Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Did the Party Decide?

(Cross-posted from Mischiefs of Faction)

The book The Party Decides (of which my co-blogger Hans Noel is a co-author) depicts modern presidential nominations as being largely under the control of party elites. That is, networks of party officials, officeholders, major donors, activists, and others coordinate on a nominee long before voters ever enter a polling booth or a caucus location. They pick a candidate who's credible enough on issues of importance to the party elites and they make sure that candidate has the resources necessary to prevail in the primaries and caucuses.

This book was published in 2008. How well does it describe the events of 2012? The authors -- Marty Cohen, David Karol, John Zaller, and Hans -- will be gathering this Friday, June 1st, at the University of Denver to address this very issue. (More details here.) If you're anywhere near Denver, you're welcome to attend. If you can't make it, there should be a live feed available here starting at 2PM MDT, and I hope to post a recording of the event when it becomes available.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why the Republicans had to nominate a flip-flopper

(Cross-posted from the Mischiefs of Faction)

With the benefit of hindsight, it's hard to see how Santorum, Gingrich, or anyone else ever had a chance at the Republican nomination this year. But let's not forget -- people were absolutely freaking out about those possibilities just a few months ago. Romney was the troubled front-runner who had a 30% ceiling and was just barely defeating candidates he was outspending 10 to 1. He was also the candidate who allegedly could not be nominated because of his dalliances with moderation or because of his recent flip-flops.

David Karol has an interesting post at the Monkey Cage in which he argues that Romney's "very inconsistency was a necessary, if not sufficient, condition for his success in capturing his party’s presidential nomination this year." But I think it goes further than Karol suggests. It's not just that Romney had to switch his positions to be a credible potential nominee. I would argue that any Republican presidential nominee today would have to be a serious flip-flopper.

One reason Romney's nomination was relatively predictable was that he was running against the sort of people who are simply never nominated for the presidency by the major parties. Gingrich had a notably unsuccessful and short term as Speaker and hadn't held public office in over a decade. Santorum's initial election to the Senate was somewhat of a fluke and his 2006 drubbing in a swing state did not bode well for him. Bachmann was a member of the House. Cain was an eccentric businessman. Parties almost invariably nominate current or recent senators or governors, and of the prospective field, only Pawlenty, Daniels, Christie, Palin, Perry, and Romney fit the bill. Three of those (Daniels, Christie, and Palin) seemed hesitant to fully jump into the contest, and among the three that jumped in enthusiastically, two of them (Pawlenty and Perry) had serious campaigning problems. Once the two of them had functionally dropped, it was hard to see anyone but Romney getting it, unless it was going to be a Really Unusual Year. And of course you never know whether or not you're in a Really Unusual Year until it's over, but by definition, they're really unusual, so the safe bet is that things are happening as usual.

But here's the key point about that: No one taking the stances Romney needed to take to win this year could have had the sort of résumé needed to be a typical major party nominee. The Republican Party has been moving to the right very quickly in recent years. Almost no one taking the stances that Romney is taking now could have been elected as a senator or a governor from most states just a few years ago. So, if you were consistently conservative (like, say, Bachmann or Santorum), you were either doomed to service in the House or to being kicked out of the Senate. If you had a presidential résumé, conversely, it was probably because your views were pretty moderate a few years ago. Arguably, the only person who can get nominated in the current Republican Party is someone who has pivoted to the right rapidly in the past decade. Rapid polarization makes flip-flopping a necessity.

My next blogging venture

I am pleased to announce the birth of a new blog: The Mischiefs of Faction. This is a collaborative venture, founded by Greg Koger, Hans Noel, and me. It went live at 9AM EDT this morning.

You can read all the details in our inaugural post, but basically, we've been talking for a while about doing something that focuses on political parties, broadly defined. We'll be posting material this week on Madison's views of parties, the nature of flip-floppers in modern presidential campaigns, the constraints parties place on presidents, some innovations by parties in state elections, and many other things. I hope you'll check it out and offer your comments.

