Richard Valelly

Richard Valelly is the Claude C. Smith '14 Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College.

Recent Articles

Deficit-Attention Disorder

What voters really think about deficits, debts, and economic recovery

Care to hear a politician -- a Democratic congressional leader, in fact -- getting it wrong on the deficit? Listen to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer addressing a Third Way event in Washington at the end of June:

This month, a Gallup poll asked Americans to name the greatest threats facing our country. Two answers tied for the top choice. One was terrorism. The other was debt.

This is a remarkable moment in political history -- a time when our creeping fiscal danger of our $9 trillion of publicly held debt troubles Americans as much as the prospect of the most brutal attacks on our country. More than ever, Americans understand the danger of debt: a stagnant economy, a hobbled government, and a weak national defense.


A Republic, If We Can Build It

Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches by Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal (MIT Press, 240 pages, $35.00)

L.A. Story: Immigrant Workers and the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement by Ruth Milkman (Russell Sage Foundation, 264 pages, $24.95)

Books in Review

Jefferson's Pillow: The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism

By Roger Wilkins. Beacon Press, 176 pages, $14.00

Patriot Fires: Forging a New American Nationalism in the Civil War North

By Melinda Lawson. University Press of Kansas, 272 pages, $29.95

The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration

By Carol M. Swain. Cambridge University Press, 416 pages, $30.00

Illuminating the Enlightenment

Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Condorcet, and the Enlightenment
By Emma Rothschild. Harvard University Press, 353 pages, $45.00

Should you care about the Enlightenment? Yes, you should, and more than a little, says Emma Rothschild, the distinguished British economist. In Economic Sentiments, Rothschild reinterprets the Enlightenment by breathing new life into Adam Smith, Jacques Turgot, and a fellow named Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, somewhat better known as the marquis de Condorcet.

Divided They Govern


  • Alberto Alesina and Geoffrey Carliner, eds.Politics and
    Economics in the Eighties

    (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1992).
  • Joshua Cohen and Joel Rogers,"Democracy and
    Associations",Social Philosophy and Policy,
  • Gary Cox and Samuel Kernell, eds., The Politics of Divided
    ,(Westview Press, 1991).