Baylor Experts Cover Range of Political Topics

Feb. 21, 2008

For more information, contact the Media Communications staff: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications,(254) 710-6275; Frank Raczkiewicz, Assistant Vice President of Media Communications, (254) 710-1964; Paige Patton, communication specialist, (254) 710-3321; or Melissa Perry, office manager, (254) 710-3652.

With the Texas Presidential Primary on March 4, Baylor has several faculty experts who are available to speak on election-related issues, including the political attitudes of evangelical Christians, Texas as a key state for candidates, the economy's effect on voting, the War in Iraq as an election issue, and religion, race and gender in American politics.


Dr. Thomas Myers, professor of political science and Director of the Civic Education and Community Service Project

Dr. Myers is an expert on Texas government and the legislative process. Myers' expertise on the Texas political landscape has been cited by the Associated Press and papers through the state, including the Austin American-Statesman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Waco Tribune-Herald and Midland Reporter-Telegram. He has served for 25 years as a political analyst on CBS affiliate KWTX-TV in Waco.

Thomas Myers can be reached at (254) 710-6053 or at


Dr. Martin Medhurst, Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Communication, professor of political science

Martin Medhurst is an expert in the rhetorical presidency and political communication. He has been an expert source for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor and Dallas Morning News. His web site,, is a comprehensive database of presidential speeches and analysis.

Martin Medhurst can be contacted at (254) 710-7840 or at

Dr. Matt Gerber, assistant professor of communication studies and director of debate

Matt Gerber is the director of Baylor's nationally-ranked debate program, the Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum and specializes in argumentation, political rhetoric, diplomacy, and the rhetoric of American foreign policy.

Matt Gerber may be reached at (254) 710-6917 or at


Dr. Byron Johnson, professor of sociology and co-director for the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor

Byron Johnson is an expert on American Evangelicals and how their religious beliefs affect political attitudes and behaviors. Johnson can address a major issue facing Evangelicals: will they follow the urging of some Evangelical leaders to stay home on election day, or will they vote? Either way, Johnson says, it will have a major impact on the Texas primary, as well as the general election as a whole. At Baylor, Johnson leads the research group on the Baylor Surveys of Religion, first released in September 2006 as one of the most extensive studies ever conducted on American religious values, practices and behaviors and how those shape moral and political attitudes. For more on the Baylor Surveys of Religion, go to

Byron Johnson can be reached at (254) 710-7555 or 1229 or at

Dr. Barry Hankins, professor of history and church-state studies

Barry Hankins is an expert on the intersection of politics, religion and American culture, and Protestant fundamentalism and evangelicalism. With a recent Barna Group study reporting a notable shift in the "born-again" Christian constituency toward Democratic candidates, Hankins says he will believe it "when he sees it," but he also says that "if the evangelical Republican vote drops from 78 percent to 65 percent or less, that just might be enough to swing the election to the Democratic candidate" (The Lariat, Feb. 14, 2008). Hankins is the author of "God's Rascal: J. Frank Norris and the Beginnings of the Southern Fundamentalism" and "Uneasy in Babylon: Southern Baptist Conservatives and American Culture." He has been cited as an expert in stories in The Dallas Morning News, Austin American-Statesman, Religion News Service and Associated Baptist Press, among others.

Barry Hankins can be reached at (254) 710-4667 or at

Dr. Paul Froese, assistant professor of sociology

Paul Froese studies the sociology of religion and political sociology. He developed research findings for the Baylor Religion Survey, first released in September 2006 as one of the most extensive studies ever conducted on American religious values, practices and behaviors and how those shape moral and political attitudes. Froese is the author of several books, including the forthcoming "Who Is Your God? How Our Diverse Views of God are Shaping America."

Paul Froese may be contacted at or at (254) 710-7364.

Dr. Thomas Kidd, associate professor of history at Baylor University

Thomas Kidd is an expert on the history of "The Great Awakening" in colonial America and how that compares to today's social and political movements involving evangelical Christians. "Evangelicals were on the forefront of pushing for social reform, especially regarding slavery, in the colonial period," Kidd says. "Today, conservative Christians are often viewed as socially traditional and regressive, but they have actually often been at the forefront of social change." Kidd is the author of "The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America."

Thomas Kidd can be reached at (254) 710-6304 or


Dr. Joseph Brown, associate professor of political science

Joseph Brown researches African-American political behavior, urban political change and minority politics. He is director of the Public Internship Program, which provides students of all majors with an opportunity to acquire hands-on experience in government and non-profit agencies and organizations.