I'm not yet sure about the future of Enik Rising. I'll be cross-posting for a while, but I'll be thinking about whether to maintain this blog. I welcome your suggestions.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Monday, May 21, 2012

Unsupervised legislators

A few years ago, Michael Gormley wrote a piece for USA Today mainly focusing on the Eliot Spitzer scandal but also mentioning that inappropriate behavior by state governing officials was far from unusual, especially when the capital was far from population centers. As Gormley wrote:
It is an open secret that there is a lot of fooling around going on at the statehouse. And at other statehouses, too.... In truth, the phenomenon is not new, and it's not confined to Albany. By all accounts, the same thing goes on at other state capitals, particularly where the statehouse is far from the main population centers and lawmakers stay overnight several times a week.
It is a curious feature of many states that the center of government is far from the center of commerce and population. (I had once heard that this was by design, to keep the government from becoming deaf to the concerns of the provinces. But I don't know how true that is or how much thought went into these decisions as a whole.) Could it be true that distance from population centers creates more irresponsible behavior by government?

A new paper by Filipe R. Campante and Quoc-Anh Do suggests this may just be the case. They find that a state capital's isolation corresponds with greater corruption, higher campaign spending, and lower voter turnout. Here's their abstract:
We show that isolated capital cities are robustly associated with greater levels of corruption across US states. In particular, this is the case when we use the variation induced by the exogenous location of a state’s centroid to instrument for the concentration of population around the capital city. We then show that different mechanisms for holding state politicians accountable are also affected by the spatial distribution of population: newspapers provide greater coverage of state politics when their audiences are more concentrated around the capital, and voter turnout in state elections is greater in places that are closer to the capital. Consistent with lower accountability, there is also evidence that there is more money in state-level political campaigns in those states with isolated capitals. We find that the role of media accountability helps explain the connection between isolated capitals and corruption. In addition, we provide some evidence that this pattern is also associated with lower levels of public good spending and outcomes.
(h/t John Sides)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

When lawmakers just want to go home

I was sitting in on a caucus meeting of Colorado Senate Democrats the other day during the last day of the state's special legislative session. (Yes, legislative party caucus meetings in Colorado are, by law, open to the public.) Everyone had expected the session to wrap up that morning, but word had come from an absent senator that she could return the following day if someone would move to reconsider a marijuana DUI bill that had failed by a single vote the day before.

The reactions were quite interesting. Both party caucuses appeared already split on this issue, but the bill seemed to be losing support. Members had tried to pass the thing and fallen short, and they were not interested in prolonging their special session to address it yet again. This is a part-time legislature, and they had jobs, families, vacations, and lives to get back to.

But they couldn't state it quite like that. So one senator blasted the absentee senator for her irresponsibility, noting the "sacrifices" the rest of them had made to be present that week. Another suggested that they'd promised the people of Colorado that the special session would only be three days long, and to extend it to a fourth day would be breaking faith with their constituents.

Let me just say that I fully sympathize with part-time legislators being eager to end an already-extended legislative session. And while there might be good reasons to extend a session further, it wasn't obvious that this bill would pass, and it wasn't obvious that this bill was even necessary. (Can't the police already arrest someone driving dangerously regardless of the content of their blood? And isn't the main problem with stoned drivers the fact that they're driving really, really slowly around town looking for stores that sell Doritos after 2AM?)

But I found the language being used to dress up this legislative decision as a tad silly. The number of Coloradans outside the statehouse who are okay with a three-day special session but irate over a four-day one can probably be counted on two hands.

In general, there seemed to be a huge disconnect between what the legislators were saying and what I imagine most people outside the chamber were thinking. I wasn't sure if this was a case of legislators having no idea what non-political people think about, or if this was a case of trying to say "Can we go home yet?" in the most diplomatic possible language.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Some Americans Elect epitaphs

