Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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The Transformation of American Politics: Conversation with Paul Pierson, Avice Saint Chair in Public Policy, Department of Political Science, U.C. Berkeley; December 1, 2005, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Paul Pierson who holds the Avice Saint Chair in Public Policy in the Department of Political Science at UC Berkeley. book coverHis publications include Dismantling the Welfare State?: The Politics of Retrenchment in Britain and the United States; Politics and Time, History, Institutions and Social Analysis, and most recently, Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy, which he co-authored with Jacob S. Hacker.

  1. Background ... influence of parents ... education
  2. Research in Comparative Politics ... thinking about bigger questions ... comparing Thatcher and Reagan ... reform of Social Security in comparative perspective
  3. Time and History ... historical & social context ... case of democracy ... building a village not a building ... technocratic trend in social science
  4. Setting the Stage for the Erosion of American Democracy ... public centrism ... right-wing successes ... historical context ... rise of inequality ... American South goes Republican ... Cheney and DeLay ... individualism and the framing of the debate ... example: tax cuts
  5. Long-Term Strategy of the Extreme Right ... legislative design ... exploiting the rules of Congress ... changing conference committees ... backlash insurance ... Republican unity ... weakness of party moderates ... lobbyists and access ... power and purpose ... requirements for reform ... importance of 911 ... case of Clinton's impeachment ... advice to students

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