Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gates to Students: Enlist in the Military

Andy Barr writes at Politico:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is challenging more students from elite universities to join the military — making the case that those who do serve are being stretched too thin for the sacrifices they make.

“Instead of wearing J. Crew, they wear body armor. Instead of carrying book bags, they are carrying assault rifles,” Gates said in a speech Wednesday at Duke University. “And a number of them - far too many - will not come home to their parents.”

Gates, a former president of Texas A&M, analyzed recruitment patterns. He said that the armed forces remain broadly representative of the working and middle classes and that education levels are higher than ever, with many high-ranking officers holding Ph.D.'s.

Having said that, the nearly four decades of all-volunteer force has reinforced a series of demographic, cultural, and institutional shifts affecting who is most likely to serve and from where. Studies have shown that one of the biggest factors in propensity to join the military is growing up near those who have or are serving. In this country, that propensity to serve is most pronounced in the South and the Mountain West, and in rural areas and small towns nationwide – a propensity that well exceeds these communities’ portion of the population as a whole. Concurrently, the percentage of the force from the Northeast, the West Coast, and major cities continues to decline. I am also struck by how many young troops I meet grew up in military families, and by the large number of our senior officers whose children are in uniform – including the recent commander of all U.S. Forces in Iraq whose son was seriously wounded in the war.

The military’s own basing and recruiting decisions have reinforced this growing concentration among certain regions and families. With limited resources, the services focus their recruiting efforts on candidates where they are most likely to have success – with those who have friends, classmates, and parents who have already served. In addition, global basing changes in recent years have moved a significant percentage of the Army to posts in just five states: Texas, Washington, Georgia, Kentucky, and here in North Carolina. For otherwise rational environmental and budgetary reasons, many military facilities in the northeast and on the west coast have been shut down, leaving a void of relationships and understanding of the armed forces in their wake.

He closed by noting the reality of sacrifice and the opportunity for service:

But beyond the hardship and heartbreak – and they are real – there is another side to military service. That is the opportunity to be given extraordinary responsibility at a young age – not just for lives of your troops, but for missions and decisions that may change the course of history. In addition to being in the fight, our young military leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan, have to one degree or another found themselves dealing with development, governance, agriculture, health, and diplomacy. They’ve done all this at an age when many of their peers are reading spreadsheets and making photocopies. And that is why, I should add, they are often in such high demand with future employers and go on to do great things in every walk of life.

So I would encourage you and all young Americans, especially those at the most selective universities who may not have considered the military, to do so. To go outside your comfort zone and take a risk in every sense of the word. To expand what you thought you were capable of doing when it comes to leadership, responsibility, agility, selflessness, and above all, courage.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Poll on Media: Trust and Bias

Gallup reports:

For the fourth straight year, the majority of Americans say they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. The 57% now saying this is a record high by one percentage point.

The 43% of Americans who, in Gallup's annual Governance poll, conducted Sept. 13-16, 2010, express a great deal or fair amount of trust ties the record low, and is far worse than three prior Gallup readings on this measure from the 1970s.

...

Nearly half of Americans (48%) say the media are too liberal, tying the high end of the narrow 44% to 48% range recorded over the past decade. One-third say the media are just about right while 15% say they are too conservative. Overall, perceptions of bias have remained quite steady over this tumultuous period of change for the media, marked by the growth of cable and Internet news sources. Americans' views now are in fact identical to those in 2004, despite the many changes in the industry since then.

Democrats and liberals remain far more likely than other political and ideological groups to trust the media and to perceive no bias.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Civic Life and Deliberation

Lance Bennett, Alan Borning, and Diane Douglas write at The Seattle Times:

The Internet and the technologies that connect people through it can provide access to vast and immediate information resources, diverse perspectives and person-to-person communication.

The newly released report, "2010 Civic Life in America," finds that the Internet also can be a boon to civic engagement. Residents of "Internet households" in America have a voting rate about 19 percent higher than that of non-Internet households, and those who go online on a regular basis are more likely to be involved in offline community activities as well.

At the same time, the Internet is hardly a panacea for creating a more civil society — indeed, much of the current online discussion about political matters is anything but civil. It is essential to design new technologies that help foster deliberation and respect while still maintaining vigorous debate and free speech.

CityClub, University of Washington's Center for Communication & Civic Engagement and its Department of Computer Science and Engineering collaborated to produce a new Web-based resource to advance digital democracy in Washington state. With funding from the National Science Foundation, we developed an online resource to promote community discourse and deliberation on the nine critical ballot measures before Washington voters this November.

Our Living Voters Guide invites all Washingtonians to discuss these vital ballot measures together, to explore one another's positions, and to build a personal, customized platform that will inform their final vote.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Poll on Media Use

Politico reports:

More people are getting their news about the upcoming election from cable television than any other source, and from Fox News more than any other cable channel, according to a POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll released Monday.

The poll found that 81 percent of those polled get their news about the midterm elections from cable channels, like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, or their websites, compared with 71 percent from national network news channels, such as ABC, NBC or CBS, and their websites.

Among cable news channels, Fox was the clear winner, with 42 percent of respondents saying it is their main source, compared with 30 percent who cited CNN and 12 percent who rely on MSNBC.

Get full poll results.


The results show the growing influence that 24-hour cable news has on shaping the political consciousness, despite the fact that network newscasts still draw many multiples of the number of viewers of even the highest-rated cable news shows.

“Because people can tune into cable at any time of day, I think the cumulative audience is probably larger than the cumulative audience for the three network news shows,” said Chris Arterton, dean of the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.

The results of the poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted Sept. 19 to Sept. 22 also reflect a trend that many commentators and media analysts find disconcerting: Voters are turning to media sources that reinforce their political worldviews rather than present them with more objective reporting that might challenge their assumptions.