Don’t confuse the good intentions of Tom Friedman with an idea that makes sense.
Ed Kilgore:
Assuming AE is unlikely to just call the whole thing off, I’d suggest they cut to the chase and nominate their most prominent backer, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, as the nominee. Under AE’s elaborate rules, he’d presumably have to disclose a party affiliation and then choose a running-mate from a different party. But he could certainly self-identify as a member of the Friedman Party, and then choose a running-mate from the Party of Richard Cohen or the Party of Robert Samuelson or the Party of David Brooks. It would be a Very Serious Ticket.
 Ross Douthat:
[D]isaffected Americans have very good reasons to be suspicious when their elites promotes bipartisanship as an end unto itself. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was approved with significant bipartisan support, after all. The policies that inflated the housing bubble were bipartisan as well – and so was the hated Wall Street bailout that the bubble’s consequences required. Even America’s deficits are a monument to bipartisanship: to the many Republicans who have defended and expanded entitlements created by Democrats and to the many Democrats who have gone along with Republicans and ruled middle-class tax increases out of bounds.
Why, then, would Americans fed up with the two party system entrust their loyalties to a nascent movement that promises that this time, this time, a high-minded, bipartisan elite will get things right?
I wouldn't completely count out Americans Elect. Any party on the ballot in 26 states has the potential for some kind of mischief, intentional or otherwise. But yes, this was an easily predicted failure.

NSF: An invitation for Jeff Flake

I'm one of the host co-chairs of the fifth annual Political Networks conference, being held next month in Boulder. Since this conference and the APSA section organizing it have received substantial support from NSF's Political Science program over the past five years, I thought it would make sense to invite Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to the conference. Rep. Flake, of course, recently authored an amendment to a House spending bill that would defund the Political Science program, and this bill recently passed the House. 

I know this is already beyond the House, but Flake currently seems to be the main purveyor of the argument that political science is unworthy of federal support. And in fairness, as Ezra Klein points out, political science is deserving of some criticism for using public money for our research and then hiding the results of that research behind paywalls and obscure jargon. So we invited Flake to the conference, in all sincerity and in the interests of transparency, so he could see what NSF funding has helped to produce. The text of our letter appears after the jump.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vampires and politicians

A student recently interviewed me for a paper she was writing about the similarities and differences between vampires and politicians. I kind of enjoyed doing the interview, so with the student's permission, I am reposting it here.

How do you think immortality would influence a vampire’s political platform or view on issues?
This would have to have a huge effect, since immortality makes irrelevant so many of the major policy issues we deal with, from health care to Social Security to war. Even if a vampire were sympathetic to mortals' concerns over these issues, it would be hard for him to convince many people that he shares their interests.
The vampire is described as different, similar to humans but stronger, prettier, and paler than humans. These differences make him different and stand apart. Do you think looks factor into our decision for president?
Looks aren't completely irrelevant to politics, but they're likely very overrated. We've had overweight presidents (Taft, Clinton), ugly presidents (Lyndon Johnson), slight presidents (Coolidge), etc. The chances that a vampire candidate were so much more attractive than his human opponent as to affect the vote strike me as pretty remote. The paleness probably wouldn't help -- it may have hurt Richard Nixon when he ran against a tanned JFK in 1960.
The top traits that a young voting demographic associated with vampires and politicians was power-hungry, narcissistic, and selfish – what do you think that tells us about our trust and belief of our political candidates?
It's hard to know from your question -- people may apply these traits to many people in positions of authority, including CEOs, athletes, celebrities, etc. But more generally, I think it's important to distinguish between how a politician would use power and how a vampire would. If we elect a politician to advance a set of issues we care about, his/her desire for power probably helps to achieve these goals. The more he/she advances that agenda, the more powerful he/she becomes, the better able he/she is to advance the agenda further. It's hard to see how a vampire's power helps anyone other than the vampire.
Is the vampire a Democrat or Republican? Why?
Republicans describe Democrats as sucking the life out of capitalism. Democrats describe Republicans as sucking the life from the working class. So either could probably be said to have some vampire-like qualities. However, given that vampires tend to be older, paler, and wealthier than most mortals, I would tend to think that he's a Republican.
Would you vote Cullen/Dracula 2012?
I haven't seen or read any of the "Twilight" series, so I couldn't adequately comment on Cullen's candidacy. Also, the issue of immortality makes the vice presidency somehow less important than it already is. Finally, there are a lot of Dracula depictions out there. If we're talking about Gary Oldman's Dracula, there's a lot I like about him, but I'd really need to see his birth certificate before I could consider voting for him.

Monday, May 14, 2012

New campaign finance reporting -- now with less context!