Joseph Brown can be reached at (254) 710-6046 or at


Dr. Francis Beckwith, associate professor of philosophy and church-state studies at Baylor

Francis Beckwith specializes in the relationship between government and religion in the American experience, such as prayer and Bible reading in public schools, government aid to church-related schools, and religious liberty rights of individuals and churches. In addition, Beckwith can discuss the topic of religious identity in American politics: are candidates' religious beliefs relevant to serving in office? Beckwith asserts that what one believes about history, politics, the law, as well as religion, are integral parts of any candidate's formation as a person and a public servant.

Francis Beckwith can be reached at (254) 710-6464 or at


Dr. Patricia Ward Wallace, professor of history at Baylor

As an expert in the history of the American woman, Patricia Wallace is the author of "The Politics of Conscience: A Biography of Senator Margaret Chase Smith," the first woman elected to both the House and Senate and the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for the presidency by either of the two major parties. Wallace says American women organized in 1848 to secure the vote but did not succeed in enfranchising 26 million women until 1920. "Beginning in 1872, 24 women campaigned 26 times for the presidency on third-party tickets," she said. "In the major parties only five women campaigned for the presidential nomination before Hillary Clinton." At Baylor, Wallace focuses on the social, political and economic impact of women in the United States from the end of the Civil War to the present, emphasizing the women's movement and its influence on American society.

Wallace can be reached at (254) 710-6296 or at


Dr. David Nichols, associate professor of political science and the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core

David Nichols specializes in the history of the presidency and American political attitudes. He is the author of "The Myth of the Modern Presidency."

David Nichols is available at (254) 710-3551 or at


Dr. Mark Long, assistant professor in the Honors College and director of Middle East studies at Baylor

Mark Long specializes in contemporary Islamic fundamentalism, the Iraq War and the Arab-Israeli dispute and can discuss the Iraq War and War on Terror as election issues. A former Air Force intelligence analyst, Long has traveled repeatedly throughout the Middle East, including Iraq, and has lectured extensively on Middle East politics and religion. The author of the "Saddam's War of Words: Politics, Religion, and the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait" (University of Texas Press, 2004), Long's current research focuses on the formation of a national security strategy to confront radical Islamists.

Mark Long can be reached at (254) 710-2463 or at


Dr. Victor Hinojosa, assistant professor of political science and in the Honors Program

Victor Hinojosa focuses on international relations, government and politics of Latin America and U.S. narcotic policies. Hinojosa, who is fluent in Spanish, also co-authored an article on "Religion and the Paradox of Racial Inequality Attitudes" in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, in which he and co-author Jerry Park, a Baylor sociologist, assert that while Americans almost universally see racial inequality as a social evil, they also consistently oppose government programs to remedy it.

Hinojosa can be reached at He can be contacted at (254) 710-6045 or

Dr. Lori Baker, assistant professor of anthropology, forensic science and archaeology

Lori Baker is the director of Reuniting Families, an effort to identify and repatriate to families the remains of undocumented immigrants that die crossing the southern U.S. border. She has analyzed the DNA from 150 border cases that have resulted in more than 36 identifications in the last three years. In this effort, she has partnered with the government of Mexico to perform DNA analysis of both unidentified individuals and families trying to locate a loved one for the Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE) database, Sistema de Identificación de Restos y Localización de Individuos (SIRLI). Baker's work has been covered by The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, Arizona Star, The Guardian (UK), NPR Morning Edition, San Antonio Express-News and Associated Press, to name a few.

Lori Baker can be reached at (254) 710-2145 or at


Dr. Wesley Null, associate professor of curriculum and foundations of education in the School of Education and the Honors College at Baylor

Dr. Wesley Null is an expert on curriculum policy, curriculum theory and educational history and has published numerous books in those areas, including Forgotten Heroes of American Education: The Great Tradition of Teaching Teachers, The Pursuit of Curriculum: Schooling and the Public Interest, Peerless Educator: The Life and Work of Isaac Leon Kandel and Readings in American Educational Thought: From Puritanism to Progressivism. A former public school social studies teacher, Null can address the education policies of the presidential candidates, particularly in regard to No Child Left Behind. In addition to his books, Null has published more than 40 articles and book chapters on curriculum, teacher education, and educational history in journals such as Teachers College Record, The Educational Forum, the Journal of Curriculum & Supervision, Educational Studies and the American Educational History Journal. Null also serves as assistant director of Baylor's Honors Program.

Wesley Null can be reached at (254) 710-6120 or


Dr. Tony L. Talbert, associate professor of social education and qualitative research in the School of Education at Baylor

Tony Talbert's research focuses on "education as democracy," which integrates democracy, peace and social justice education into a focused discipline of qualitative and ethnographic inquiry examining teacher and student empowerment through activist engagement in political, economic and social issues confronting education. Talbert can discuss distinctions between democratic movements (e.g., market democracy vs. popular democracy); alternatives to war-centric curriculum and practice in public schools and society; traditions of dissent within democratic societies; interactive peace and democracy teaching strategies and resources; and the role of activism within education and society.

