Union University

Union University Department of Political Science

Department of Political Science



Hunter Baker, Associate Dean of Arts & Science

Bush 3.0

Mar 13, 2015 - The year was 1994 and a seemingly impossible victory was taking shape. Republicans were poised to win both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives where they had been locked out of control for decades. While Congress and the Contract with America (publicized viaTV Guide!) were the main attractions leading up to the election, there were some notable...read more

Reject Cancerous Cynicism

Jun 11, 2014 - As I drove in to work I heard a media personality offering his views on life, the universe, and everything. On this day he dwelt at length on the issue of social responsibility. Do you think a certain pillar of the community is a good and honest man? Not so fast, this man objected. What if it turns out that he has engaged in insider trading? And did you criticize Tiger Woods for marital infidelity? How do you know that your favorite athlete is not likewise involved in such activities or worse? Do you ...read more

Libertarian Populist Revolution About Power

Aug 16, 2013 - The Republican Party has been in an identity crisis since the Cold War. Its old fusion of national defense, social conservatism and free markets doesn’t have the power it once did, mainly because we no longer spend every day in dread of a nuclear holocaust, and our military engagements since that time have been an occasion for disillusionment. Anti-terrorism has not proved to be the force for political cohesion that anti-communism once was. In the face of Barack Obama’s promotion of a state-mediated equality predicated on economic redistribution, conservatives have struggled to give a better answer than Mitt Romney’s private (but ...read more

A Missing Ingredient in Learning

Jun 21, 2013 - In many ways, we are living in the golden age of education. If even a very poor person wants to learn something, he has the ability to do so more cheaply, easily and more quickly than ever before. As I engaged in some learning of my own recently, however, I discovered that access may not be the panacea many believed it would be. There are significant challenges beyond the question of access which must be addressed. I recently had the experience of walking around a local public park while listening to classroom lectures on the history of European monarchy from a professor at Yale. These lectures appeared to be unedited recordings directly from some ...read more

Jury Duty a Lesson in Civics

Mar 8, 2013 - I have been tapped for jury duty in Madison County. Recently, I joined 70-80 other citizens in a courtroom. A very polite judge provided our orientation and explained that for the next two months the state of Tennessee would have first claim on our time. After the orientation, the judge met with many individuals, including me, who petitioned for particular days off during the two months because of plans already made or other special circumstances. When it was my turn to speak to the judge, he treated me with respect and granted my request. I walked out of the courtroom, down the stairs, and got into my car. By the time I sat down and grabbed the steering wheel, my hands were sha...read more

Create a Path to Work

Feb 1, 2013 - Immigration is heating up again as a political issue with the second-term president and others discussing possible answers to the low-level chaos which currently characterizes the movement of workers between Mexico and the United States.The basic outlines of plans to address the problem shift to fit familiar lines of argument. I would like to suggest a novel approach which changes the nature of the debate to reduce the role of citizenship. To state the matter very succinctly, we should deal with immigration in the context of the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA provided for the free movement of goods across the border. The best way to handle the immigration problem is ...read more

Explaining Romney's Loss

Nov 16, 2012 - Mitt Romney ran an excellent campaign. I congratualte him in the hard work of leadership rather than living it up no some island paradise. He is an American hero. However, he was the wrong person to run in a year when the single greatest challenge Republicans could make to the president rested on the repeal of Obamacare. Anti-Obamacare sentiment was enough to elect Scott Brown in Massachusetts when voters thought it might stop the legisla...read more

Integrity Matters

Aug 3, 2012 - Several years ago, I found myself caught in the middle of a dispute between two older men to whom I had to answer in our organization. There was a controversy in the office. Neither of them was sure about how to relate to the other. I was friends with both. One day, my cell phone rang. To my surprise, one of the two senior figures was calling me. When I answered, he wanted to know one thing about the other man. He asked me, “What kind of man is he? Does he have a core?” I wasn’t sure what he meant, so I asked for clarification. “You know what I mean,” he said. “Does he have integrity? Does he believe in any principles? Or does he just change his mind to...read more

Rick v Delegate Math

Mar 25, 2012 - The former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had a good night on Super Tuesday with a win here in Tennessee (and in Madison County). He had a better one on March 13, as he walked away with wins in both Alabama and Mississippi. Gov. Mitt Romney ended up getting swept in his self-proclaimed “away” games. The losses hurt because of expectations that are hard for Romney’s team to manage. Some observers saw the potential in poll numbers for Romney to win these southern states and hungered for a decisive blow that could have freed Romney to turn his attention to President Obama full-time. A couple of third-place finishes are a deflating alternative. Never mind th...read more

Santorum Gets His Chance

Jan 6, 2012 - On Wednesday morning, I turned on the television to see the final results of the Iowa caucuses. When the screen revealed that Rick Santorum had nearly tied Mitt Romney for first place, my wife moaned in near despair, "Who is Rick Santorum?" There are many Americans who share her plight. Anyone who is not a political junkie and has tried to follow the Republican Party nominating contest could scarcely be faulted for protesting the difficulty of doing so. Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry (previously a name prominent only in Texas) and Herman Cain have all waxed and waned. When Newt Gingrich rocketed into the lead (only to fall back like the others), many probably...read more

