American Politics 2015: Looking Forward
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2015
Michael Barone is Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner and a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor, and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.
Along with being the principal co-author, of The Almanac of American Politics, first published in 1971 with new editions appearing every two years, Barone is also the author or co-author of another six books. They are Our Country: The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan (1990), State Legislative Elections: Voting Patterns and Demographics (1997), The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again (2001), Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Competition for the Nation’s Future (2004), Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America’s Founding Fathers (2007), and Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and its Politics (2013).
Barone has written for many publications, including U.S. News and World Report, The Economist, The New York Times, The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, National Review,The American Spectator, American Enterprise, The Times Literary Supplement, and The Daily Telegraph of London.
Barone grew up in Detroit and Birmingham, Michigan. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.
NEIL RUIZ, GIOVANNI PERI, TIMOTHY KANE, ERIC HELLAND, moderator
MIKE MURPHY, PETER SKERRY, HEATHER WILLIAMS, KEN MILLER, moderator
Dreier Roundtable: Immigration Policy for the 21st Century
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2014
In collaboration with the Brookings Institution, Claremont McKenna College’s new Dreier Roundtable hosted its inaugural conference on campus on Friday, November 7. Titled “Immigration Policy for the 21st Century,” the Roundtable brought together renowned policy experts, academics, and journalists to discuss immigration reform in the changing political and economic landscape of the 21st century. Rep. David Dreier, former Chairman of the House Rules Committee and honorary Chairman of the Dreier Roundtable, described the forum as a part of CMC’s greater mission of fostering leadership in business, government, and the professions. Specifically, The Roundtable’s goal is to “address public policy questions and make recommendations to how we will resolve them.”
The conference began with a panel discussion examining the economics of immigration reform. Eric Helland—CMC Professor of Economics, Rose Institute Faculty Fellow, and Co-Director of the Dreier Roundtable, moderated the discussion. Neil Ruiz from the Brookings Institution, Giovanni Peri, Professor of Economics at University of California at Davis, and Timothy Kane from the Hoover Institution all served on the panel. All agreed that the United States must provide an easier path for high-skilled immigrants to work in the United States. This would not only improve the economy through innovation and global trade, but also provide a supply of workers in the STEM fields, addressing a labor supply shortage in the U.S. tech and science industry. In terms of to low-skilled workers, Peri noted the importance of recognizing that immigrants provide demand for the economy, as well as supply. They help grow our economy in the long run rather than just taking jobs from native workers. There was consensus at the end of the panel that the United States should implement simpler policies to lower work barriers between countries.
Ken Miller, CMC Associate Professor of Government, Associate Director of the Rose Institute, and Co-Director of the Dreier Roundtable, moderated the politics panel. It featured panelists Mike Murphy, a renowned Republican political consultant and political media expert, Peter Skerry, Professor of Political Science at Boston College (and former CMC faculty), and Heather Williams, Associate Professor of Politics at Pomona College. The panelists discussed questions of how President Obama should move forward on immigration policy, particularly in light of recent Republican gains in Congress in the 2014 midterm elections. Mike Murphy explained that it would be wise for the President to work with the Republican leaders of Congress rather than issuing an executive order, for an executive order would be “far less legitimate.” The panelists agreed that there must be a political consensus to legalize immigrants, with Murphy and Skerry speaking to the importance of first focusing on legal status rather than a path to citizenship.
The Dreier Roundtable concluded with a luncheon and panel discussion, moderated by William Antholis from the Brookings Institution, at the Athenaeum. Rep. Dreier, Jacob Goldstein from National Public Radio, Mike Murphy, and Peter Skerry discussed issues such as border security, E-Verify, and the positive and negative impacts of immigrants on American workers.
Moving forward, Rep. Dreier’s vision for the Dreier Roundtable is to continue conversations on issues beyond immigration, such as international trade, development of democratic institutions, and flow of information for commercial purposes. He believes the Dreier Roundtable initiative “demonstrates how Claremont McKenna is bringing the full spectrum of insightful opinions to our students’ world.”
