I was under the impression that substantial work by International Relations scholars, IPE scholars, Comparative Politics scholars and, gasp, even Americanists, aims at saving lives, increasing competitiveness and understanding democratic governance. Perhaps I am reading the wrong journals and looking at the wrong blogs. Would I rather see funding for a field experiment trying to understand how to get rebels to lay down their arms or would I rather see a new widget developed to make my leisure time more productive? Basic research comes in all forms. As a discipline we need to better inform the mass public (and apparently our political leaders) of what it is we know.
I sure hope that the discipline that studies politics can figure out a better strategy to wage in this campaign than writing letters to your congressman……
The sensible solution for political scientists would be to form an organization that gets involved in elections and lobbies the government. If firefighters, police, and teachers can do it, why not political scientists?
Indeed, where the heck is APSA in this? Back in the old days when I was an environmental activist. Rule #1 was that petitions were a complete waste of time (other than making your membership feel good), and Rule #2 was that letters generated by simply following a template were almost as great a waste of time. Yet that seems to be the gist of all of the suggestions. Seems like the defenders have simply gotten worn down and sooner or later Coburn and Flake will prevail.
The astronomers and physicists have managed to cadge about $365-million in NSF funding ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LIGO) — which would fund the NSF political science program until about 2050 — for this
which I also doubt is going to do much to cure cancer. Somehow methinks money is not really at issue here.