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The Personal Journey of a Political Insider
All the Way from Yoakum tells the story of the long, eventful life of a Jewish “good girl” from small-town Texas who became a remarkable woman of her time and a leading light in Houston and Texas politics. One of the founders of the modern Republican Party in Texas, Marjorie Meyer Arsht served as a state party committeewoman and was the first Jewish woman to run as a Republican for the state legislature. Becoming active in politics in the 1950s, she was closely involved in the early career of George H. W. Bush. A member of the prominent Texas family (Meyer, Cohen) that owned Foley Brothers department store and gave Cohen House to Rice University, she recalls the contentious mid-century division in the Jewish community over the issue of Zionism that split congregations and turned friends into bitter antagonists. Formerly president of the Temple Beth Israel Sisterhood, Arsht served as a national spokesperson for a major American anti-Zionist organization. When she turned seventy, Arsht was working as a speechwriter and high-level assistant in the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington while also serving as a regent of Texas Southern University, where she spearheaded a number of important reforms. In addition, she continued to run the small, independent energy development and investment company founded by her late husband. From her childhood as a member of one of the few Jewish families in small-town Yoakum, Texas, to her years of political activism and social involvement, she offers a moving account of an indomitable spirit, one that will provide both inspiration and an understanding of how the Republican Party came to be the dominant force in Texas politics.
How America Lost the Third World
In Alliance Curse, Hilton Root illustrates that recent U.S. foreign policy is too often misguided, resulting in misdirected foreign aid and alliances that stunt political and economic development among partner regimes, leaving America on the wrong side of change. Many alliances with third world dictators, ostensibly of mutual benefit, reduce incentives to govern for prosperity and produce instead political and social instability and economic failure. Yet again, in the war on terror and in the name of preserving global stability, America is backing authoritarian regimes that practice repression and plunder. It is as if the cold war never ended. While espousing freedom and democracy, the U.S. contradicts itself by aiding governments that do not share those values. In addition to undercutting its own stated goal of promoting freedom, America makes the developing world even more wary of its intentions. Yes, the democracy we preach arouses aspirations and attracts immigrants, but those same individuals become our sternest critics; having learned to admire American values, they end up deploring U.S. policies toward their own countries. Long-term U.S. security is jeopardized by a legacy of resentment and distrust. A lliance Curse proposes an analytical foundation for national security that challenges long-held assumptions about foreign affairs. It questions the wisdom of diplomacy that depends on questionable linkages or outdated suppositions. The end of the Soviet Union did not portend the demise of communism, for example. Democracy and socialism are not incompatible systems. Promoting democracy by linking it with free trade risks overemphasizing the latter goal at the expense of the former. The growing tendency to play China against India in an effort to retain American global supremacy will hamper relations with both an intolerable situation in today's interdependent world. Root buttresses his analysis with case studies of American foreign policy toward developing countries (e.g., Vietnam), efforts at state building, and nations growing in importance, such as China. He concludes with a series of recommendations designed to close the gap between security and economic development.
Strategic Behavior and the Emergence of New Political Parties in Western Democracies
New political parties have regularly appeared in developed democracies around the world. In some countries issues focusing on the environment, immigration, economic decline, and regional concerns have been brought to the forefront by new political parties. In other countries these issues have been addressed by established parties, and new issue-driven parties have failed to form. Most current research is unable to explain why under certain circumstances new issues or neglected old ones lead to the formation of new parties. Based on a novel theoretical framework, this study demonstrates the crucial interplay between established parties and possible newcomers to explain the emergence of new political parties. Deriving stable hypotheses from a simple theoretical model, the book proceeds to a study of party formation in twenty-two developed democracies. New or neglected issues still appear as a driving force in explaining the emergence of new parties, but their effect is partially mediated by institutional factors, such as access to the ballot, public support for parties, and the electoral system. The hypotheses in part support existing theoretical work, but in part present new insights. The theoretical model also pinpoints problems of research design that are hardly addressed in the comparative literature on new political parties. These insights from the theoretical model lead to empirical tests that improve on those employed in the literature and allow for a much-enhanced understanding of the formation and the success of new parties. Simon Hug is Lecturer in Political Science, University of Geneva.