GOVERNOR STEVE BULLOCK
Public Service, Integrity, and the problem of “Dark Money.”
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2014
On October 28, 2014, Montana Governor Steve Bullock paid a special visit to the Rose Institute to meet with students and discuss issues concerning Montana and state government. Topics ranged from tax policy, to life on the campaign trail, to the state budget.
To read more about Governor Bullock’s visit to CMC, check out coverage of his talk at the Athenaeum on Public Service, Integrity, and the problem of “Dark Money.”
To watch the full talk, go here!
JOSEPH BESSETTE, moderator
Three Strikes Conference
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2014
On October 24 the Rose Institute of State and Local Government hosted a conference on California’s Three Strikes law. The conference reviewed the history and effects of the controversial law and also featured a debate on Proposition 47, which reclassifies certain crimes as misdemeanors and thus further narrows the scope of Three Strikes.
The event began with Mike Reynolds, author of California’s Three Strikes Law, and Professor Jennifer Walsh of Azusa Pacific University reviewing the history of the law and the events leading to its enactment. Mr. Reynolds started the session with a short video from the program 60 Minutes. It detailed how the murder of his daughter, Kimber, by someone who had been in and out of prison many times, led him to propose the harshest sentencing law in the state. According to Reynolds, “Thirty years ago, the most severe California penalty for first degree murder was 16 years.” Three Strikes, which passed twenty years ago as both an emergency bill and an initiative, was designed to counter criminal recidivism. Mr. Reynolds referred to it as a success with specific mention to the second strike as being the most effective. Professor Walsh agreed and noted that “Three-Strikers are only 6 percent of inmates in California” and that by “1993 to 1995, almost half of the states passed a Three Strikes law.”
Continuing the discussion of criminal sentencing, Professor Joseph Bessette of Claremont McKenna College moderated a debate over the Proposition 47 initiative. Deputy Los Angeles County Public Defender Brent Tufeld ’82 spoke first in support of the initiative. Mike Hestrin, recently elected as the Riverside County District Attorney, spoke in opposition.
Tufeld led by asserting that “the reason for Proposition 47 is to lower penalties for charges seen as less serious in order to reduce jail overcrowding.” He went on to say that the cost of incarcerating “less serious” offenders is extremely high, and that “courts and [the] threat of jail sentences” do very little in helping drug offenders beat addiction. Tufeld ended by stating that Proposition 47 is not perfect, but the aims are on the right path. Mike Hestrin began by reinforcing the necessity of Three Strikes and warned against the “pendulum swing” that Proposition 47 is part of. Specifically, Hestrin disagreed with reducing the penalty for possession of drugs like heroin and methamphetamine and brought up the reduced charge of theft of a firearm as another flaw in the initiative.
Professor Bessette led a brief question and answer period to conclude the discussion.
Missed the conference? Watch it here:
BOB STERN AND TONY QUINN
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2014
Just in time for the 2014 election on November 4, the Rose Institute of State and Local Government hosted two experts on California politics to discuss the six measures on the ballot. Bob Stern is the co-founder of the Center of Governmental Studies, and Tony Quinn is the co-editor of the California Target Book. The event, titled California’s Choices: 2014 Ballot Initiatives, is part of a larger effort, including the recently completed Video Voter Series, which seeks to educate California voters about the six measures on this year’s ballot.
After viewing the Video Voter segment addressing each ballot measure, the panel, moderated by Associate Director of the Rose Institute Dr. Ken Miller, provided further insight on each measure. The measures range from Indian Tribal gaming rights to a $7 billion bond to finance water conservation and infrastructure. Both Stern and Quinn agreed that they expected the majority of the measures on the ballot to fail due to a stronger conservative streak in California ballot initiative history, as well as the increased power of negative ads and spending. About the initiative and referendum process, however, Stern and Quinn affirmed their support of the direct democracy, with Stern calling the initiative process a “fourth branch of state government.”
