The Margaret Chase Smith Essays

Closing the Class Gap in Civic Participation

by Amy Fried When the young Alexis de Tocqueville came to the United States in 1831, he found a nation teeming with energy and filled with citizens who were involved in their local governments and communities. By getting involved, citizens learned to care for those outside of their circles of families and friends. People could […]

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What Would Margaret Chase Smith Have Made of Bill Clinton’s Tragi-Comedy?

by Charles Calhoun Among the few bright spots in President Clinton’s impeachment trial were the occasional historical footnotes. For example, when both parties caucused in the Old Senate Chamber some journalists wrote of Charles Sumner’s near-fatal beating there, 143 years earlier. The Massachusetts senator was sitting quietly at his desk, writing letters, when South Carolinian […]

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Bridging the Disconnect

by David Mathews In 1991, Richard Harwood had just completed a study for the Kettering Foundation on the way Americans felt about the political system and insisted that the conventional wisdom-that the public was happily apathetic-was misleading. The people he heard in focus groups across the country weren’t apathetic. They were mad as the devil […]

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“NIMBY” or Citizen Participation?

by Bruce Clary NIMBY, or “Not in My Backyard,” refers to the phenomenon of local residents expressing strong opposition to projects being advanced in the name of the public good. At the heart of such objections are the perceived negative consequences of the proposed project, whether that project be a dam for the production of […]

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The Power to Tax; The Need to Provide

by Dennis King, President Acadia Hospital, Bangor ME On the eve of its adjournment, the Maine Legislature appropriately approved the tax abatement for the state’s largest employer, Bath Iron Works. What makes this move so incongruous is that the same session had actively considered removing long-standing tax exemptions for most of Maine’s nonprofit charities–a group […]

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Ethics and Election of 1996

by Steve Ballard The real story of the 1996 elections, in Maine and nationally, has less to do with winners and losers and more to do with citizen reactions to the process. This point has been missed in most post-election critiques. Campaigns have become controlled by monied interests, candidates are immune to a serious discussion […]

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One Question at a Time, Please!

by Chris Spruce …politics in the broad sense of the term is best conducted in this country (as) a matter of give and take, recognizing that the perfect may be the enemy of good, recognizing that in a democratic society no one faction can get everything, or nothing…” —Theodore C. Sorenson, former adviser to President […]

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Welfare Reform: Unresolved Issues

by Deirdre Mageean In 1993, President Clinton made a campaign promise to “end welfare as we know it,” thus he opened the floodgates of change and prompted legislative initiatives to reform a welfare system in which the majority of Americans have lost faith. With the recent Senate and House bills on welfare reform, which now […]

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The Divided Information Superhighway

by Robert Kuttner If you think America has become a nation of haves and have-nots, just wait. The arrival of the much-heralded information superhighway will only worsen the trend. In the 1980s, America became more unequal for several reasons. A factory economy with a broad, blue-collar middle class increasingly gave way to a service economy—a […]

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