“As more people get news from cable channels and websites that offer a particular point of view 24/7, it becomes increasingly important for viewers to sample multiple sources in order to best understand the issues and proposed solutions,” said Michael Freedman, a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington and executive director of its Global Media Institute. “This trend is only increasing.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0910/42738.html#ixzz10kPSC89t

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Public Sector Unions

Our chapter on bureaucracy discusses the influences of labor unions in the public sector, a point that Daniel DiSalvo amplifies in National Affairs:

Since the middle of the 20th century, organized labor in America has undergone two transformations with major implications for the nation's politics. The first is the dramatic decline in overall union membership. In 1955, organized labor represented one-third of the non-agricultural work force; today, it represents just 12.3%. The second transformation, however, is even more significant: the change in the composition of the unionized work force.

As private-sector unions have withered, public-sector unions have grown dramatically. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2009, for the first time ever, more public-sector employees (7.9 million) than private-sector employees (7.4 million) belonged to unions. Today, unionized workers are more likely to be teachers, librarians, trash collectors, policemen, or firefighters than they are to be carpenters, electricians, plumbers, auto workers, or coal miners.

This shift has produced a noticeable change in the demographic profile of union members; gone is the image of a union man as a beefy laborer in a hard hat and steel-toed boots. According to data from the University of Michigan's American National Election Study, in 1952, about 80% of union members were blue-collar workers, while 20% were white-collar workers; by the mid-1990s, those classified as white-collar workers gained majority status. Nor do men dominate unions any longer: In the 1950s, more than 80% of union members were men, but today there is near gender parity. Union members also have much more schooling than they once did. In 1960, more than 35% of union members had not finished high school and barely 2% had college degrees. Today, almost every union member has completed high school, and more than 25% have college degrees. The typical union member no longer lives in a major city center close to the factory; by the 1990s, union members were more likely to live in suburban than urban areas. Unions have also become multi-racial: Nearly a quarter of union members are now non-white. Unions today represent a vastly different slice of America than they did at the height of the country's manufacturing prowess.

...

When it comes to advancing their interests, public-sector unions have significant advantages over traditional unions. For one thing, using the political process, they can exert far greater influence over their members' employers — that is, government — than private-sector unions can. Through their extensive political activity, these government-workers' unions help elect the very politicians who will act as "management" in their contract negotiations — in effect handpicking those who will sit across the bargaining table from them, in a way that workers in a private corporation (like, say, American Airlines or the Washington Post Company) cannot. Such power led Victor Gotbaum, the leader of District Council 37 of the AFSCME in New York City, to brag in 1975: "We have the ability, in a sense, to elect our own boss."

Since public-sector unions began to develop in earnest, their importance in political campaigns has grown by leaps and bounds. Starting from almost nothing in the 1960s, government-workers' unions now far exceed private-sector unions in political contributions. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, from 1989 to 2004, the AFSCME was the biggest spender in America, giving nearly $40 million to candidates in federal elections (98.5% of it to Democrats). It is important to stress that this was spending on federal elections; the union represents mostly state and local workers. But given the magnitude of federal contributions to state budgets, the AFSCME is heavily involved in electioneering to shape Washington's spending in ways that protect public workers and the supply of government services. And so over that 15-year period, the AFSCME was willing and able to outspend any other organization in the country.

The political influence of public-sector unions is probably greatest, however, in low-turnout elections to school boards and state and local offices, and in votes to decide ballot initiatives and referenda. For example, two of the top five biggest spenders in Wisconsin's 2003 and 2004 state elections were the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the AFSCME-affiliated Wisconsin PEOPLE Conference. Only the state Republican Party and two other political action committees — those belonging to the National Association of Realtors and SBC / Ameritech — spent more. The same is true in state after state, as unions work to exert control over the very governments that employs their members.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Trust

Gallup reports:

A record-low 36% of Americans have a great deal or fair amount of trust and confidence in the legislative branch of government, down sharply from the prior record low of 45% set last year. Trust in the judicial branch and trust in the executive branch also suffered sharp declines this year but remain higher than trust in the legislative branch.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Colbert Testifies

The overlap of politics, news, and entertainment took a bizarre turn today when Steven Colbert testified -- in character -- about immigration.



But while most of the Congress members present seemed pleased with Colbert's appearance before the committee - which potentially brought more national attention to the cause than it might have otherwise received - not everyone was laughing along with his jokes. "I think [inviting Colbert to testify] was a mistake," Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen told The Hill. "Picking vegetables for 10 hours doesn't make you an expert in anything, except how unpleasant it is to pick vegetables for 10 hours. I think using an actor in character to give testimony makes a mockery of the committee process."

Rep. John Conyers asked Colbert during the hearing to recuse himself from the committee and submit his statement instead, saying that "you run your show, we run the committee," though he later retracted the request.

Steve King, the conservative ranking Republican on the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, also took issue with Colbert's presence. "Maybe amnesty supporters should spend less time watching Comedy Central and more time considering all the real jobs that are out there that require hard labor and don't involve sitting behind a desk," he said during the hearing. "If they did, they would realize that every day American workers perform the dirtiest, most difficult, most dangerous jobs that can be thrown at them."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Perkins Loan Hearing

As we explain in our chapter on Congress, hearings are part of the deliberative process on Capitol Hill. Yesterday, the House Budget Committee held a hearing on the Perkins Loan Program for students:

“The real message here is, we need to save it,” said Cynthia A. Littlefield, director of federal relations at the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. If it’s expanded, Congress can focus on “redefining a new Perkins Loan program,” she said.

Perkins funds pass through a “revolving account” of college and government money when students repay their loans, or have the loans cancelled (or forgiven) because they take certain public service jobs. Then, the college awards the money to another student. The Perkins Loan Extension Act of 2010 would give colleges an extra year -- until Oct. 1, 2013 – before they have to start returning the federal funds they have received and recycled into new student loans. (The original termination date was set when the Higher Education Act was reauthorized in 2008.)

Sarah Bauder, assistant vice president of enrollment services and student financial aid at the University of Maryland at College Park, testified Wednesday that despite its comparatively small distribution -- the university awards $1.5 million in Perkins funds, compared to $90 million in Stafford loans and $30 million in Pell Grants -- the program is “the David among the Goliaths of other aid.”