A prediction shared by the panel is the passage of both Proposition 1, the $7 billion bond measure for water resources, and Proposition 2, a constitutional amendment which strengthens the state’s rainy day fund. Both propositions passed by wide margins in the state legislature and, according to Stern, work to address timely issues that will make passage by the voters more likely.
Proposition 47, a citizen initiative which reclassifies certain non-violent felonies to misdemeanors, is likely to be the most closely contested measure on the ballot. According to Quinn, the legislature prefers that the voters deal with this subject, rather than taking it up in the legislature, because they are weary of appearing “soft on crime” or “anti-police.” Whichever way the ballot initiatives play out, the only certain thing is that the voters who get out and vote on November 4 will determine the outcome.
Education and State Budgeting
MONDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2014
This Monday, October 13th, the Rose Institute welcomes Dr. Nancy McCallin to Claremont McKenna College. The talk is co-sponsored by the Kravis Leadership Institute. A leader in public education, Dr. McCallin serves as the President of the Colorado Community College System, which encompasses 13 state colleges and over 159,000 students. During her time as President, Dr. McCallin has implemented a redesign of the CCCS remedial education program, focusing on accurate course placement and individual attention for students.
She is a member of the board of the American Council on Education and the Colorado State Governor’s Education Leadership Council, and was awarded the Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished State Community College Director Award in 2012. Dr. McCallin also has extensive budget policy and economic analysis experience, having served as chief economist for the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly, and later as the executive director of the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting, where she was responsible for Colorado’s $13 billion budget. Outside of budgetary or education issues, she has worked on issues such as energy, economic development, and Colorado Supreme Court nominations.
4 Lessons on Leadership
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2014
Tom Leppert, currently the CEO of Kaplan, Inc., and formerly the mayor of Dallas, spoke at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum on Wednesday, September 25, 2014. Leppert has a long history of leadership in both the private and public spheres. In the private sphere, he has led companies in several industries, notably construction. His nine years as the head of the Turner Corporation, the nation’s largest general construction company, is considered enormously successful. In the public sphere, he was mayor of Dallas from 2007 to 2011, and was a White House Fellows during the 1980s.
The focus of Leppert’s talk was on the four lessons on leadership he has learned throughout his career. The first of these was to never feel comfortable. He noted that during his career, he would frequently feel overwhelmed, but never intimidated. Only in this environment can people learn a new perspective – a key for leadership. The second was to be leery of straight lines. Following his tenure at McKinsey, a major accounting firm, he became a White House Fellow. Though diverging from a typical career path for his industry, he gained two important things: a new environment to explore and a much broadened base of experience which made him more valuable when he returned to McKinsey. Again, the key was a different perspective. The third was to have a moral compass – know what is worth compromising on and what principles are sacrosanct. At various times in his career, Leppert faced moral trials that tested this sense. He always chose to do do the right thing, though it was often harder in the short-term than some alternatives. The last lesson was to get involved in the community. Besides being a good citizen, this also leads to an increased awareness of the way the rest of the world lives.
To Leppert, the key to leadership is in gaining new perspectives. Leaders do not listen to themselves, but to those around them. Only then will they gain enough information to make the correct decision. During the question and answer session, he joked that he lowered the average IQ of meetings with his staff. By surrounding himself with more intelligent people, he is better able to run any organization he is in, private or public. In closing, he urged the audience to find something they are passionate about and pursue it as much as possible.
Mr. Leppert’s talk was sponsored by the Kravis Leadership Institute, the Robert Day School, and the Rose Institute of State and Local Government.
What’s at Stake in the Midterm Elections?
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2014
On Tuesday, September 23, Rose Institute Faculty Fellow Jack Pitney gave a talk at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum entitled “What’s at Stake in the Midterm Elections?” Pitney, who has been at Claremont McKenna College since 1986, has become one of the most quoted government professors in the entire nation. His quotes and articles can be found in numerous places, including the Washington Post, Politico, and The Christian Science Monitor.
