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Earlier this week, I drew attention to the dearth of panels at the 2014 American Political Science Association (APSA) conference that were devoted to an assessment of the achievements in domestic and foreign affairs of the administration of Barack Obama. As I pointed out, the APSA has fifty-three “divisions” and sixty “related groups”that sponsor more than one thousand panels at these meetings with something on the order of four thousand scholars making presentations of one sort or another. Given those numbers, the profession’s silence with regard to Obama’s accomplishments are so striking as to suggest that the political science profession now regards “the One” as an embarrassment.
Today, I returned to the program of the APSA, which is available online and can be downloaded and searched. This I did with an eye to studying it more closely. Here and there, I found that someone had given a paper on some aspect of Barack Obama’s career — usually, with a focus on race — but that no one had bothered to ask whether he had been successful on the whole at home or abroad.
I found other omissions no less striking. There was, for example, not a single paper given at the convention in which the name Clinton appeared in the title, and there was not a single paper delivered in which the title referred to anyone named Hillary. You would think –given her front-runner status for the Democratic presidential nomination — someone would have addressed her achievements as Secretary of State or as a United States senator. But no one even bothered to discuss her future prospects, and no one looked back to the administration of her husband.