Steve Benen recently posted a piece titled “Coburn 1, Political Scientists 0.” It is catchy, but it is wrong. While US legislators do not attack federally funded social science annually, it is a recurring phenomenon in American political life (e.g., the 2007 attack on Archeology over funding to study Incan khipu).
Below is a partial list of the US legislators who have introduced amendments to eliminate funding for Political Science at NSF (in Hutchison’s case, all of Social Science). I will try to fill the list in, so please comment below if you know of legislators I have missed. As I do not study American politics, the opportunity cost to me scouring the record to determine how many amendments to defund the Political Science program have been proposed, and failed, is sufficiently high that I report the score as “N much greater than 1” to 1.
Senator Tom Coburn (R), OK, 2004-
Representative Jeff Flake (R), AZ, 2001-
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), TX, 1993-2012
Representative Bill Clay (D), MO, 1968-2000
Folks unfamiliar with Representative Clay’s 1998 attack may want to read Sandy Maisel & Walt Stone’s account of their experience (“The Politics of Government-Funded Research: Notes from the Experience of the Candidate Emergence Study“; gated).
In closing, because directing NSF’s Political Science program is a thankless job, I wish to publicly thank Frank Scioli, John McIver, Rick Wilson, Marianne Stewart, Jim Granato, Phil Paolino, Brian Schaffner, Paul Wahlbeck, Brian Humes, Eric Herron, whomever else I am forgetting (apologies!), and all the support staff and SBES (or what have you) Directors who have done the hard work to make the Political Science program at NSF a success during the 2+ decades I have been in the profession.