My weekly political science department basketball game is in the news:
A central figure behind President Bush's new victory-in-Iraq strategy is a charismatic conservative sprung from Duke University's left-leaning political science department.
Peter D. Feaver, 43, is open-minded but a tough debate foe, his colleagues say. Students pack his classes. His international policy lectures earned him the university's top teaching award four years ago.
Then, there's the man on the basketball court: a pickup player who doesn't pass, questions every out-of-bounds call and happily hurls up bricks that clang off the rim.
"He's a darn gunner," said Michael Munger, chairman of Duke's political science department and Feaver's occasional teammate.
Munger could just as well be describing the political scientist's approach to his work.
To elaborate, Feaver works for the National Security Council and is using his research into the factors determining popular support for wars to help shape the White House's PR strategy. Apparently, he's now pretty famous. Why else would reporters care about Feaver basketball stories? Another sign that he matters: the looney lefties are after him. My prediction is that Feaver going to succeed Paul Wolfowitz as the person in the administration who leftists think is an evil puppetmaster. Let me assure you, however, that he's a very nice guy. As for his research, I haven't read enough of it to comment.
(In case anyone cares, I also took a class from Feaver's co-author, Chris Gelpi, and his other co-author on the research in question, Jason Reifler, is a former fellow graduate student who I'm currently collaborating with on other research.)