So I spoke at what the American Political Science Association apparently viewed as one of the key sessions of their recent annual meeting. The session was about how to respond to the “Coburn Amendment.” Sen. Coburn successfully proposed that funding to political science be limited to projects that demonstrated a contribution to either economic prosperity or natural security.
Coburn’s amendment is easy to dismiss as anti-science. But I assumed that the APSA would regard it as a three-part challenge. Is political science really science? Is political science really useful in achieving the goals for which the National Science Foundation was created? Does political science hide behind its claim to be real science to advance a partisan agenda that’s not at all objective, that’s all about values and not about facts?