For no rational reason, at all, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has introduced an amendment to ban the National Science Foundation from funding any and all political science research. Just poli sci. That's it. He hates it!
Coburn, like some socially awkward but self-aggrandizing engineering major, just seems to be upset that political science calls itself "science."
According to Coburn, the NSF gave out $91.3 million in grant money to political science projects over the last ten years. Yes, million and over the last ten years. The NSF budget for the 2008 fiscal year was $6.43 billion. They can toss a couple bucks to the social sciences without hurting the "real" science that Coburn loves so much as of yesterday.
And why does Coburn hate political science? He doesn't really explain. But he is pretty sure that the free market should be in charge of figuring out why voters and politicians do the things they do.
The University of Michigan may have some interesting theories about recent elections, but Americans who have an interest in electoral politics can turn to CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, the print media, and a seemingly endless number of political commentators on the internet who pour over this data and provide a myriad of viewpoints to answer the same questions.
Yes, and why fund nanotechnology when we have the screenwriters of Transformers 2?
His list of terrible wasteful money spent on poli sci also includes "research conducted by Paul Krugman," and we all know Krugman is a shrill communist liberal. Except he got the NSF grant in 1991 and it was on the subject of economic geography," because Krugman is an economist.
If Tom Coburn—the fiscal conservative OB/GYN who speaks in violent, tortured metaphors and advises paying off his friend's mistresses and who once warned of lesbianism so rampant in Oklahoma that only one school girl at a time is allowed to use the bathroom—isn't a complete idiot, he should probably fire his barber. But this is an odd one.