Pitney began with an examination of the broad forces at work during the election. Historically, midterms have seen poor showings for the party holding the presidency. This year, it seems like that will be the case once again. Macroeconomic indicators frequently reported are improving, namely the unemployment rate, which is the lowest it has been during Obama’s presidency, and overall GDP. Nevertheless, many people do not see a healthy economy because labor force participation is the lowest it has been in decades, middle-class wealth has shrunk, and a large majority of the country believes the nation is headed on the wrong track. This creates strong headwinds for the Democratic Party in the fall.
While Pitney notes that the Republican Party is almost guaranteed to maintain control of the House, the Senate is a true toss-up. The Senate class up for reelection is from 2008, a banner year for Democrats, leaving many Democrats in vulnerable positions. Combined with broader forces, Pitney is leaning ever so slightly to the notion the GOP will win the Senate, but he would not be surprised if the Democrats kept the chamber. Looking forward, candidates from both parties are likely to be the recipients of ads, mostly negative, from both opposition candidates and outside sources.
STEVEN MALANGA AND CHUCK REED
Tough Choices for California: What Public Pension Liability Means for Your Future
THURSDAY, APRIL 27, 2014
State and local government pensions across the country are collectively underfunded by at least $1 trillion and the heavy burden of public pension obligations is a primary factor in the recent wave of municipal bankruptcies. In California, unfunded public pension liabilities are a cloud looming over not only the state budget, but also those of many local governments. Last year, Moody’s Investor Services placed 30 California cities on review for possible ratings downgrades. As pension obligations consume an increasing portion of public budgets, a shrinking share is left for services. Join us for a discussion of the public pension crisis and what it means for the future.
Steven Malanga is City Journal’s senior editor, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, and a former RealClearMarkets.com columnist. He is author of the recently published Shakedown: The Continuing Conspiracy Against the American Taxpayer, about the bankrupting of state and local governments by a new political powerhouse led by public-sector unions. He writes about the intersection of urban economies, business communities, and public policy. Prior to joining City Journal, Malanga was at Crain’s New York Business, first as managing editor and then executive editor, for fourteen years. In 1995, Malanga was a finalist for a Gerald Loeb Award for Excellence in Financial Journalism for the series “Nonprofits: New York’s new Tammany Hall,” which he co-authored. Malanga has also written articles on various topics for The Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, and other publications.
Chuck Reed was elected as the 64th Mayor of San José in 2006, after serving six years on the City Council as an independent voice for fiscal responsibility and reform. Since taking office, Mayor Reed has been committed to improving the quality of life in the city, boosting the public’s trust in local government, and eliminating the City’s structural budget deficit. He is one of the leading voices in California calling for public pension reform, fighting for reforms in San Jose and spearheading an effort for a state-wide ballot initiative. Mayor Reed attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and served in Thailand during the Vietnam War. He also received a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from Princeton University and graduated from Stanford Law School. After passing the bar, he worked as an attorney in San José handling environmental, employment, land use and real estate law, as well as commercial litigation.
California’s Budget and Choices for the Future
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2014
On January 9, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his proposed 2014-15 budget for the state. Recent increases in personal income tax revenues have improved the state’s budget conditions significantly and the $151 billion proposal reflects an increase in general fund spending of $11 billion. The proposed budget would continue California’s recent progress toward a firmer fiscal footing by paying down some of the state’s “wall of debt” and proposing a $2.3 billion reserve. While critics praise these measures they argue that the proposed budget does not do enough to address California’s massive pension liabilities. As Director of the California Department of Finance, Michael Cohen directs the development of Governor Brown’s budget. He will provide an overview of key budget decisions and discuss the outlook for California’s fiscal future.