...

The hearing of the House Committee on the Budget was sparsely attended, as people made their way in and out throughout, but a couple of representatives did declare their support for extending Perkins. Some are pushing not only for the extension, but for a more permanent solution to funding the program.

...

A Georgetown University senior, Joseph Hill, testified that Perkins “without a doubt” allowed him to attend his dream institution. The son of an overworked mother and a father with a neuromuscular disease (both of whom attended the hearing), he received $26,000 in Georgetown scholarships but still didn’t think his family would be able to afford the education.

“And then, there was a Perkins loan, which helped my parents fill that gap,” Hill testified. “Last week, I was talking to my mother, and without hesitation, she said, ‘It still wouldn’t have worked without that Perkins Loan.’ ”

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mistakes


Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R-Alaska) write-in bid to hang on to her seat doesn't depend on people spelling her name correctly. But her campaign staff might want to hire a proofreader.

MurkTypo.jpg

In case you missed it, in this image from her first campaign ad since she announced that she will stay in the race after Joe Miller won the GOP primary, her Web site URL is misspelled as LisaMurkwski.com. The ad has been pulled.

The South Bend Tribune reports on an unfortunate spelling error in Indiana.

And Real Clear Politics notes that the president made a mistake not in spelling, but in history:

"Long before America was even an idea, this land of plenty was home to many peoples. The British and French, the Dutch and Spanish, to Mexicans, to countless Indian tribes. We all shared the same land," President Obama told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Mexico declared its independence on September 16, 1810. It was recognized on September 27, 1821.

The United States of America declared its independence in 1776.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Birthright Citizenship Poll

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press asked:
As you may know, under the U.S. Constitution, all children born in the U.S. are automatically U.S. citizens, including those born to illegal immigrants. Would you favor changing the Constitution so that parents must be legal residents of the U.S. in order for their newborn child to be a citizen, or should the Constitution be left as it is?

...........................................................Sept 9-12......June16-20...March 2006

Favor changing Constitution...............46....................41................42
Leave Constitution as is.......................49....................56................54
Don't know/refused.............................06...................04................04

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The "Repeal Amendment"

In The Wall Street Journal, Randy E. Barnett and William J. Howell argue that a couple of constitutional amendments changed the character of federalism:

The 16th Amendment gave Congress the power to impose an income tax, allowing it to tax and spend to a degree previously unimaginable. This amendment enabled Congress to evade the constitutional limits placed on its own power by effectively bribing states. Once states are "hooked" on receiving federal funds, they can be coerced to obey federal dictates or lose the revenue.

The 17th Amendment provided for the direct election of U.S. senators by the voters of each state. Under the original Constitution they were selected by state legislatures and could be expected to restrain federal power. Whatever that amendment's democratic benefits, the loss of this check on the federal government has been costly.

Their remedy:

In its next session beginning in January, the legislature of Virginia will consider proposing a constitutional "Repeal Amendment." The Repeal Amendment would give two-thirds of the states the power to repeal any federal law or regulation. Its text is simple:

"Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed."

At present, the only way for states to contest a federal law or regulation is to bring a constitutional challenge in federal court or seek an amendment to the Constitution. A state repeal power provides a targeted way to reverse particular congressional acts and administrative regulations without relying on federal judges or permanently amending the text of the Constitution to correct a specific abuse.

The Repeal Amendment should not be confused with the power to "nullify" unconstitutional laws possessed by federal courts. Unlike nullification, a repeal power allows two-thirds of the states to reject a federal law for policy reasons that are irrelevant to constitutional concerns. In this sense, a state repeal power is more like the president's veto power.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Poverty, Health Insurance, Entitlements

New data indicate the breadth of social problems and the desire for change:


  • The median household income in 2009 was not statistically different from the 2008 median in real terms.
  • The poverty rate increased between 2008 and 2009.
  • The uninsured rate and number of people without health insurance increased between 2008 and 2009.


The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reports:

The public has sharply different reactions to major changes in Social Security and Medicare programs being proposed by some leading Republicans. While a majority favors a proposal to allow some private investments in Social Security, there is considerably less support for the idea of ending Medicare and replacing it with a system of vouchers for purchasing private insurance.

The latest Pew Research/National Journal Congressional Connection poll, sponsored by SHRM, conducted September 9-12 among 1,001 adults, finds that 58% favor a proposal that would allow workers under age 55 to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts that would rise and fall with the markets; 28% oppose this proposal. Majorities across all age groups – except for those 65 and older – favor this proposal.



Captain Kirk on the Constitution

Religion and the Issues

According to a new study from the Pew Research Center, religion affects opinion on some issues more than others:

Many Americans continue to say their religious beliefs have been highly influential in shaping their views about social issues, including abortion and same-sex marriage. But far fewer cite religion as a top influence on their opinions about several other social and political issues, including how the government should deal with immigration, the environment and poverty.

Despite the fact that many religious leaders have been outspoken advocates for immigration reform, just 7% of adults who take a position on immigration say that religion is the most important influence on their views on this issue. About one-in-four churchgoers (24%) say the clergy at their places of worship have spoken out about immigration, nearly the same as in 2006. About half of those who hear about immigration in church say their clergy are favorable to immigrants and immigration, but nearly one-quarter are hearing anti-immigration messages.


