and after, she made scores of trips throughout Bosnia and the rest of the former Yugoslavia, attempting to understand the costly delays in foreign military intervention. To that end, she had hundreds of conversations with a wide range of politicians, refugees, journalists, farmers, clergy, aid workers, diplomats, soldiers, and others. In Worlds Apart, Hunt’s eighty vignettes alternate between the people living out the war and “the internationals” deciding whether or how to intervene. From these stories, most of which she witnessed firsthand, she draws six lessons applicable to current conflicts throughout the world. These lessons cannot be learned from afar, Hunt says, with insiders and outsiders working apart. Only by bridging those worlds can we build a stronger paradigm of inclusive international security.