Michael Cohen was appointed as Director of the California Department of Finance by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2013. He serves as the Governor’s chief fiscal policy advisor. Prior to becoming Director, he served as Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Finance from 2011 to 2013. In this capacity, Mr. Cohen was the department’s lead contact with the state Legislature on the state budget. From 1997 to 2010, Mr. Cohen worked at the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). While there, he served as a local government finance analyst, Director of State Administration, and Deputy Legislative Analyst.
Mr. Cohen earned a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School at the University of Texas and a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies from Stanford University.
Boston and Beyond: Homeland Security and the Hometown
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2013
The Boston Marathon bombings of last April brought renewed attention to the issue of terrorism within the United States. While federal authorities played an important role in breaking the case, state and local police were also crucial. As the former Governor of Pennsylvania and the first Secretary of the federal Department of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge is uniquely qualified to discuss the role of state and local governments in fighting terrorism. Governor Ridge will survey the relationship between them and the federal government, how that relationship has developed, and where it is headed.
Following the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, Tom Ridge became the first Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and, on January 24, 2003, became the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, serving until February 2005. The creation of the country’s 15th Cabinet Department marked the largest reorganization of government since the Truman administration and another call to service for the former soldier, congressman and governor of Pennsylvania. During his DHS tenure, Secretary Ridge worked with more than 180,000-plus employees from a combined 22 agencies to create an agency that facilitated the flow of people and goods, instituted layered security at air, land and seaports, developed a unified national response and recovery plan, protected critical infrastructure, integrated new technology and improved information sharing worldwide. Mr. Ridge previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives for six terms from 1983 to 1995, and was twice elected Governor of Pennsylvania, serving as the state’s 43rd governor from 1995 to 2001. Governor Ridge’s aggressive technology strategy helped fuel the state’s advances in economic development, education, health care and the environment.
Secretary Ridge is currently president and CEO of Ridge Global, an international security and risk management advisory firm, headquartered in Washington, DC. In March of this year, Secretary Ridge co-founded, with former White House cyber czar Howard Schmidt, the strategic advisory firm, Ridge Schmidt Cyber, an executive services firm that helps leaders in business and government navigate the increasing demands of cybersecurity.
KEN MILLER, moderator
The Voting Rights Act after Shelby County v. Holder
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19
In Shelby County v. Holder (2013), a sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. CMC Associate Professor of Government Ken Miller will moderate a discussion between Bruce Cain and Marguerite Leoni, two leading experts on the Voting Rights Act, on the history of the Act, the issues decided in this case, and the consequences of the court’s ruling for elections in the United States. Sponsored by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government.
Bruce E. Cain is a Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West. He received a B.A. from Bowdoin College (1970), a B Phil. from Oxford University (1972) as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University (1976). He previously taught at Caltech and U.C. Berkeley, where he served as Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies 1990-2007. He was elected the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and has won awards for his research (Richard F. Fenno Prize, 1988), teaching (Caltech 1988 and U.C. Berkeley 2003) and public service (Zale Award for Outstanding Achievement in Policy Research and Public Service, 2000).
Marguerite Leoni is a partner at Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni LLP, specializing in law and civil litigation relating to elections, redistricting and voting rights questions, school district reorganization law, campaign, government and initiative/referendum law including appellate practice and extraordinary writ proceedings. Ms. Leoni is a nationally renowned redistricting and voting rights expert with expertise in administrative preclearance practice under Section 5 of the Federal Voting Rights Act and Section 5 enforcement litigation. Ms. Leoni graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. She received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Ms. Leoni has been a guest lecturer on the Voting Rights Act at Hastings College of the Law and has spoken at numerous forums concerning voting rights and election issues.
The Rose Institute Board of Governors
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17
Henry Olsen, a lawyer by training, is the director of AEI’s National Research Initiative. In that capacity, he identifies leading academics and public intellectuals who work in an aspect of domestic public policy and recruits them to visit or write for AEI. Mr. Olsen studies and writes about the policy and political implications of long-term trends in social, economic, and political thought.