Over at Mother Jones, Andy Kroll reports that Priorities USA Action, an Obama-aligned super PAC, is underperforming relative to its Republican counterparts:
As the leading Obama-affiliated super-PAC, it was supposed to provide a counterbalance to big Republican outside-spending groups. But the super-PAC has so far raked in just $9 million for the 2012 election cycle. By comparison, the pro-Romney super-PAC Restore Our Future has raised $52 million, and the pro-Gingrich super-PAC Winning Our Future pulled in $24 million before Gingrich dropped out of the race. Priorities isn't just struggling to compete with its Republican counterparts—it's not playing in the same league.
Kroll then provides four reasons why the Obama super PAC isn't raising much money. Strangely, none of those reasons is that Obama didn't face any primary challengers. Romney needed money to defeat his party rivals. Obama didn't.

From what I've heard from some campaign staffers, the Obama folks expect Romney's super PACs to raise more money than the Obama super PACs, although they think the Obama campaign itself will out-raise the Romney campaign. This may all be true, and we'll know better this summer and fall, when we see fundraising patterns for the general election. But comparing them at a time when one candidate had opponents and the other didn't is just silly.

(h/t John Sides)

Friday, May 11, 2012

The effect of social media on presidential elections

I'm co-hosting a panel today at my university on the effects of social media on journalism, politics, and the current presidential election. The panelists are Dave Weigel (Slate/MSNBC), Jay Newton-Small (Time), Dorian Warren (Columbia), and Brent Blackaby (Trilogy Consulting). You can watch it live from 2-4pm Mountain time here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Over at the Monkey Cage, John Sides comments on the House of Representatives' recent vote to defund the Political Science program at the National Science Foundation, explaining the usefulness of his own recent NSF-funded research. While I am certainly not thrilled about this vote, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing for scientists receiving government funds to occasionally explain to the public just what they're doing and why it might be valuable.

I should mention that I (along with Michael Heaney, Joanne Miller, and Dara Strolovitch) received a relatively small NSF grant (about $30,000) a few years ago to conduct a survey of activists and delegates at the 2008 Republican and Democratic national conventions. The bulk of that money went toward hiring a few dozen undergraduate and graduate students in Denver and Minneapolis to conduct the survey and training them in how to do survey research. I still hear back from some of those students, who tell me how valuable the training was and how memorable the whole experience was.

The research itself, meanwhile, has yielded one published paper, one that's under review, and another that's still being written. We've found, among other things, some cultural distinctions between the two parties in how they work with interest groups, some interesting evidence about how the Democratic party managed its divisions after the Clinton/Obama primary battle, and some notable differences in the evaluation of female candidates across both major parties. The research covers two main areas -- differences between the major parties and the use of convention caucuses -- which haven't received a lot of attention in previous research. While focused on parties, the research isn't advancing any agenda for one party or another; it's simply trying to better understand how they function and how people and groups interact with them. I don't know that this work is "transformative" (which apparently is a new standard for meriting government support), but it is interesting and useful, and it tells us some things we didn't know before. And the evidence was gathered by struggling students who ended up with some useful training and some extra spending money in their wallets.

I might also mention a small NSF grant ($12,000) I received in grad school, which allowed me and Jeff Lewis to compile a complete roll call vote record for the California Assembly going back to 1849. (You can download the resulting ideal points here at the bottom of the page.) This research was essential to my book and an AJPS article, and it has been used by several other scholars in related research.

Now, these aren't large grants by any means. But for a scholar located at a liberal arts school in a small department with no graduate students and paltry research funds, they make an enormous difference. It's the difference between conducting research and, well, not. Assuming the federal government has an interest in promoting research (I believe the Constitution mentions something about promoting the "progress of science and useful arts"), this strikes me as a very good investment.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Legislative Leviathan (R - Highlands Ranch, CO)

Legislators and reporters gather around
Speaker McNulty late last night to
ask about bringing the chamber
out of recess.
If you weren't watching the proceedings of the Colorado House of Representatives last night, you missed quite a show. The Republican-controlled House is set to adjourn today, and a number of bills still remained on the calendar last night, one of which was a bill that would have allowed civil unions for same sex couples. The bill had already passed the Democratic-controlled Senate, and it had passed several Republican-controlled House committees with the help of some defecting Republicans. The governor had said he'd sign the bill. Whip counts showed that there were enough votes for it to pass the House.