Lessons from a Life of Service
Ambassador Ortiz's memoir is as fascinating as has been his career over four decades in the United States Foreign Service. An Air Force veteran of World War II, Ambassador Ortiz's first assignments were in the Middle East and Ethiopia. His most significant diplomatic work was done in Latin America. There, he took on missions in Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, the Caribbean, Panama, Guatemala, and Argentina. He held posts in Washington, D. C. at the very center of U.S. power.
Legacies of the George W. Bush Presidency
The presidency of George W. Bush is notable for the grand scale of its ambitions, the controversy that these ambitions generated, and the risks he regularly courted in the spheres of politics, economics, and foreign policy. Bush's ultimate goal was indeed ambitious: the completion of the conservative “regime change” first heralded by the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. But ironically this effort sewed the very discord that ultimately took root and emerged to frustrate Bush's plans, and may even have begun to unravel aspects of the Reagan revolution he sought to institutionalize. Politically, the Bush White House sought the entrenchment of consistent Republican electoral majorities. Institutionally, the Bush administration sought to preserve control of Congress by maintaining reliable partisan Republican majorities, and to influence the federal courts with a steady stream of conservative judicial appointees. The administration also sought increased autonomy over the executive branch by the aggressive use of executive orders and bureaucratic reorganizations in response to 9/11. Many of these efforts were at least partially successful. But ultimately the fate of the Bush presidency was tied to its greatest single gamble, the Iraq War. The flawed prosecution of that conflict, combined with other White House management failures and finally a slumping economy, left Bush and the Republican Party deeply unpopular and the victim of strong electoral reversals in 2006 and the election victory of Barack Obama in 2008. The American public had turned against the Bush agenda in great part because of the negative outcomes resulting from the administration's pursuit of that agenda. This book assembles prominent presidential scholars to measure the trajectory of Bush's aspirations, his accomplishments, and his failures. By examining presidential leadership, popular politics and policymaking in this context, the contributors begin the work of understanding the unique historical legacy of the Bush presidency.
The Politics of Congressional Elections Across Time
In Ambition, Competition, and Electoral Reform, Jamie L. Carson and Jason M. Roberts present an original study of U.S. congressional elections and electoral institutions for 1872-1944 from a contemporary political science perspective. Using data on late
Political Power and the Collapse of Citizenship
Most Americans admire the determination and drive of artists, athletes, and CEOs, but they seem to despise similar ambition in their elected officials. The structure of political representation and the separation of powers detailed in the United States Constitution were intended to restrain self-interested ambition. Because not all citizens have a desire to rule, republican democracies must choose leaders from pools of ambitious candidates while trying to prevent those same people from exploiting public power to dominate the less ambitious.
Ambition in America: Political Power and the Collapse of Citizenship is an engaging examination of this rarely studied yet significant phenomenon. Author Jeffrey A. Becker explores how American political institutions have sought to guide, inspire, and constrain citizens' ambitions to power. Detailing the Puritans' government by "moral community," the Founders' attempts to curtail ambition, the influence of Jacksonian populism, and twentieth-century party politics, Becker presents an unfolding drama that culminates in a spirited discussion of the deficiencies in the current political system.This groundbreaking work reassesses the value and role of ambition in politics in order to identify the beliefs and practices that threaten self-government, as well as those that can strengthen democratic politics.
Evangelicals and the Politics of Racial Healing
Over the past three decades, American evangelical Christians have undergone unexpected, progressive shifts in the area of race relations, culminating in a national movement that advocates racial integration and equality in evangelical communities. The movement, which seeks to build cross-racial relationships among evangelicals, has meant challenging well-established paradigms of church growth that built many megachurch empires. While evangelical racial change (ERC) efforts have never been easy and their reception has been mixed, they have produced meaningful transformation in religious communities. Although the movement as a whole encompasses a broad range of political views, many participants are interested in addressing race-related political issues that impact their members, such as immigration, law enforcement, and public education policy.
Ambivalent Miracles traces the rise and ongoing evolution of evangelical racial change efforts within the historical, political, and cultural contexts that have shaped them. Nancy D. Wadsworth argues that the stunning breakthroughs this movement has achieved, its curious political ambivalence, and its internal tensions are products of a complex cultural politics constructed at the intersection of U.S. racial and religious history and the meaning-making practices of conservative evangelicalism. Employing methods from the emerging field of political ethnography, Wadsworth draws from a decade’s worth of interviews and participant observation in ERC settings, textual analysis, and survey research, as well as a three-year case study, to provide the first exhaustive treatment of ERC efforts in political science.