Home » Deadlock Or Decision: The U. S. Senate And The Rise Of National Politics by Fred R. Harris
Deadlock Or Decision: The U. S. Senate And The Rise Of National Politics Fred R. Harris

Deadlock Or Decision: The U. S. Senate And The Rise Of National Politics

Fred R. Harris

Published June 17th 1993
ISBN : 9780195080254
Hardcover
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 About the Book 

No one understands the U.S. Senate better than Fred Harris. A professor of political science, author of a number of books on government, former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and a former United States Senator from Oklahoma, he hasMoreNo one understands the U.S. Senate better than Fred Harris. A professor of political science, author of a number of books on government, former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and a former United States Senator from Oklahoma, he has both experienced and studied the political process for forty years. Now he distills his understanding into a lively, informative account of the present Senate and its problems. In Deadlock or Decision, Harris provides a far-reaching look at the Senates history, traditions, and operation as he explains the emergence of todays frequent deadlocks. He traces the growth and change of the chamber from its earliest days (when the first senators made a point of looking down on the House of Representatives) through the days of Webster, Clay, and Calhoun, to the height of its prestige as the citadel of democracy in the 1950s (under the firm leadership of Lyndon Johnson). Harris shows how the efficiency of the Senate in Johnsons era was tied to its inward-looking, undemocratic practices: the body had firm traditions, and an emphasis on seniority, that concentrated power and aided decisive action. Today, he writes, power has become fragmented, with greater partisanship, less cooperation, and more individuality as the specialization norm has eroded and senatorial staff has expanded dramatically. Harris links these trends to the advocacy explosion in American politics, with the multiplication of lobbying organizations (which now dish out huge campaign contributions). American society and politics in general, he argues, has become less regional and more nationally unified- Senate campaigns have become events of national significance, and senators arenow expected to be national advocates for issues that affect the entire country. As a result, senators are now much more vulnerable to outside pressure. The irony of todays Senate, Harris writes, is that as the body has become more responsive, it has become less responsible - an