I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:

· To post questions or comments;

· To follow up on class discussions;

· To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.

The syllabus is at http://www1.cmc.edu/pages/faculty/JPitney/gov106-fall15.html


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Proposition Politics

On February 5, California votes on several ballot measures dealing with Indian gaming.

The Associated Press reports:
The bulk of the contributions this year is flowing to the campaigns over four Indian gambling compacts – propositions 94 through 97. The proposals would allow four Southern California tribes – the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation – to add 17,000 slot machines at their casinos. The four tribes and their allies have raised $101 million, almost all of it coming from the tribes.

This news report confirms a point that we discussed in class: that groups with an unusually deep stake in a policy area will have an incentive to bear the cost of organizing. Check out campaign finance disclosures. You can see the same thing in ads for and against the measures:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Giuliani withdrawal and Interest Groups


It seems that Giuliani's lack of success in the nomination bid exemplifies a possible end of 9/11 politics, worrying The Partnership for a Secure America, who is afraid that the American public has forgotten about the threat of terrorism. In response, The Partnership for a Secure America has produced a television ad highlighting the dangerousness of, specifically, nuclear terrorism. However, this is a little too late for Giuliani (if it could have helped at all...).

I haven't been able to find the ad on youtube, does anyone know where it can be found?

Interest Group News

See Brian's post, below. Keep an eye on interest group contributions to candidates.

A fascinating case study in interest group politics is unfolding. ABC (part of Disney) is airing a new lawyer show titled "Eli Stone." The first episode involves the relationship between autism and childhood vaccines.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has demanded that ABC pull the episode:

“A television show that perpetuates the myth that vaccines cause autism is the height of reckless irresponsibility on the part of ABC and its parent company, The Walt Disney Co.,” said Renee R. Jenkins, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP. “If parents watch this program and choose to deny their children immunizations, ABC will share in the responsibility for the suffering and deaths that occur as a result. The consequences of a decline in immunization rates could be devastating to the health of our nation’s children.”

The Immunization Action Coalition has made a similar demand.

But autism bloggers note something about the Coalition:
The Immunization Action Coalition receives funding from a variety of sources, but maintains strict editorial independence in all publications and print materials. Funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is provided for specific projects. Contributions from pharmaceutical companies are in the form of educational grants.


Click here for the Wilson typology of policy arenas.

Two prominent examples of rebranding are AARP and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Obama and Interest Groups

The New York Times recently reported that many interest groups are supporting Obama's run for the Democratic nomination. It says that Obama has asked these groups to stop supporting him and instead channel funds into the offical campaign, but they have not followed his advice. Obama, who has mentioned many times how he would run a White House untainted by special interests, needs this money and support because of the sheer scale of Super Tuesday. It will be interesting how this plays out as voters hear that "special interests" are providing Obama with money and support.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Trucking Lobby and Anti-Terrorism

Interesting article from Politico about a large amount of government money the trucking industry got to allegedly fight terrorism. It seems as though the trucking lobby may have been able to get a massive amount of money from the government to do almost nothing. It might be interesting to see one of these hour long DVDs about how to spot terrorism on America's highways (in article).

Friday, January 25, 2008


Rauch (p. 42) talks about a rise in the number of national associations. Check out more recent data from the Statistical Abstract of the United States (below). How do these figures compare? How might ch. 6 of Cigler and Loomis explain the pattern that you see?

1980 14,726
1990 22,289
1995 22,663
2000 21,840
2001 22,449
2002 22,141
2003 22,464
2004 22,659
2005 22,720
2006 23,772
You might see something similar with political action committees (PACs).
Note, however, that data on business enterprises have a different pattern.

The WGA Does Congress

The Hollywood writers' strike recently came to Capitol Hill. From an article in Broadcasting & Cable:
With the help of a half-dozen or so out-of-work writers, the Writers Guild of America staged a comedy debate on Capitol Hill Wednesday on the serious subject of the ongoing strike against the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers. With the aid of a half-dozen members of Congress, the guild framed the issue as consolidated media companies that didn't want to split their $95 billion in profits with the writers who helped to create all of that high-value content. They were backed by a half-dozen legislators who took to the podium before the mock debate to express their support and even issue something of a threat. [CLICK HERE FOR FULL TEXT]

In class on Monday, we shall briefly discuss why the writers came to the Hill and why several members were so eager to host them. See video below.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Vote Yes for California"

What do you think is going on here?