News Habits

A new report from the Pew Center for the People and the Press:
Roughly a third (34%) of the public say they went online for news yesterday – on par with radio, and slightly higher than daily newspapers. And when cell phones, email, social networks and podcasts are added in, 44% of Americans say they got news through one or more internet or mobile digital source yesterday.
...
While 26% of all Americans say they read a print newspaper yesterday, that figure falls to just 8% among adults younger than 30.
....
Only Fox News has maintained its audience size, and this is because of the increasing number of Republicans who regularly get news there. Four-in-ten Republicans (40%) now say they regularly watch Fox News, up from 36% two years ago and just 18% a decade ago. Just 12% of Republicans regularly watch CNN, and just 6% regularly watch MSNBC.
...
Ideology continues to be closely associated with people’s choice of certain news sources. Eight-in-ten Americans (80%) who regularly listen to Rush Limbaugh or watch Sean Hannity are conservative – roughly twice the national average of 36%. And at the other end of the spectrum, the New York Times, Keith Olbermann, the Daily Show, the Colbert Report and Rachel Maddow have regular audiences that include nearly twice the proportion of liberals than in the public.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Constitution Day Papers

Today is Constitution Day. Several papers at the recent annual meeting of the American Political Science Association dealt with the Constitution and the presidency:

My essay examines how Lincoln’s devotion to the American constitutional union determined how he pursued a greater protection of rights for blacks in the United States. Before 1854, his politics reflected little urgency regarding the equal protection of the laws for blacks in a nation governed by a majority-white citizenry. He was willing to maintain the union at the cost of extending the tenure of slaveholding in certain American states because it was the best chance for selfgovernment to survive and ultimately extend its benefits to all of America’s inhabitants. This was true for Lincoln as long as slavery was understood to be “in the course of ultimate extinction.” However, by the 1850s white Americans in the free states became increasingly indifferent to the spread of black slavery, exemplified by the growing allure of the doctrine of “local popular sovereignty” espoused by Stephen A. Douglas in 1854. Passage of Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 signaled to Lincoln a shift in public opinion that threatened the pursuit of justice for all, regardless of color. Lincoln began to address the natural rights of blacks in America in a way that returned white Americans to the ideals and practices of the Declaration of Independence as the surest means of preserving their own liberties. Given the tenuous hold that these principles had on white Americans, Lincoln was unwilling to adopt an abolitionist approach to pursuing the full protection of rights for blacks — an approach he believed would further entrench white prejudice against blacks and undermine the establishment of natural rights as the only legitimate basis of American self-government. The fragility of America as a union of freedom-loving people, despite the existence of slavery in several of the states, led Lincoln to go slow on protecting the rights of blacks, but also moved him to suggest what justice required in a way that he thought would appeal to both their self-interest and humanity.
This paper reports preliminary results of a more extensive project to understand the intellectual and legal history of the commander in chief clause of the U.S. Constitution. This project hopes to eventually develop a rigorous explanation of when, and why, the balance of war powers between Congress and the president has changed over time by content analyzing members of Congress’ references to the commander in chief clause. Focusing on four declared wars, this initial paper, based on an ongoing data collection effort, aims only to test a few simple hypotheses. First, it tests, and shows support for, the claim that the president’s inherent war powers were understood to be far more limited during the early Republic than during the twentieth century. The data also suggest that major changes in the nation’s understanding of the inherent war powers of the president took place far earlier than is usually recognized in the existing literature. Second, it tests whether it has always been the case that members of the president’s party argue for more expansive presidential war powers, and that members of the opposing party argue for more limited presidential war powers. It finds support for both hypotheses in the nineteenth century, with evidence of a major shift toward presidential power by partisan opponents of the president at the beginning of World War I.
At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on June 1st, 1787, James Wilson of Pennsylvania first proposed that the executive powers be rested in a single person. The motion was seconded, and then, as James Madison reported, “a considerable pause” ensued. The delegates’ hesitation was hardly surprising. Only recently had they freed themselves from the tyranny of King George III, and they were firmly committed to creating a new government that would not abuse its powers and oppress its citizens. It must have seemed preposterous to replace a hereditary monarch with an elected monarch. To be sure, the framers invoked important reasons in favor of a unitary executive. With the passage of time, however, it has become clear that the founding fathers misjudged the consequences of a single president. They did not anticipate the extent to which executive power would expand and give us an “imperial presidency.” They did not predict the role that political parties would come to play and how battles to capture the White House would greatly aggravate partisan conflict. They did not recognize that single presidents would represent party ideology much more than the overall public good. And they misjudged the advantages and disadvantages of single versus multiple decision makers.

If the presidency is to fulfill the founding fathers’ vision, it needs to be reconceived. This need for constitutional change led me to the proposal for reform that I consider in this paper - the replacement of our single-person presidency with a two-person presidency, in which each of the two presidents would come from a different political party. A two-person presidency would yield many important benefits - a balancing of power between the executive and legislative branches, a dampening of partisan conflict in Washington, an executive branch more representative of the entire electorate, real opportunities for third-party candidates to win election, and wiser presidential decision making. A dual executive would be far more faithful to the framers’ views of executive power and constitutional design. They wanted a president with limited authority who would serve as a co-equal with Congress. They also believed that power should be limited by dividing it and requiring it to be shared. A two-person presidency relies on the framers’ structural devices to promote their core values.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Surveys from the Center for the Constitution and the National Constitution Center

The Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier has surveyed Americans' understanding of the Constitution. Some highlights:
We asked several basic knowledge questions about government power that come directly from the Constitution. In the case of making and regulating money and making treaties, people knew that these were powers of the federal government at the same rate they reported understanding “some” or “a lot” of the Constitution. However, on the question of regulating interstate commerce, only 61% of the general public knows that this is a power reserved to the federal government.
...

Some of the confusion could come from our unique form of government. Federalism does require a sharing of certain powers, but Americans are mixed on whether or not there is a clear division of power between the state and federal governments. When asked which level of government has more power, 70% of the people think the division of power favors the federal government over the states. Only about 8% think the states have more power and 22% think the balance is about right.
...
Given the Founders’ great concern that the national government not become too powerful, it is a bit discouraging that only 35% of Americans believe that the Constitution limits government power. The differences between Democrats and Republicans regarding views of government power are illustrative perhaps of their philosophies. Democrats are much more likely to believe (45.5%) that governmental power is limited than are Republicans (29.5%), Independents (29.1%) or others (31.7%). Interesting differences are found between people in different age groups and levels of educational attainment.
...
One of the most important philosophical beliefs of the founders was in the “natural rights” of humans. It is disappointing that only 68% of the population believes that their rights to free speech and freedom of religion among others, are natural rights. Interestingly, 18-24-year-olds understand the source of basic rights better than the older age groups (82.2% versus 63.7% to 69.7%). No other demographic grouping had such stark differences.
The National Constitution Center (a different organization) and the Associated Press released their own poll. From the AP report:

Glum and distrusting, a majority of Americans today are very confident in — nobody.

