The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Politics and Government

Prof. Wheelan Talks About the Government Shutdown

In the wake of the recent government shutdown, Professor Charles Wheelan '88, a senior lecturer and policy fellow at the Rockefeller Center, has been making the media rounds to talk about the policy implications of the latest impasse between Democrats and Republicans. Along with Associate Professor of Government, Russell Muirhead, Prof. Wheelan penned an op-ed in Politico in which he discussed the reasons why Republicans and Democrats were acting the way they were, and ultimately concluded that President Obama could come up with a compromise if he agreed to cap the annual growth in health care spending at the rate of inflation. After the shutdown, Prof. Wheelan appeared on Minnesota Public Radio to talk about how moderates will now have the upper hand in the next round of negotiations. That interview can be heard here.

Professor Charles Wheelan '88's New Book, "The Centrist Manifesto"; Media Mentions

A senior lecturer and policy fellow here at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences, Professor Charles Wheelan '88 has recently published a new book, called The Centrist Manifesto.

College Libertarians Present: Benjamin Friedman on "The Virtues of Foreign Policy Restraint" on Thurs, 1/31 at 4:30 PM

The College Libertarians are hosting Dartmouth alumnus Benjamin Friedman'00  to speak on "The Virtues of Foreign Policy Restraint" this Thursday, 1/31 at 4:30 in Rockefeller 003

Mr. Friedman is a research fellow in defense and homeland security studies at the Cato Institute, his areas of expertise including counter-terrorism, homeland security and defense politics. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

The College Libertarians seek to create a growing community of independent, informed students by promoting the ideals of life, liberty, property, self-ownership, and personal responsibility. They meet weekly for discussions of current events, and can be contacted at

You can also find out more about Benjamin Friedman and his work at the Cato Institute here.

Rocky's Own Andrew Samwick Publishes "Must-Read" Op-Ed in the New York Daily News

Andrew Samwick, the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving ’72, P ’10 Professor of Economics and Director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center, has published an article in the New York Daily News entitled, "The Fiscal Grand Canyon".  In this article, Samwick says that although our government has managed to avert the 2012 fiscal cliff, a larger, more severe crisis looms in the near future.

"These are the facts about the budget. Everyone knows them. Yet the two parties have continued to pursue their dangerously parallel approaches to the debt: Democrats pretending that minimal tax increases that spare the middle class can save us, Republicans generally pretending that spending cuts that exempt defense and tip-toe around Medicare and Social Security are sufficient."

You can find Samwick's NY Daily News piece here.
MSNBC's Morning Joe has also featured this op-ed as a "must-read".

NH Governor John Lynch and State Senator Bob Odell Visit PBPL 45 Class

On Tuesday, October 16, 2012, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch (D) and NH State Senator Bob Odell (R) visited with students in Professor Ron Shaiko's PBPL 45: Introduction to Public Policy Research class.  Governor Lynch began the class with a discussion of two bills that became laws in New Hampshire in recent years through the efforts of the Governor.  Students were asked to identify stakeholders and to identify key sources of research and analysis that would shed light on the two issues:  1) raising the age of compulsory school attendance from 16 to 18, and 2) prohibiting the writing of text messages while driving.  These two case studies allowed the students to view the state policymaking process through the overtly political lens of Democrats and Republicans working in the legislature as well as to understand the role of objective policy research in the policy debate. Governor Lynch then responded to general questions about state government from the students.

NH Executive Councilor Ray Burton and Grafton County Commissioner Mike Cryans Visit PBPL 45 Class

On Tuesday evening, October 9, Ray Burton, one of five members of the New Hampshire Executive Council, and Mike Cryans, one of three members of the Grafton County Commission, met with students in Professor Ron Shaiko’s PBPL 45: Introduction to Public Policy Research class over dinner to discuss the unique characteristics of New Hampshire state, county, and local governments.  New Hampshire is unique in its establishment of the Executive Council or Governor’s Council.  The state does not have a lieutenant governor; rather it has a five-member council with powers far greater than those of lieutenant governors in other states.  Dating back to 1679 the Council was adapted from the privy council model in place under the British monarchy at that time.

From Country Lawyer to US Senator: Q&A with Senator Judd Gregg

"I really enjoy this campus. I am looking forward to interact with students on a personal level, counseling students with issues and being available to give life experience."

Former Senator Judd Gregg will serve as Dartmouth’s first Distinguished Fellow; teaching, lecturing, and counseling Dartmouth graduate and undergraduate students. Having served as senator for three terms and serving the state of New Hampshire as Governor from 1989 to 1993, Senator Gregg will remain at Dartmouth for three years to engage with students interested in government and public policy. Before discussing the role of the Senate as part of Constitution Day, Andres Ramirez ’14 sat down with Senator Gregg for a brief interview. 

Andres Ramirez (AR): How was your experience as both a governor and senator? Did you like one over the other?

Rockefeller Center Direct Line - Fall 2012

During the last 80 years, no incumbent President seeking re-election has been defeated in the general election unless he first faced serious opposition for his party’s nomination.  Since President Obama faced no opposition in securing the Democratic Party’s nomination, it would be unprecedented in the modern era for him not to carry the election in November.  Prediction markets currently assign a 59.7 percent chanceto President Obama winning re-election.

2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions

The Rockefeller Center is happy to bring you first-hand coverage from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this year by Ester Cross '15. 


This will be my last blog post about the national conventions. I hope the personal insight I provided has been interesting and helpful in conceptualizing both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. I will use this last post to tell you about some of the important themes and events to result from the conventions and how I think they will impact our nation’s political system for years to come.

2012 Constitution Day: Former US Sen. Judd Gregg to Discuss "The Role of the Senate" for Constitution Day Program on Sept. 17th at 4:30 PM

The United States Constitution, the oldest written document of its kind still in continuous use, has guided U.S. lawmakers and politicians for over 200 years. While the U.S. Senate continues to best interpret and apply it, the current financial upheaval has come to test this body and its methods. In attempting to remedy the extensive damage to the economy, bi-partisan negotiation in the Senate is changing in an interesting and critical way.

September 17, Constitution Day, commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 brave men. Former U.S. Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire will discuss the role of the Senate in the current fiscal crisis: how the United States Senate has evolved into the most likely forum under our constitutional structure for substantive bi-partisan action on major issues.


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences