Saturday, October 10, 2009

Won't Somebody Please Think About the Political 'Scientists'!?!

With all due respect to Helen Lovejoy, this isn't about just the children anymore.

Yes, that's right: My fellow political "scientists" and I are under attack. Well, our funding from the National Science Foundation is, at least, now that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has introduced an amendment to eliminate it. This quote from the senator's press secretary kills me:
"Political science would be better left to pundits and voters," said Don Tatro, Senator Coburn's press secretary, in an interview.
Indeed. I think Steven Taylor has put it best:
"I can readily accept the notion that there is a debate to be had about federal funding of research (and not just polisci work). That is perfectly legitimate. However, it would be nice if Coburn at least knew what he was talking about. ... It is flatly not the case that the University of Michigan’s work on American elections is somehow equivalent to election-night reporting and commentary. And while there are some bloggers who do attempt to engage in legitimate analysis, some of it truly empirical in nature as well, they are not the same thing as actual political science analysis."
There are some other great reactions out there as well from political scientists (see below). Look, no one wants their funding threatened (Remember the bear DNA study that was a part of the presidential campaign a year ago?) and it is natural for political scientists to want to fight this. But seriously, Senator, if you're going to make this argument, please come up with something better than, "CNN could do just as well." That's simply not true. And that's not just some ivory tower-dwelling political scientist saying that.

Andrew Gelman
Henry Farrell
Joshua Tucker
Matthew Shugart
Dan Drezner
Steven Taylor

Oh, and John Sides awarded Coburn the Cobie.

Recent Posts:
FHQ Friday Fun: Things are More Fun in Iowa

September (State and Local) Primaries Are Now a Step Closer to Disappearing

State of the Race: Virginia Governor (10/8/09)


Jack said...

As a political science major, I am taking a public policy course this semester. In this course, I have learned about the federal budget and how this nation's economy is threatened by fiscal profligacy. So thank you, Tom Coburn, for crusading against wasteful spending.

Josh Putnam said...

Here, here!

Hey, wait a minute.