Of what confidence there is in institutions, the military and small business are at the top in an Associated Press-National Constitution Center poll released Thursday. But even they get very-confident or better ratings from well under half the people.

Blogs, banks and Congress get the most distrust.

What would people change if they were in charge? The poll found growing sentiment for legal protections for same-sex couples, with 58 percent saying they should have the same government benefits as married heterosexuals and nearly as many backing federal recognition of gay marriage. Respondents overwhelmingly opposed a stronger federal hand in two other areas: enhancing presidential powers to bolster the economy and requiring people to buy health insurance, as this year's health care overhaul law does.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Constitution and Citizenship Day

Jon Bari, president of the Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia, writes:
While most Americans know that July 4 is our country’s birthday, far fewer Americans know that Sept. 17 is the birthday of our nation’s government, the date in 1787 on which delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia completed and signed the Constitution of the United States.

It was not until 2004 that Constitution and Citizenship Day was officially established when the late Robert Byrd, one of the United States Senate’s leading Constitutional scholars, introduced legislation that President George W. Bush signed into law requiring that all schools, colleges and federal agencies receiving federal funds offer annual educational programming involving the Constitution of the United States on Constitution and Citizenship Day, Sept. 17.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Partisan and Nonpartisan Polls

Election analyst Stuart Rothenberg writes:
When I’m presented with two polls, one conducted by a well-regarded Republican or Democratic pollster and the other by a “nonpartisan” pollster or state media outlet, I often place greater weight on the partisan pollster’s numbers, especially if I regard the pollster highly.

...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Social Security: a Progressive Program

In The American, from the American Enterprise Institute, Andrew Biggs writes of efforts to make Social Security more progressive, that is, reducing the relative benefit to upper-income earners.

But those proposing these tax and benefit changes never ask how progressive the Social Security program should be in the first place. While this is a difficult question to answer with precision, we can glean useful information by comparing Social Security’s progressivity to those of national pension systems around the world. The chart below, based on data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) invaluable “Pensions at a Glance” compendium, illustrates.

Biggs 9.11.10 A

Each line represents the benefits paid by a national pension system to individuals by earnings levels. In general, the lines slope upward at less than a 45-degree angle; this signifies that programs are progressive, as benefits do not grow commensurately with earnings. The “flatter” a country’s line the more progressive its benefit structure, as it denotes that benefits rise more slowly as the individual’s earnings increase.

Now consider where the United States—the bold line—compares with other countries. While there are several countries with more progressive benefit structures than the United States—interestingly, most are of Anglo origin, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Ireland, and Canada—the majority of national pension plans are less progressive than the U.S. Social Security program.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Presidents, Reading, and Deliberation

Tevi Troy, author of Intellectuals and the American Presidency, writes that books can make a mark on White House deliberation:
A president’s reading can shape his policy decisions. Kennedy got the idea for a “War on Poverty” after being handed a review of Michael Harrington’s The Other America. Clinton’s decision to intervene in the Balkans was delayed for a while after he read Robert Kaplan’s harrowing Balkan Ghosts. After Nixon read in Robert Blake’s Disraeli that Gladstone had kept his staff around for too long, he was inspired after reelection to fire his first-term cabinet. Nixon also read The Feminine Mystique, at daughter Julie’s urging; it’s unclear what the impact of that experience was.
In an April article in The Washington Post, Mr. Troy elaborated on the point:

Truman's support for establishing the country of Israel -- over the objections of his own State Department -- has been credited to his boyhood reading, both of the Bible (which he read at least a dozen times) and of the multivolume history "Great Men and Famous Women," edited by Charles F. Horne. The collection featured Cyrus the Great, the Persian king who let the Jews return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. Shortly after leaving the White House, Truman was introduced to a group of Jewish leaders as having "helped create" the state of Israel. "What do you mean 'helped create?' " Truman bristled. "I am Cyrus."

Intellectuals disparaged George W. Bush, but he was an avid reader:

Sneers aside, Bush's reading certainly informed his worldview and policies. New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani observed that Bush "favored prescriptive books" such as Natan Sharansky's "The Case for Democracy" and Eliot A. Cohen's "Supreme Command," which argued that politicians should drive military strategy. Bush often met with the authors of books that resonated with him. Shortly after his reelection, he had Sharansky in for an hour-long Oval Office meeting to discuss democracy and ways to advance it around the world. Inspired in part by the author, the president went on to outline a global freedom agenda in his second inaugural address. "Not only did he read it, he felt it," Sharansky told The Post.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

They Fought Back

A clip from United 93, a recreation of the 9/11 flight where the passengers fought back.

Terror and the Government

In our chapters on bureaucracy and national security, as well as others, we discuss the government response to terrorism. On this anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a report from the Bipartisan Policy Center makes for disturbing reading:
It is fundamentally troubling, given this collection of new threats and new adversaries directly targeting America, that there remains no federal government agency or department specifically charged with identifying radicalization and interdicting the recruitment of U.S. citizens or residents for terrorism. As one senior intelligence analyst lamented, “There’s no lead agency or person. There are First Amendment issues we’re cognizant of. It’s not a crime to radicalize, only when it turns to violence. There are groups of people looking at different aspects of counter-radicalization. [But it] has to be integrated across agencies, across levels of government, public-private cooperation”118 -- which, unfortunately, it is not. America is thus vulnerable to a threat that is not only diversifying, but arguably intensifying.

Our long-held belief that homegrown terrorism couldn’t happen here has thus created a situation where we are today stumbling blindly through the legal, operational, and organizational minefield of countering terrorist radicalization and recruitment occurring in the United States. Moreover, rather than answers, we now have a long list of pressing questions on this emerging threat, on our response, and on the capacity of the national security architecture we currently have in place to meet it.

