Join Ron Seyb, Joseph C. Palamountain, Jr. Chair in Government and Associate Professor of Government, for an intriguing lecture about political dynamics followed by a reception. The framers engineered the American political system to create friction between the President and the Congress that would spawn “deliberations” between the two branches governed by “the mild voice of reason.” Few people would suggest that there was anything mild or reasonable about the relations between President Obama and Congress during the former’s first term, and Mr. Obama's second term does not portend any reduction in the rancor between the two branches. The Tea Party Caucus, while its ranks have been diminished, remains an important force within the Republican Conference in the House; the Senate continues to be an institution apparently paralyzed by procedural obstacles to acting on presidential proposals and nominations; and the leaders of both congressional parties seem always to be flirting with losing the support of their members.
This talk will, first, try to explain why the interactions between President Obama and Congress have been (and will in all likelihood continue to be) so choleric and, second, assess some of the more prominent proposals for both reducing the invective hurled by and increase the cooperation between the two branches.