So at around 9:30PM last night, Democrats moved to consider the bill on the House floor. Republican Speaker McNulty immediately moved the chamber into recess, preventing the consideration of any further legislative business. Despite lobbying by Governor Hickenlooper and Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino, McNulty kept the chamber in recess, effectively killing not only the civil unions bill but another 30 or so bills that were awaiting a floor vote. Spectators booed the Speaker, and the gallery was cleared after one shouted "I hope you all f-ing die!"

So, yeah, this is what legislative hardball looks like. And this is one of the down sides of investing a lot of power in a single chamber leader. There are plenty of advantages, of course -- a leaderless chamber would probably pass almost no legislation, and there's no guarantee that anything that passed would come close to reflecting public opinion. And strong leaders allow parties to be responsible; that is, they can better deliver on what they promise in their platforms and in campaigns. But here we see the costs: one strong leader can prevent a vote on a bill that would otherwise pass and become law, even one with strong public support. (Notably, in a chamber with even stronger legislative leaders, this bill might have never even made it to the floor. Colorado's GAVEL amendment guarantees that any bill that passes committee come to the floor.)

This is quickly becoming a rallying point for liberal activists in the state. Nonetheless, one might consider things from the Speaker's perspective: should he have allowed a vote on which he knew his side would lose? One is surely tempted to say yes, sure, that's democracy! But let's imagine a counterfactual for a second. Let's say that you were the Speaker and a bill was coming before you that would, I don't know, reinstate slavery, and you knew it would pass if it got a vote. Would you allow the vote in the name of democracy? Or would you use (even abuse) your powers as Speaker to prevent something evil from occurring?

I'm certainly not likening civil unions to slavery. I'm just suggesting that when a leader is invested with agenda controlling powers, it's hard not to use them when the stakes are high.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Was "Mad Men" the first TV show to play a Beatles song?

As though she weren't delightful enough already, Megan Draper, Don Draper's second wife on "Mad Men," won a special place in my heart this last week by introducing her husband to the Beatles song "Tomorrow Never Knows." Appropriately, the 40-year old Don pulled the needle off the record halfway through the song, which he surely found incomprehensible. According to the New York Times, this was a Major Moment in television history:
Aside from songs that have been played in the occasional commercial or the Beatles cartoon series that was shown on ABC in the 1960s, the use of “Tomorrow Never Knows” on “Mad Men” is probably one of the only times that a Beatles track has been used in a TV show, music and advertising executives say.
Jeff Jones, the head of Apple Corps, the Beatles’ company, wrote in an e-mail on Monday that it was the first such license in the five years he has been with the group, although he said he could not be sure about earlier uses that predate his time at the company. Mr. Weiner said he was told that it was the only time a Beatles song has been in a television show, other than the band’s live performances.
I have a strong memory of hearing a few seconds of a Beatles song, possibly "I Want to Hold your Hand," playing on Col. Raynor Sarnac's clock radio on an episode of "Call to Glory." I have no idea if this was historically accurate -- whether clock radios existed at the time that could wake people up to music, whether a middle-aged Air Force colonel would be listening to a station that played the Beatles in 1963, etc. -- but I'm pretty sure it happened on TV, nearly 30 years ago. Can anyone back me up on this?
Yeah, that's Elisabeth Shue.
Update: Good point in comments from Matt Glassman: "Life Goes On" used the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da" in the opening credits every damned episode!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Leon Links

Super PACs: The antidote to corruption?

The Denver Post has an interesting story today about the motives of some of those who are donating to super PACs this year. In particular, note this section:
"I wish we could be more honest about it," said Paul Zecchi, a CEO of an oil-and-gas company who donated $25,000 to Romney's PAC in March. "Super PACs are just another way to give money to Mitt Romney or Obama or whatever. I wish there was a way to just do it out in the open and give to the candidate."
Zecchi has given to his candidate's campaign. But federal election law allows individuals to donate a maximum of $2,500 per election cycle, which means donors can give $2,500 in a primary and another $2,500 for the general election. Individuals can also give $30,800 to a national party committee.
For the donation, Zecchi joked that it would be great to get an invite to the inauguration. But he says what he really wants is a future President Romney's ear.
"We certainly would like to be able to sit down with him on a one-on-one basis and tell him our feelings about what's going on in our business and the economy," he said. "If you're just listening to bureaucrats all day long, you're not going to be hearing from any one person. But me and my friends could relay to him what we see."
So here's a person who donates precisely because he wants a quid pro quo; he wants to give Romney a ton of money and he wants Romney to remember where the money came from so he can ask a favor later. But limits on direct donations make that hard, so he's donating to a super PAC. That's still helpful for Zecchi's purposes, but because his donations are being pooled with so many others, he'll get less credit for the donation. Zecchi can still help his chosen candidate, but he's less likely to be rewarded for the effort.

