I have come to the conclusion that the ability to do general research – really elementary data-mining stuff, that is – is ridiculously rare among political types. At least, I keep running into people who can’t do any, at any level whatsoever.
I suggest that the VRWC remedy this forthwith. Next time any of you are hiring, pass over the damn poly sci majors for a change and go find yourself somebody with a library science background. They’re typically the sort to be good at general research, they’ve had training in database and information management theory – and you can get them pretty darn cheaply, too. Library science pays about what you’d expect in a profession whose members typically half-consider themselves to have a vocation, instead*.
Seriously, there’s both a need, and an opportunity, there.
*An attitude that I had myself, until I abruptly left grad school in the Nineties… only to discover that almost having an MLS was worth an extra 10K when it came to starting salaries.