Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Question Day

Wow, it hasn't been question day around here for ages. Today should be a good day for it, I think (among other things, I have to run over to the airport...the eldest daughter, after a very nice gap semester, is setting off for college. Yikes!).

Anyway: it's on. Leave your questions in comments below, or email them, or via twitter, and I'll get to as many as I can. Whatever you have: filibuster, the new Congress, the next round of presidential elections, the HOF vote, anything. Apologies in advance if I don't get to yours -- and while I don't always get to it, I try at the end of the day to quickly run through the ones I didn't write about and do a one or two sentence response in comments here. But for now, ask away.

30 comments:

  1. Do you foresee any meaningful rules changes occurring for the 2016 primaries and what impact on the nomination process do you think they would have?

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  2. To what extent does an HRC presidential field pre-winnow the filed before the Iowa Caucus?

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  3. Do you think the Newtown shooting has permanently altered the politics of gun control enough to either (a) allow significant reform to pass, or (b) make it a winning national issue for Democrats? Or are we simply in a short-term bubble that will eventually revert to the pre-Newtown equilibira, where Dems had little to no appetite to move gun measures in Congress?

    Related, if you were POTUS right now, would you be more inclined to aggressively approach gun control, or more inclined to try to quickly get it off the table?

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  4. You've talked about the GOP's tendency to pass legislation designed to help their party's electoral success later (something you note Democrats don't do). How do you think this plays out, in the end? Do the more overt examples ("rigging" the electoral vote in Democrat-leaning swing states) become a toxic political issue, forcing them to back away? How serious a threat to traditional American democracy is this?

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  5. Do you think Obama and/or Congressional Democrats have missed opportunities recently by once again reverting to a focus on deficit reduction (tax increases, spending cuts) and budgeting narrowly conceived, rather than continuing with their successful emphasis on job creation and economic growth during campaign season?

    Given that Obama has been newly focused on "outside" public appeals for his agenda, why not continue to raise jobs and growth as priorities, making them substantive and rhetorical cudgels against Republican tone deafness? Is there any way this would pay strategic dividends, or have Democrats judgments been realistic and well-considered so far, since November?

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  6. Something non-contemporaneous: political biographies. I've read Caro and Nixon Agonistes (the latter on your recommendation), but what else? Or, more broadly, what do you think is the best way to find a quality biography/history? If I want to read a book on FDR, say, what's the heuristic to pick from the numerous options?

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  7. What do you think the prospects are for major changes to our Constitutional system? For instance term limits for (Supreme Court) judges, abolition of the electoral college, an Amendment to overturn Citizens United and allow campaign finance legislation, the ERA, etc.? You don't have to comment on each of these individual items, but I'm interested in if you think there is any possibility of changes at least as radical as these taking place anytime soon.

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  8. Assume for a second that Republicans is a few of Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, or Florida amend the delegate laws to apportion Presidential electors either by proportion or Congressional district. How do you predict Democrats across the country respond?

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  9. Another one:

    You might have already answered this, but what are the root historical causes of the current Republican Party dysfunction? When did things start going wrong? Was it 1993?

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  10. At what point does the growth of the population demand (require/suggest/whatever) that the House expand? What logistical challenges exist? I see that politically, there would be little chance of anything but a doubling to 870, but that would require a massive increase in office space in an already crowded area of DC. Still, the number of constituents per Representative has to peak at some number, right?

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  11. Any more data on whether Obama moved the needle on public opinion over gay marriage? African-American opinion would be especially interesting. I'd be looking for an increase in acceptance that exceeded the typical average annual increase.

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  12. Filibuster Reform - I know you don't want the Senate to "turn into the House" (majority rule), but at what point would you support a rules change that would do that? Over the current status-quo? If Obama or the next President is unable to confirm a major cabinet member for partisan reasons? If the Federal judiciary drops to X% filled because no one can be confirmed? Something else? Never?

    -rg

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  13. If the debt limit is not increased, many have discussed stopping spending by function (e.g. stopping, delaying, or mandating paying Social Security). But can/may the Treasury restrict spending by geography? Would it be legal or possible for the President to stop all or some federal spending in places where the Representative did not vote to increase the debt limit, say KY, OH8, WI1, etc? IF yes, what mioght be the political repercussions?

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  14. You have a negative view of several presidents that runs contrary to a lot of conventional wisdom, notably you have a negative view of Carter and Wilson. Are there any other presidents or other major political figures you think are highly over rated? Or any you think deserve more credit or a major reassessment?

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  15. A couple questions on political parties and coalitions...

    1) TPM had a story over the weekend about how unions, who were once hold outs on immigration reform, have gradually come to accept the Democratic baseline on the issue. How do you think the unions' role in the Democratic Party- in that they're all but synonymous- affected this?