The Duty of the American Voter

Nov 26, 2011 - It has been a bad week in American politics.The Congressional supercommittee has failed to find the combination of spending cuts and revenue increases needed to hit the targets agreed to last summer in exchange for relaxing the debt limit. There are some fundamental tasks governments must accomplish. One of those is that they must fund their activities.In very recent memory we have gone from being a nation routinely running deficits in the low hundreds of billions to one racking up nearly $2 trillion worth of debt annually.The perennial, low grade, nagging...read more

The Significance of Herman Cain

Oct 24, 2011 - The Republican presidential field has been deeply unsettled as one candidate after the other moves forward to challenge Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. Michelle Bachmann charged forward only to fall back in the pro-Perry wave. Perry stumbled badly in his first debates and lost points in the polls. As of this writing, the African-American business executive and media personality Herman Cain has surged into contention. Cain's jump into the front rank of contenders is surprising. He has not held a political office, and he lost his contest for the Republican senatorial nomination in Georgia in 2004. The man who was something of a novelty candidate with an interesting tax plan has sudden...read more

Reviewing the Bidding on the GOP

Sep 22, 2011 - Rick Perry, governor of Texas, has now participated in two debates with his fellow nomination seekers after announcing his campaign and instantly zooming to the top of the polls.Was he THAT famous before making his announcement?Had his book Fed Up! been a monster best-seller?The answer to both questions is no, so why did he rise?More important, how is he handling his front-runner status? It seemed that Mitt Romney would cruise to the nomination.Mitch Daniels was out.Tim Pawlenty failed to catch fire and quit the race.Romney had the...read more

Ayn Rand and Modern Politics

Apr 29, 2011 - Much note has been taken recently, especially on the Internet, of the late novelist Ayn Rand's influence on contemporary politicians and economists. Rand's most prominent novels are "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead," the latter of which was the basis of a 1947 movie starring Gary Cooper. According to Wikipedia, a 1991 survey for the Book-of-the-Month Club ranked "Atlas Shrugged" as the most influential book in the respondents' lives second only to the Bible. Prominent among Rand's political admirers are Paul Ryan (author of the Republican 2012 budget proposal), Rand Paul, Ron Paul and Alan Greenspan. Greenspan was a member of Rand's inner circle of frie...read more

President Obama's Moment

Feb 18, 2011 - Barack Obama has not been elected to the presidency he wanted. The president rose to prominence in an America that was embroiled in controversial wars, but was otherwise growing and prosperous. Dark clouds loomed, but we'd been hearing words like "subprime lending crisis" for some time, and the bomb never seemed to go off. read more

Assuming the Worst Harms Our System

Jan 14, 2011 - On Jan. 8, a young man drew his pistol and proceeded to shoot into a crowd of people gathered for a constituent meeting with their congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. He wounded many of the attendees and killed six. As of this writing, Giffords is likely to survive, but it is not a certainty. In the immediate aftershock, political partisans, especially those operating primarily on the Internet, hurried to place blame on conservatives (especially Sarah Palin) for the crime. The situation recalls the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. When he was murdered, many rushed to judgment and assumed that some sort of conservative extremist had fired the shots. In tru...read more

Voters Demand Restraint

Nov 5, 2010 - This week, politicians, political consultants, lobbyists, reporters, media analysts and academics across the land are reviewing election results. They are trying to decipher the message sent by the American electorate on Tuesday. read more

Is Obama Facing Racism?

Oct 1, 2010 - Barack Obama achieved more than simply becoming the first African-American president back in 2008. He riveted the nation with his speeches and the tenor of his campaign. When he took office, even many who strongly opposed him wished him well as he enjoyed massive approval ratings in the wake of his inauguration. Today, less than two years later, the situation is quite different. Barack Obama no longer seems like a superhuman political figure. His approval ratings are nearing George W. Bush territory. He has passed much of his legislative agenda, but has expended gigantic amounts of political capital and goodwill in the process. It is in this new period that we hear the cha...read more

Mosque Decision Needs Time

Sep 1, 2010 - The United States is deservedly proud of its constitutional rights and freedoms. We essentially invented the institutional separation of church and state. This separation is not equivalent to constitutionally mandated secularism even though judges often act as though it is. The first freedom listed in our bill of rights is religious liberty. The state does not establish churches. Nor does it abridge the free exercise of religion. Obviously, there are limits. We do not permit every permutation of religious activity because some acts (such as human sacrifice, to use an extreme example) imperil the peace and safety of the community. But the freedom is broad. We recognize that religio...read more

Regaining a Sense of Taste in Political Leadership

Aug 4, 2010 - When watching the Food Network on television, the viewer focuses on a number of things.What technique does the celebrity chef use in dicing an onion?How is her hair highlighted?What kind of appliances has the network placed in the kitchen set? How does the food look?The attention is everywhere except on how the food will taste because that part of the process is too difficult to convey through a glass screen.A celebrity ...read more

Voters Demand Restraint

Nov 5, 1996 - This week, politicians, political consultants, lobbyists, reporters, media analysts and academics across the land are reviewing election results. They are trying to decipher the message sent by the American electorate on Tuesday. The...read more