Tony Talbert can be reached at (254) 710-7417 or


Dr. Brad Owens, lecturer in journalism

Brad Owens analyzes traditional media coverage of news topics including the 24/7 news cycle and the shift from print media to the Internet. He studies the growth of free news media in developing democracies. Over the past 15 years, his work with media professionals has taken him to Iraq, the Arabian peninsula, Russia and Central Asia as a researcher, writer and consultant.

Brad Owens may be contacted at (254) 710-3491 or at


Dr. W. David Clinton, professor of political science

David Clinton studies American foreign policy and international relations. His books include "Presidential Transitions and American Foreign Policy" and "The Two Faces of National Interest."

David Clinton is available at (254) 710-1879 or at


Ben Rogers, director of Baylor Collections of Political Materials, W.R. Poage Legislative Library

Ben Rogers directs the Baylor Collections of Political Materials, a research facility that collects congressional records and personal papers related to political history. The BCPM currently houses the exhibit "Race to the White House," which features an extensive collection of campaign materials from past presidential elections. In an era when political campaigning is highly driven by television and the Internet, Rogers says the exhibit of buttons, bumper stickers, pennants and even the occasional necktie remind Americans of a time when these items were nearly all candidates had to get their name and message to the people and get the vote. The exhibit includes memorabilia from U.S. presidents, such as John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson, as well as some presidential hopefuls, including Barry Goldwater, Wendell Willkie, Eugene McCarthy and Edward Kennedy.

Ben Rogers can be reached at (254) 710-3540 or at


Dr. Susan Bratton, chair of the environmental studies department at Baylor

Susan Bratton is an expert in environmental ethics and species conservation. She also is a viewed as an authority on Christian ecotheology (religion and ecology), with several books on the subject including "Environmental Values in Christian Art" (SUNY Press), "Six Billion and More: Human Population Regulation and Christian Ethics" and "Christianity Wilderness and Wildlife: The Original Desert Solitaire." Bratton can address the impact of Christianity on culture, particularly in regard to the relation of Christianity to views of the natural world.

Susan Bratton can be reached at (254) 710-3405 or


Dr. H. Stephen Gardner, The Herman Brown Professor of Economics and director of the McBride Center for International Business at Baylor

Stephen Gardner has been observing perceptions of our candidates from the perspective of other cultures. As director of the McBride Center for International Business at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, Gardner coordinates Baylor's worldwide educational and research programs in international business and economics. He has performed research in Russia as an IREX Fellow, served as distance education chair for the International Education Consortium for St. Petersburg, and organized numerous international conferences and educational programs.

Stephen Gardner can be reached at (254) 710-6147 or


Dr. Christopher Meyer, assistant professor of management at Baylor

Christopher Meyer teaches negotiation at the Executive, MBA and Undergraduate levels. He is an expert in interpersonal behavior in organizations, particularly in the context of negotiation (including social and psychological determinants of outcomes, third parties and alternative dispute resolution), organizational justice (fairness), and affect and emotions.

Chris Meyer can be reached at (254) 710-3048 or


Dr. John Pisciotta, associate professor of economics at Baylor

John Pisciotta's teaching innovations include a working hydraulic model, the Macroeconomic Tank, and another model, the Economic Balance, to demonstrate the impact of fiscal and monetary policies on inflation and unemployment, and to portray both demand-side and supply-side economics.

John Pisciotta can be reached at (254) 710-6224 or


Dr. Franklin J. Potts, associate professor of finance at Baylor

Franklin J. Potts is an expert in personal and family financial issues such as insurance, investments and financial planning and personal financial decisions (credit). Potts describes the U.S. as a "nation of spending," pointing to the average student credit card debt of $3,000 and average family credit card debt of $9,000.

Franklin Potts can be reached at (254) 710-6151 or


Dr. James Henderson, professor of economics, and Dr. Earl Grinols, Distinguished Professor of Economics at Baylor

James Henderson and Earl Grinols specialize in health care economics. The two discern two separate but related problems with the country's health care system: The first one is that not everyone has health insurance, and the second one is that some people who don't have health insurance cannot afford it. Identifying these as two separate issues helps them find solutions to both problems. The plan that the two researchers designed is woven throughout a hefty manuscript that peers have extensively reviewed. For more on the researchers' proposal, go to

Jim Henderson can be reached at (254) 710-4139 or Earl Grinols can be reached at (254) 710-7522 or

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