    2) I think you've touched on this before, but how do parties reach broad consensus on certain issues/legislation? It seems the HCR was a long process, but by 2008, every Democrat had to have a plan, and whoever won was going to pursue it (I still say Obama is hardly excited about HCR, he just knows that's what he had to do as President). On the other hand, Democrats haven't addressed gun control for almost 20 years, so while their isn't much argument about it inside the party, there also isn't much of a sense of what they want. Do big issues like this need time to mature in a party? Do they have to have a primary to hash it all out?

    3) I know how he would answer this, but is Bruce Springsteen a member of the Democratic Party? I don't mean what his political beliefs are, those are clear. I mean does he fit into the broad definition of political parties, the networks and coalitions of people invested in the party's success even if they don't hold an office or a staffing job?

    I have my own answers to all of these questions, but I don't want to gum up the works with my own half-baked opinions.

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  16. What do you predict for the long-term future of the Republican Party? I know our political system will always tend to revert to a two-party system, but which is more likely, the Republican Party moderating so it can be more viable in an increasingly diverse country, or the Democratic Party supplanting it as the party of the right, and another party further to the left becoming the second party?

    I don't see how you build a coalition composed of racists and non-white people, but I don't see the racists going anywhere soon.

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  17. What do you think would have been the result of the 2012 presidential election if Romney had campaigned on his record?
    * Said that he did his job of creating wealth for stock holders at Bain even though people lost jobs and that he would do his job of president to get more people working.
    * Stood behind Romneycare.
    * I think he was for cap-and-trade before running for president.
    * Proposed tax policies that actually added up.

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  18. Did you see the movie Nixon? If so, what did you think of Stone's portrayal of Watergate? Also, I recently read that Sen. Kennedy was intrigued about Nixon's offer to do something about health care and that he regretted turning Nixon's deal down but Kennedy thought he could get a better deal once he was gone. This was, I believe in late 73 or early 74...when do you think everone "in the know" knew Nixon was finished and was it only the tapes coming out that summer that sealed his fate?

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  19. Do you have any recommendations on good introductory political science books I might be able to get from a library? I'm not looking for anything focused on the constitution or a specific campaign and don't want policy discussions.

    I'd rather not read a text book, but that's probably what comes closest to what I want.

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    1. Anon: can you clarify? Introduction to PS generally, or American politics? Oftentimes, the intro to American course is the first course students take because it's often a required general education course. Introduction to PS is about general concepts.

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    2. Probably intro to American politics. An intro to general PS would also be useful if it had an American flavor and examples.

      My problem is that reading this blog and the Monkey Cage introduce me to focused and fairly deep ideas and I don't have the general background to put all of it in context. My college education didn't include a PS course.

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  20. Any chance Governor Christie, considers changing parties and running as a Dem. in 2016?

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  21. Last night Rachel Maddow reported on Republican plans [or at least serious consideration] to gerrymander the electoral college, just as they have the house of representatives. If this works, they could lose the popular vote by a lot but still get the presidency, perhaps forever.

    This is potentially the death of the last remnants of democracy we still cling to in the era of corporate citizenship.

    Or am I over-reacting?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show#50477422

    9 min + clip. First 2:30 not really relevant to the issue.

    JzB

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  22. What's the history behind Carl Levin's conservatism regarding Senate institutional procedure? Why is he the most Democratic senator most resistant to substantial change? It's not like he's a senator from a very conservative state or a longtime senator -- he's only served about 3 terms, no?

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    1. Correction: He's been in the senate since 1979. So does it come down to seniority?

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  23. This is related to your post about Schumer and the Hagel nomination from a few days ago. Basically Im wondering if a greater use of individual Senator holds has been a new norm under McConnell and why/why not, i.e. what are some of the incentives at play that might put a break on such tactics?

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  24. Off year elections are as important as years with Presidential elections. What can Obama do to get his coalition to vote in a mid-term election?

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  25. Okay, you aren't on board with shmoozing as being important for a President, how about good ole Texas style arm-twisting a la LBJ? Or has that gone out the window with the pork barrel?

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  26. In California, the Republican Party has been the out power party for a long time now. I would expect a party in this position to start moderating its policy positions to have greater appeal, but I don’t see that happening so far.

    If this starts happening on the national level to the Republican Party, are they more likely to moderate their positions than the California Republican Party?

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  27. I read about politics online every day, mostly via Twitter, magazines, and newspapers. For at least as long as Obama's been president, however, I've stopped watching televised news with the exception of the very occasional Colbert episode (I'm 32). Temperamentally, I just have no interest in that medium for politics. My q: do you think there are any compelling reasons to keep up with politics through television? Corollary: do you watch politics on tv?

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