16.Norms

16.Norms - Congress: Careers, Expertise, Influence 1 The...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: Congress: Careers, Expertise, Influence 1 The New Member Switch to Congress in Washington. Setup: What its like to be a new Member of Congress. The campaign: You know that piece, a strange combination of being both (1) larger than life and (2) subject to abuse. Election Night: The winning candidate is a hero, surrounded by a throng of supporters (never before seen participating in the campaign). Now the member is only larger than life; no longer on the campaign trail, no longer being abused. You give a speech talking about how you are going to change the federal government. A reasonable person, subject to this treatment, rapidly begins thinking of him/her self as just about the most important person in the world. Reporters, whose interest you couldnt buy during the campaign, now want to have long chats about how the member intends to rebuild American government. Then DC, Jan 20: You are one of 435 members. But you dont have 1/435 th of the power. Its much less than that, because you are junior , a freshman . Party leaders ask you to list your committee assignment preferences. You put down Appropriations (spending, the ultimate source of congressional power), Ways and Means (taxes), Judiciary, etc. ... and you get DC, Merchant Marine and Fisheries, Post Office and Civil Service. Note: DC, merchant marine and Fisheries, and Post Office and Civil Ser- vice were abolished in the latest round of committee reorganization. The replacements are just as bad, but the names are less colorful. How committee rooms arranged? The floor: when do you speak? Bottom line: You came to DC to have influence and have discovered that 1 you are a nobody. Q. What do you do to get influence? ..... 2 Structure of Lectures Much of what Congress, British Parliament, etc. do is simply translate in- fluence flowing from other sources, such as public opinion. That part is important, (indeed it is my lifetime research agenda) but it isnt illuminating of Congress. Understanding the institution doesnt help much when it is merely responding to influence from other sources. 2.1 Constitutional Design Physical Analogy: water through a pipe Most of what comes out can be understood simply from knowing what went in. But not all: all the water comes through, but the pipe distorts its flow; the design and configuration of the pipe make a difference in rate of flow, turbulence, and so forth. Whats interesting about the pipeand about Congressis the difference that its own structure makes, how what comes out is different than what it would have been if other structures had been in place. 2 2.2 Restrictiveness Part of that effect, its restrictiveness, is very much by design. The founders designed a set of institutions that would move slowly: They feared the public at large as a mob, not to be trusted The Presidency they created was an analogue to King George, and they feared runaway executive power a great deal....
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 11/27/2011 for the course POLI 100 taught by Professor Rabinowitz during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

Page1 / 9

16.Norms - Congress: Careers, Expertise, Influence 1 The...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 4. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online