On the threat. What do we do when the terrorists are like us? When they conform to the archetypal American immigrant success story? When they are American citizens or U.S. residents? When they are not perhaps from the Middle East or South Asia and in fact have familiar-sounding names? Or, when they are self-described “petite, blue-eyed, blonde” suburban housewives who, as Colleen LaRose, a.k.a. JihadJane, boasted, “can easily blend in”?119

On our response. Who in fact has responsibility in the U.S. government to identify radicalization when it is occurring and then to interdict attempts at recruitment? Is this best done by federal law enforcement (e.g., the Federal Bureau of Investigation) or state and local jurisdictions working closely with federal authorities? What is the role of state and local governments? Is it a core mission for a modernized, post-9/11 FBI? Or for the Department of Homeland Security? Can it be done by the National Counterterrorism Center, even though it has only a coordinating function and relies on other agencies for intelligence collection, analysis, and operations? What is the role of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in homegrown terrorism and recruitment and radicalization? Will coming to grips with these challenges be the remit of the next FBI Director given the incumbent's impending retirement?

On our current national security architecture. Despite the reforms adopted from the 9/11 Commission’s report and recommendations and the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, have terrorists nonetheless discovered our Achilles’ heel in that we currently have no strategy to counter the type of threat posed by homegrown terrorists and other radicalized recruits? Did “the system work” on May 1, 2010, when Faisal Shahzad attempted to detonate explosives in Times Square? Or was a lot of luck involved because of the plot’s rushed nature? And finally, can we deter al-Qaeda and its affiliates and associates from attacking in the U.S.? If even a “hard target” like New York City continually attracts terrorist attention, what does this tell us about vulnerabilities elsewhere in the country?

118 Interview with NSPG []Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Preparedness Group], 8 July 2010.
119 Quoted in Carrie Johnson, “JihadJane, an American woman, faces terrorism charges,” Washington Post, 10 March 2010
.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Above and Beyond

A theme of the book is that self-interest cannot explain everything in public life. People also act out of a sense of duty.

A release from the White House requires no further comment:

Yesterday, President Obama spoke with Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta to inform him that he will be awarded the Medal of Honor for acts of gallantry at the risk of his life that went above and beyond the call of duty. Sergeant Giunta will be the first living service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq or Afghanistan. The President thanked Sergeant Giunta for his service and extraordinary bravery in battle.

Further information about the date and time of the ceremony will be released at a later date.

ACTION FROM WHICH THE MEDAL OF HONOR WAS EARNED:

Then-Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself by acts of gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifle team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan on October 25, 2007.

When an insurgent force ambush split Specialist Giunta's squad into two groups, he exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a comrade back to cover. Later, while engaging the enemy and attempting to link up with the rest of his squad, Specialist Giunta noticed two insurgents carrying away a fellow soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other, and provided medical aid to his wounded comrade while the rest of his squad caught up and provided security. His courage and leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon's ability defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American paratrooper from enemy hands.


Politics and Public Employees

In our chapter on bureaucracy and the administrative state, we discuss the political role of the government employees who do not serve at the pleasure of elected officials. In the politics of 2010, government employees and the unions that represent them are having a difficult time.

Political tension is bound to grow when private sector jobs disappear faster but at the same time private sector compensation is being squeezed much more than that of the public sector. The rate of compensation for a generation of public service employees has gone up much faster than the personal income of the people who pay for these workers. The gap has widened dramatically between private sector workers at all levels of remuneration as compared to employees in federal, state, and local governments. Once there was a time when government work offered lower salaries than comparable jobs in the private sector, a difference for which the public sector compensated by providing more security and somewhat better benefits. No longer. These days, government employees are better off in almost every area: pay, benefits, time off, and security, on top of working fewer hours. They can thrive even in a down economy. It is tantamount to a wealth transfer from the citizens to the people who serve in government. Millions of public workers have become a kind of privileged new class—a new elite, who live better than their private sector counterparts. Public servants have become the public's masters. No wonder the public is upset.

Capitol Hill employees owed $9.3 million in overdue taxes at the end of last year, a sliver of the $1 billion owed by federal workers nationwide but one with potential political ramifications for members of Congress.

The debt among Hill employees has risen at a faster rate than the overall tax debt on the government's books, according to Internal Revenue Service data. It comes at a time when some Republican members are pushing for the firings of government workers who owe the IRS and President Obama has urged a crackdown on delinquent government contractors.

The Post has a list of employees' delinquent back taxes, by agency.

And New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's critical comments on teacher unions have gone viral:


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Impact of Repealing Birthright Citizenship

The Migration Policy Institute announces results of a new study:

Repeal of birthright citizenship for the U.S.-born children of unauthorized immigrants would expand the unauthorized population by at least 5 million over the next four decades using conservative demographic assumptions, according to a new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report.

The report, The Demographic Impacts of Repealing Birthright Citizenship, employs standard demographic techniques to assess how passage of the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009 or changes to the 14th Amendment would affect the size of the unauthorized immigrant population through 2050.

The analysis reveals that passage of the House-introduced Birthright Citizenship Act, which would deny U.S. citizenship to children born to parents who are both unauthorized immigrants, would increase the unauthorized population from its current 10.8 million to 16 million in 2050, assuming a steady-state model.

The Wall Street Journal notes one reaction:

Jon Feere, legal policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, a right-leaning research group that favors more restrictive immigration policies, agreed that "ending automatic birthright citizenship would not automatically end all illegal immigration."

But, Mr. Feere added, "it will put an end to pregnant women traveling to the U.S. specifically for the purpose of giving birth" to get U.S. passports for their children.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Clerks

The New York Times reports that liberal and conservative justices are increasingly picking like-minded clerks. Why are clerks -- who have only recently graduated from law school -- so important?

“The reason why the public thinks so much of the justices,” said Justice Louis D. Brandeis, who served from 1916 to 1939, “is that they are almost the only people in Washington who do their own work.”

These days, respect for the court must be grounded on other factors. Opinion writing is largely delegated to clerks, and Chief Justice Rehnquist candidly acknowledged that the justices’ chambers were “a collection of nine autonomous opinion-writing bureaus.”