I'm not going to champion super PACs as the cure for campaign finance corruption, but this is a perspective we don't often hear.

Game Change: The Movie

I finally saw HBO's "Game Change" last week. I'd have to say that it was a very nice (if obviously very selective) adaptation of the book, which I also rather enjoyed. The performances are very good and the casting was inspired. As with the book, if you were paying attention to politics in 2008, there's not a huge amount of new information here, but what is new is quite fascinating.

The Palin we see in "Game Change" is at different times sympathetic, pitiful, and horrifying. We see her thrown into a high stakes game for which she was terribly unprepared. We could fault her for that, but how many of us would refuse the offer she was given? Imagine being told, "There's an American hero running for president, and we think you could help him win, and if you don't, a terrible person will end up getting elected." Even without all the fame and fortune being implicitly offered, that's still a tough thing to walk away from. But then we see her come very close to (or perhaps even have) a mental break. The film is somewhat voyeuristic in this way. No, politics ain't beanbag, but it's uncomfortable seeing it destroy a person. The campaign and Palin's family seem to help her through the rough spots, but to the point of overcompensation; by the film's end, she's an overconfident monster who believes that the rules and history do not apply to her.

Although we don't know exactly who provided the background information for the book and film, it seems highly informed by consultants with a strong loyalty to John McCain. While Julianne Moore's Palin is a reckless diva, Ed Harris' McCain is a potty-mouthed saint. He grows uncomfortable with the "dark side" of populism and often steers the campaign away from less savory tactics. He wants to win, but to do so responsibly.

And that's where the film became troubling for me. It goes out of its way to depict McCain as a principled man who would rather lose with dignity than win ugly, but if that's the case, how did he end up picking Palin? For a septuagenarian with a history of cancer to pick a grotesquely underqualified vice presidential candidate is manifestly irresponsible, and he did it for the sole reason of increasing his chances of victory. Arguably, that's a lot worse than running a race-baiting ad for a few days.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The End of History

For nearly a year now, I have been furiously listening to the History of Rome Podcast, trying to catch up to its most current postings. Now, just a few episodes short of my goal, I find out that the podcast's prolific author, Mike Duncan, is calling it quits. His wife is having a baby, right around the same time that Romulus Augustulus is being exiled in 476 AD, so he figured this was a good time to end it. I guess you've got to end it somewhere (unless you follow the theory that the Roman Empire never actually ended), so this is as good as any, but man, I'm going to miss these recordings.

I grew up receiving what I consider a pretty solid education, largely paid for by California taxpayers, but I somehow missed gaining (or retaining, anyway) any substantive knowledge about Rome. A disturbingly high percentage of the information I knew about ancient Rome up until last year was derived from the film "Gladiator" and one episode of "I, Claudius" a high school literature teacher decided to show us for reasons that now escape me. A year ago, I could maybe have named four Roman emperors, and one of them was Joaquin Phoenix. The History of Rome Podcast provided me with the education that I'd somehow missed.

I don't know too much about what Duncan does when he's not podcasting, but he's provided a real service to the world here and has created an impressive body of historical work. His approach is quite judicious, acknowledging disagreements among historians but not getting bogged down in arcane arguments, and managing to provide an impressive sense of narrative in each of his episodes. As I'd imagine he'd concede, the podcast is often a history of Roman emperors rather than of Rome; such is, I'm sure, a reflection of the available historical information. Duncan attempted to remedy this with a few outstanding episodes, such as his depiction of the daily life of a typical Roman in the 2nd century AD or  the wonderful Q&A session or the description of Diocletian's economic reforms and how they impacted tradesman for centuries to come.

I consider myself fundamentally improved thanks to the jogs and drives I spent listening to Mike's podcast, and I hope he'll be able to take on more of this in the future. I'll listen.