Ezra Klein of the Washington Post recently wrote an editorial on “the five people Obama should hire right now“. Among them:
A political scientist: In general, Washington is split between people who specialize in governing (most of them economists or lawyers or public policy graduates) and people who specialize in running elections. Political scientists, who study the history and run the numbers on both pursuits, are not invited to the table. Adding to the snub, the president has hosted at the White House groups of journalists, pundits and historians. Again, no political scientists.
That’s a shame, because the White House could use some political science. If the administration wanted out of the 24-hour news cycle that obsesses over who’s up and who’s down, it should’ve grabbed some of the people who’ve studied the waxing and waning of the liberal and conservative brands since the 1930s. (Did you know that on the eve of FDR’s 1936 rout of the Republican Party, a majority of Americans polled by Gallup identified themselves as conservative?) The White House, which was shocked by the Republican Party’s unwillingness to offer early cooperation, could have benefited from congressional scholars who knew that both history and electoral incentives ensured that Republicans would obstruct from Day One.
I could go on. Pick an issue, or a political quandary, and odds are there’s a wealth of political science literature on the topic. The White House needs someone who can bring the profession’s best insights and evidence to the administration’s deliberations. And I hear there are even free desks for them to sit in.
Thanks for the vote of confidence!