With the departure of Justice Stevens, it appears that none of the justices routinely write first drafts of their opinions. Instead, they typically supervise and revise drafts produced by their clerks.

A few decades ago, the court decided 150 cases a term. That number has dropped by about half, meaning each justice must write about eight majority opinions a term. Yet the practice of entrusting much of the drafting to clerks remains entrenched.

“We have created an institutional situation where 26-year-olds are being given humongous legal authority in the actual wording of decisions, the actual compositional choices,” Professor Garrow said.

The justices forbid their current clerks to talk to the press, and most former clerks refuse to discuss the work they performed for living justices in any detail. But Artemus Ward and David L. Weiden received responses from 122 former clerks to a question concerning the drafting of opinions for their 2006 book “Sorcerers’ Apprentices.” Thirty percent of the clerks said their drafts had been issued without modification at least some of the time.

Reviewing the book in The New Republic, Judge Posner, a close student of the court, wrote that “probably more than half the written output of the court is clerk-authored.”

The trend toward polarization may not be good for deliberation. Like-minded clerks may end up reinforcing a justice's views instead of challenging them in a way that encourages deeper thought.

The article does overlook an important element of the story: the emergence of a network of conservative legal scholars, law students, and practicing attorneys. Steven Teles masterfully explains this development in The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Spoilers

Our chapter on political parties discusses the "spoiler effect" (pp. 319-320), by which third-party candidates may siphon votes from major-party candidates. Sometimes, major-party operatives deliberately encourage third-party candidates so as to damage their rivals.

The New York Times reports on a case in Arizona:

Mr. Pearcy and other drifters and homeless people were recruited onto the Green Party ballot by a Republican political operative who freely admits that their candidacies may siphon some support from the Democrats. Arizona’s Democratic Party has filed a formal complaint with local, state and federal prosecutors in an effort to have the candidates removed from the ballot, and the Green Party has urged its supporters to steer clear of the rogue candidates.

“These are people who are not serious and who were recruited as part of a cynical manipulation of the process,” said Paul Eckstein, a lawyer representing the Democrats. “They don’t know Green from red.”

But Steve May, the Republican operative who signed up some of the candidates along Mill Avenue, a bohemian commercial strip next to Arizona State University, insists that a real political movement has been stirred up that has nothing to do with subterfuge.

“Did I recruit candidates? Yes,” said Mr. May, who is himself a candidate for the State Legislature, on the Republican ticket. “Are they fake candidates? No way.”

To make his point, Mr. May went by Starbucks, the gathering spot of the Mill Rats, as the frequenters of Mill Avenue are known.

“Are you fake, Benjamin?” he yelled out to Mr. Pearcy, who cried out “No,” with an expletive attached.

The Detroit News reports on a case in Michigan:

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled today the controversial Tea Party group -- criticized as a Democratic ploy to siphon votes away from Republicans -- will not be on the November ballot.

"We are definitely pleased that the scam that was being perpetrated has been stopped," said John Pirich, an attorney for tea party groups around the state. "We also hope that the investigation into this activity proceeds as expeditiously as possible."

...

The ruling comes a day after The Detroit News reported links between Democrats and The Tea Party group with 23 candidates that included the former stepmother of the former leader of the Oakland County Democratic Party being recruited to run as well as another candidate who had placed last in a 2008 Democratic primary.

The scandal over The Tea Party group forced the resignation of Mike McGuinness, the former Oakland County Democratic chairman, and the firing of Jason Bauer, an organizer for the county Democrats who has been accused of notarizing many of the nominations.


The United States as a Religious Outlier

In our chapter on civic culture (p. 134), we note that United States is unusual for being both rich and religious. New Gallup data confirm the point:

Gallup surveys in 114 countries in 2009 show that religion continues to play an important role in many people's lives worldwide. The global median proportion of adults who say religion is an important part of their daily lives is 84%, unchanged from what Gallup has found in other years. In 10 countries and areas, at least 98% say religion is important in their daily lives.

Each of the most religious countries is relatively poor, with a per-capita GDP below $5,000. This reflects the strong relationship between a country's socioeconomic status and the religiosity of its residents. In the world's poorest countries -- those with average per-capita incomes of $2,000 or lower -- the median proportion who say religion is important in their daily lives is 95%. In contrast, the median for the richest countries -- those with average per-capita incomes higher than $25,000 -- is 47%.

The United States is one of the rich countries that bucks the trend. About two-thirds of Americans -- 65% -- say religion is important in their daily lives. Among high-income countries, only Italians, Greeks, Singaporeans, and residents of the oil-rich Persian Gulf states are more likely to say religion is important.

Most high-income countries are further down the religiosity spectrum. In 10 countries, no more than 34% of residents say religion is an important part of their daily lives. Six of those are developed countries in Europe and Asia with per-capita incomes greater than $25,000.

In the New York Times, Charles Blow makes the point graphically:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lobbyist Contributions

In a recent piece in Vanity Fair, Todd Purdum wrote:
In the 1974 congressional elections, total spending on Senate and House races came to only $77 million. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, by 2008 the figure was $1.36 billion, with lobbyists providing a significant amount.
The accuracy of the second sentence depends on the meaning of "significant." The Center for Responsive Politics calculates that lobbyists gave $36.6 million in 2008 -- a fair sum, but only 2.7 percent of total spending.

