TNR Contest: Grade One of Rick Santorum’s College Papers

by Molly Redden | February 28, 2012

[Guest post by Molly Redden]

In the course of my reporting on Rick Santorum’s college years, a political science professor of his, Bob O’Connor, gave me a copy of a 17-page term paper he co-wrote for an independent study his senior year, “Political Action Committees in Pennsylvania: A Survey of Their Structure and Effects.” The essay summarizes the operations and influence of business, union, and ideological PACs in the Keystone State’s politics.

Obviously, this calls for a reader contest: Grade Rick Santorum’s paper! Read the full essay, give it a grade (“A” through “F”), and explain your reasoning. Subscribers can write below in the comments section; all others, share your thoughts at [email protected]. Later this week, we’ll publish the best demonstrations of poli-sci pedagogy.

Here’s the link to his paper.

Professor O’Connor’s assessment of the paper appears after the jump. Cheating will result in zero credit!

Bob O’Connor says he can’t be completely sure how he scored the paper. But, noting that Santorum and his partner put a lot of work into the essay—interviewing almost three-dozen Pennsylvania lawmakers, staffers, and political operatives—and that he was so impressed he circulated parts of the paper to local lawmakers, O’Connor’s pretty confident that Santorum secured an “A.”

Molly Redden is a reporter-researcher for The New Republic.

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