IS IT TIME TO STOP CALLING POLITICAL SCIENCE “SCIENCE” BASED UPON THE WAY this BUSH ADMINISTRATION TOOK on so MANY THEORIES and EITHER BROKE THEM, SHATTERED THEM, SKEWED THEM, or DISPROVED THEM?
By Kevin Stoda
I recall eight years ago sitting in Dr. Kenneth Meier’s graduate level political science seminar on “American Institutions” at Texas A & M University (i.e. Home of the Bush Library and former campus dominated by ex-CIA Chief William Gates) and hearing the good professor of American Institutions share how he was very disappointed in one of the projects and publications he had edited on “The Presidency.”
Dr. Meier shared how that project had been intended to be interdisciplinary from the outset.
The hope was that experts from across the humanities and social sciences would be able to broaden the perspective of political scientists’ current-take on the “institution of the American presidency”.
INTERDSICIPLINARY APPROACH SCORNED
Alas, when the resulting work was published on the institution of the U.S. Presidency around 2000, Dr. Meier sniffed with disappointment and indicated that he had only to report that he personally was not convinced by the strong arguments in the edited work concerning the historical studies of the presidents as individual, i.e. psychological histories.
Professor Meier was disappointed by the perception of the interdisciplinary grouping of academics that the character and psychological make-up of the individual personage acting out the role or office of the U.S. President actually played a greater part in how the institution of the executive branch functioned in the U.S.A. in any epic than did any game theoretical or statistical manifestations developed or described by political scientists.
Such theoretical and statistical predictions are generally based upon trends in research on bureaucracies or developed through the observations of codes and practices of the 4th branch of government (i.e. our Washington bureaucracy and civil servantry), the judicial branch, or Congress over time.
That particular Ken Meier seminar took place just prior to the Bush Cabinet and Clan taking over the White House the following January.
Within the earliest weeks of 2001, many of the stronger theories of IPE were targeted by this Bush-Cheney administration for testing at the international level.
Further, economic and balance of power theories between the second and first branches of government dating back to the Reagan era (and much earlier) were tested in the area of military spending, deficit spending, and social welfare privatization.
A FULL BLITZKRIEG ON THEORIES
In short, both America and the political scientific world have been shaken in the intervening period. The Bush-Cheney government has gone all out to test theory and to spend, spend, spend.
Right now, political science and the world are still trying to recover from the shake-up of the past eight years.
Here is a list of some of the theories taken on: