Matthew Wilson, Political Science, Dallas D.A. Susan Hawks three-week absence creating buzz at courthouse

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: August 22, 2015

Where is Susan Hawk?

Dallas County’s district attorney has been on an abrupt break from work for nearly three weeks — and those close to her won’t say where she is.

Hawk has been off since Aug. 3, a representative said. She has canceled or skipped multiple public appearances during that time, including a high-profile Crimes Against Children Conference, where she was invited to speak. Her absence from the office has become the talk of the Frank Crowley Courts Building, with even her own employees speculating on their boss’s unexplained whereabouts. READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, on Hillary Clinton e-mails

Christian Science Monitor

Originally Posted: August 14, 2015

Was former Secretary of State Clinton sending or receiving classified information via unsecured e-mails? (So far, the only classified information found in a handful of Clinton e-mails may have been labeled as such after the fact. And it was information received, not sent.)

Why did she hand her private e-mail server and a thumb drive over to the FBI this week after months of resisting? (Likely because the pressure to do so was never going to end.) READ MORE

SMU Adventures, Project Impact and Education in Guatemala

SMU Adventures

Originally Posted: August 10, 2015

Follow Jennifer, Maguire Fellow in Guatemala.

Jennifer is a senior majoring in human rights and public policy. She was awarded a Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellowship for summer 2015 from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU for her work in community development. READ MORE.

Political scientist, Cal Jillson, quoted in Dallas Morning News

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: August 6, 2015

Texas’ cuts to Medicaid could leave poor without therapy

AUSTIN — Even as they left nearly $18 billion unspent, Texas lawmakers ordered a $350 million cut this year to Medicaid pay for therapists who perform one of health care’s most exacting jobs.

In a two-year budget that was flush enough to trim taxes and triple state spending on border security, the Legislature told Medicaid officials to slash nearly a quarter of the $1.4 billion they shell out for acute care — or outpatient — therapy.

The move threatens the jobs of speech, physical and occupational therapists who work with 445,000 poor Texans afflicted with, among other things, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism and Alzheimer’s disease. This part of the sprawling state-federal Medicaid program also offers speech therapy to children born prematurely, who often find it hard to swallow and speak. READ MORE


EPA rule earns ridicule in oil and gas country, but some support percolates

Energy Wire

Originally Posted: August 5, 2015

HOUSTON — If there’s one thing traditional oil and gas states don’t like, it’s being told how energy policy should work.

Consider the ferocity of comments from three of the country’s most prominent energy-producing states that followed this week’s release of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said the federal government seems “hell-bent on threatening” principles of a free market. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) called EPA’s plan “one of the most expansive and expensive regulatory burdens ever imposed on U.S. families and businesses.” Louisiana Attorney General James Caldwell (R) said EPA’s move “will lead to fewer jobs and higher utility bills.”

These energy states are among the most vocal opponents of the Clean Power Plan, even as their jurisdictions could see benefits from increased wind, solar or natural gas used in generating U.S. electricity (E&ENews PM, July 24, 2014).

“The idea that the EPA is announcing regulations that all the states have to comply with puts the hair up on the back of the Texas neck,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in the Dallas area. “Even though it’s telling us to continue moving in the direction that we’re already moving, it’s setting standards that we must meet.” READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Trump’s rise hurts Rubio, Carson, but helps Jeb Bush

The Hill

Originally Posted: July 29, 2015

Donald Trump’s explosive rise in the polls has come at the expense of every other GOP presidential candidate except for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker — who arguably have been helped by the businessman’s rise.

The media storm surrounding Trump is starving other candidates of oxygen — including major contenders such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has seen his polling numbers plummet 3.2 percentage points since Trump’s entry. READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, comparing governors and miracles


Miracles are regular occurrences for governors who want to be president of the U.S.

Rick Perry’s supporters have talked about the “Texas Miracle” of job growth. Post-recession recoveries under John Kasich and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal are the “Ohio Miracle” and “Miracle on the Bayou.”

Politicians regardless of party put a supernatural gloss on economic cause and effect. Reality is more nuanced. Bloomberg News examined the records of 10 governors and ex-governors trying to occupy the White House in 2016, considering 11 economic indicators. Below is an interactive graphic that shows the numbers, and deeper discussions of governors prominent in the race. READ MORE.

Brad Carter, Political Science, to lecture on ‘politics of anger’ at Wilbur Public Library

Dallas Morning News

Wilmer Public Library will host a lecture on Tuesday (8/4/15) about politics as part of its annual summer series.

Brad Carter, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, will talk about what influences people’s views on government and the development of a “politics of anger.” He will explore the history of political parties and how they’ve changed.

The event is free and open to the public. It will be at 7 p.m. at Gilliam Memorial Public Library, 205 E. Belt Line Road. READ MORE

Joshua Rovner, Tower Center, Iran deal “neither as transformative as advocates hope nor as terrible as critics fear”

SMU News

Originally Posted: July 15, 2015

The White House announced Tuesday, July 14, that the United States and other nations had struck a deal with Iran to limit its nuclear programs in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions.

Joshua Rovner, the John G. Tower Distinguished Chair in International Politics and National Security at SMU, says:

As a nonproliferation agreement, there is a lot to like. The deal significantly reduces Iran’s current nuclear capabilities and enhances international monitoring, which will make it easier for inspectors and intelligence agencies to spot cheating.

But in terms of regional politics, the deal is neither as transformative as advocates hope nor as terrible as critics fear. Some advocates believe that it will signal a new era of stability and better relations between the United States and Iran. This is unlikely. Past arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, Libya, and North Korea had little effect on their relations with the United States. Better political relations can lead to more durable arms control deals, not vice versa. So while there is reason to celebrate the announcement, we should not exaggerate what it means for the Middle East or for U.S.-Iranian relations.

Meanwhile, some critics of the deal fear that offers Iran a pathway to regional hegemony. This ignores profound problems in Iran. Its economy is in shambles and its conventional military capabilities are very limited. It also suffers from political dysfunction at home, and large segments of its young population are clearly disillusioned with the clerical regime. The agreement alleviates some of the economic stress on Iran, but it does not solve these problems. Regardless of the deal, Iran will remain a struggling regional power that uses proxies to extend its influence, but not the kind of country that could make a serious bid for regional hegemony. READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, quoted in the Houston Chronicle

Houston Chronicle

Originally Posted: July 21, 2015

As Trump shoots from the hip, Lone Ranger Perry fires back

WASHINGTON – With Donald Trump under fire, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry sat for an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday night via satellite hookup, appearing by himself in the corner of a room beside a lamp, a set of books and a globe.
“I’m going to stand up to him, just like I would stand up to Vladimir Putin,” Perry said, explaining his escalating war of words with the outlandish business mogul, who had attacked Perry’s record of policing the southern border in Texas.

Perry, Hannity noted, seemed more willing than any of his GOP rivals to take on Trump, who has surged to the top of the Republican presidential primary polls. “There seems to be bad blood here growing,” he said.

“Well, I don’t know about bad blood,” Perry replied, “but when he attacks me and the bullet goes through me and hits the Texas Rangers … you better believe I’m going to stand up.”

The clip of Perry alone in a corner seemed an apt visual for a candidate who has been pushing back the hardest against the Trump phenomenon, even before the reality TV star’s incendiary remarks belittling the war record of U.S. Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam War POW.

“I have a message for my fellow Republicans and the independents who will be voting in the primary process,” Perry said last week, before Trump scrambled the GOP contest with his shot at McCain. “What Mr. Trump is offering is not conservatism, it is Trump-ism – a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense.”

The contrast has been particularly stark with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who courted the Manhattan tycoon in his Trump Tower office last week. Since then, Cruz has steadfastly declined to join the GOP scrum over Trump’s controversial remarks questioning McCain’s war heroism.

“I recognize that folks in the press love to see Republican-on-Republican violence, so you want me to say something bad about Donald Trump or bad about John McCain or bad about anyone else,” Cruz told reporters in Iowa. “I’m not going to do it. John McCain is a friend of mine. I respect and admire him and he’s an American hero. And Donald Trump is a friend of mine.”

Analysts say both Texans have been hurt by Trump, who has co-opted both of their messages on border security and immigration. He once even publicly questioned Cruz’s Canadian birth.

But the new conflagration also presents opportunities. For Cruz, a Trump implosion – still by no means certain – would be a chance to reclaim the anti-Washington part of the GOP base that has rallied around Trump’s no-holds-barred tactics.

“It’s a bet that at some point, Trump disappears,” said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson, explaining Cruz’s reluctance to go after Trump. READ MORE