Interest Groups and Politicians' Charities

In our chapter on interest groups, we discuss how charitable giving can be a shrewd way to a lawmaker's heart (pp. 287-288). The New York Times reports that the practice persists:
A review by The New York Times of federal tax records and House and Senate disclosure reports found at least two dozen charities that lawmakers or their families helped create or run that routinely accept donations from businesses seeking to influence them. The sponsors — AT&T, Chevron, General Dynamics, Morgan Stanley, Eli Lilly and dozens of others — contribute millions of dollars annually in gifts ranging from token amounts to a check for $5 million.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Religious Advocacy

In a paper at the annual conference of the American Political Science Association, Allen Hertzke reports on a forthcoming Pew Forum study that confirms a major theme of our textbook: the significant role of religion in American public life:
Beginning in 1950, periodic studies reported on aspects of the ―growing‖ church lobby in Washington (Ebersole 1951), (Adams 1970), (Hertzke 1988), (Weber and Jones (1994), (Hofrenning 1995). The Pew Forum study builds on these works by providing the first systematic documentation of the growth over time in the number of groups, and amassing a data base on the characteristics, size, and issue concerns of the current advocacy organizations. This investigation revealed an advocacy explosion that began in the 1970s and accelerated through this decade. Today, over 200 national religious groups maintain offices in the Washington DC metro area and engage in public policy advocacy, at least part of the time. This number represents a five-fold increase since 1970. While secular lobbying activity in Washington has exploded during this time period, especially in the sheer number of registered lobbyists and amount of money spent, the growth in the number of religious groups has even outpaced the growth in the number of other lobbying organizations (Berry and Wilcox 2007, Chapter 2). Religious interests appear to have disproportionately established Washington offices as the means of public policy advocacy, rather than rely on the lobby firms that have grown and proliferated.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Non-King Quotation on the Rug

Jamie Stiehm writes in The Washington Post:

A mistake has been made in the Oval Office makeover that goes beyond the beige.

President Obama's new presidential rug seemed beyond reproach, with quotations from Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. woven along its curved edge.

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." According media reports, this quote keeping Obama company on his wheat-colored carpet is from King.

Except it's not a King quote. The words belong to a long-gone Bostonian champion of social progress. His roots in the republic ran so deep that his grandfather commanded the Minutemen at the Battle of Lexington.

For the record, Theodore Parker is your man, President Obama. Unless you're fascinated by antebellum American reformers, you may not know of the lyrically gifted Parker, an abolitionist, Unitarian minister and Transcendentalist thinker who foresaw the end of slavery, though he did not live to see emancipation. He died at age 49 in 1860, on the eve of the Civil War.

Public Religion and Civic Virtue

Our textbook discusses the importance of civic virtue. In a paper at the annual conference of the American Political Science Association, Christie Maloyed of Texas A&M University links the concept to public religion. From the abstract:
Recent debates concerning the reinvigoration of civic engagement and civics education have often looked to the American founding era to support the idea that civic virtue is necessary for the maintenance of a healthy, liberal democracy. Modern debates, however, often fail to consider the degree to which civic virtue has been historically founded in religion. In this paper, I examine the ways in which the idea of a public religion was used in the American founding era to support civic virtue while transcending the problems created by religious pluralism. Two of the most notable American commentators on the relationship between religion and virtue are the focus of this paper: Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine. Each of these thinkers advocates a form of public religion that highlights the virtues of charity, benevolence, and wisdom. This prescription for religion is distinct from a civil religion in that it both stresses the importance of religious liberty and emphasizes the necessity of virtue in order to secure the blessing of providence. By comparing their views on the appropriate relationship between religion and politics, it is clear not only that religion influenced the civic tradition but also that these thinkers believed religion would help make individuals better citizens.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Citizenship, Knowledge, and Political Science

In a paper at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Robert Maranto and Dirk C. van Raemdonck of the University of Arkansas argue that political scientists should help citizens become more deliberative. An excerpt (full text here):
There is widespread agreement, backed by no small empirical support, that the American people do not know as much as is desirable to assure good decisions about what policies to support and what candidates to vote for... Civic education typically focuses on the structures of American government, matters such as the separation of powers and the Bill of Rights. These are very important, and there is evidence that colleges do a very poor job imparting this basic knowledge. Surveys indicate that at many elite colleges, first year students have greater civic knowledge than seniors (Intercollegiate Studies Association 2010). Yet we argue that basic knowledge about such matters as where public resources come from and go to, and what government can and cannot do, are even more important.

Accordingly, we propose that APSA begin a dialogue with former policy-makers to divine what they feel American voters need to know. In the absence of such data, we propose that to be good citizens students have three broad sets of knowledge about how government officials operate:

1. Where public resources go (chiefly to middle class entitlement spending).
2. How government actors make decisions in highly constrained, limited
information environments, and accordingly why with the best of intentions, they often make mistakes.
3. How elite and popular interpretations of past historical periods and events (the Depression, World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam) guide the language and thought of policy-makers (e.g., Jervis 1976).

Without this background knowledge, citizens cannot understand how their government (mostly) works. As it happens, our field is well positioned to teach undergraduates this basic knowledge they need to make good decisions about public life.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Religion, Citizenship, and the Armed Forces

At the 2010 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Lyman Smith of the University of South Florida and Charlotte E. Hunter of the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute are presenting a paper titled " Strategies of Patriotism and Citizenship: Religious Minorities and the All Volunteer Force."

An individual’s propensity to serve in the U.S. military is a function both of personal inclination and the support a person receives from his or her community of identity. Historically, marginalized/minority religious communities of identity in the U.S. have encouraged their best and brightest to pursue military service as one means by which the community can be recognized as worthy of juridical and sociopolitical citizenship and associated rights and privileges. Individuals who receive community encouragement and successfully pursue military service experience a measure of upward social mobility and inclusion, and in turn their service benefits the religious community – as well as the U.S. population at large – by casting the individual’s community of identity in good light, as a source of those who provide honorable service. This paper explores issues surrounding attainment of juridical and sociopolitical citizenship through military service, with a focus on members of minority religious communities, recognizing that just as globalization has altered marginalized/minority community dynamics and the advent of the All Volunteer Force has altered perspectives of military service, so too have the expectations of individuals, who belong to such communities changed with regard to military service. The challenge of retaining distinctive identity markers that set an individual at odds with the strict standards of uniformity demanded by the military system may dissuade communities of religious identity from supporting members who wish to serve, even to the point of creating disincentives to serve. In exploring a model of citizenship that may work best within a religiously and culturally diverse society – as opposed to the assimilationist model of citizenship currently espoused by the armed forces – the military may discover means of increasing representation in its ranks.