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polsci399 - Political Science Assignment 1 Draft Norman...

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Political Science Assignment 1 – Draft Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, in their article, When Congress Checks Out , start out by stating the warrant of what an intricate process the making of solid foreign policy is. They stress the point that this is not a simple undertaking that can be successfully accomplished by just one branch of our government, but instead to be thorough, this process encompasses numerous steps and entities and that must have somewhat of a cohesive relationship in order to function effectively. With this said, they emphasized that the process of making "sound U.S. foreign policy" does not end with just the writing of the proposal or policy into law, rather that the most critical period is what happens after these policies are enacted and what is put in place to secure that they are effectively enacted, which, according to Ornstein and Mann, are some of the key roles of oversight. Ironically enough, the term oversight has paradoxical definitions. On the on hand, oversight could mean the unintentional failure to notice or do something, while in other contexts, such as in this article, oversight is used as a supervisory mechanism, to ensure efficient and effective services. The authors claim that good oversight prevents problems from happening rather than dealing with them when they do, keeps certain situations in check as to prevent them from spiraling out of control, and finally it draws from previous experience in order to prevent future catastrophes from happening. These characteristics in essence work to keep policymakers on top of things and focused on providing efficient services. With their introduction on the definition of good oversight and how it relates to the making of efficient policies, Ornstein and Mann makes the claim that the decrease in Congressional use of oversight over the past decades is directly linked to the increase in
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the myriad of political problems that our nation has seen, especially on the international front in terms of efficacy. They suggested that as the use of oversight has declined the response to disasters has been inefficient (i.e. the aftermath of hurricane Katrina); the occurrence of fraud and scandal has increased and gone unpunished (i.e. no one held accountable for the inhumane treatment of prisoners of war); the power of the executive branch, certain major organizations, departments, and individuals are left unchecked (i.e.
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