Cover image for Great theatre : the American Congress in the 1990s
Great theatre : the American Congress in the 1990s
Weisberg, Herbert F.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, England ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xviii, 317 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Theatre in the round : Congress in action / Herbert F. Weisberg and Samuel C. Patterson -- Representation in Congress : line drawing and minorities / Kenny J. Whitby and Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. -- Unsympathetic audience : citizens' evaluations of Congress / Samuel C. Patterson and David C. Kimball -- Back from intermission : the 1994 elections and the return to divided government / Dean Lacy -- Directing 535 leading men and leading ladies : party leadership in the modern Congress / Paul S. Herrnson -- Little theatre : committees in Congress / Tim Groseclose and David C. King -- The unfolding drama : party and ideology in the 104th House / Barry C. Burden and Aage R. Clausen -- The plot thickens : Congress and the president / Barbara Sinclair -- Congress and the courts : a case of casting / Elliot E. Slotnick and Sheldon Goldman -- Behind the scenes : the Supreme Court and Congress in statutory interpretation / Lori Hausegger and Lawrence Baum -- Congress and foreign policy : a neglected stage / Randall B. Ripley -- "The play's the thing" : Congress and the future / Samuel C. Patterson and Herbert F. Weisberg.
Corporate Subject:

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JK1021 .G74 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The 104th Congress, the first in four decades to be Republican-controlled, may prove to have ushered in an era of party dominance by congressional Republicans, or to be a transitory aberration. Either way, the 104th is a watershed in congressional history. Using the theatre metaphor to characterize the actions of Congress and to help make the institution more understandable, Congressional life and behaviour is dissected and placed in the broader context of changes in Congress in the 1990s. The contributors evaluate the way members of Congress play to the media and the larger audience, the electorate; analyze leadership roles in a cast of 535 'leading players'; evaluate the committee systems as 'little theatre'; and analyze relations among the various branches of government. Herbert Weisberg and Samuel Patterson conclude the presentation by reminding us that in Congress, 'the play's the thing'.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Using the metaphor of Congress as theater, editors Weisberg and Patterson and 15 other authors explore various aspects of change in the 104th and 105th congresses. Their book expands on earlier studies of the 104th Congress such as Linda Killian's The Freshmen: What Happened to the Republican Revolution (CH, Oct'98) and Nicol Rae's Conservative Reformers: The Republican Freshmen and the Lessons of the 104th Congress (CH, Nov.'98). Other works on recent changes in Congress are Barbara Sinclair's Unorthodox Lawmaking (CH, Nov'97), Legislators, Leaders, and Lawmaking (CH, Nov'95), and Steven Smith and Christopher Deering's Committees in Congress (1997). Looking at recent developments in redistricting, public perceptions of Congress, the effects of divided government, party leadership, committees and their roles, partisanship and ideology, congressional relations with the president and the courts, and Congress and foreign policy, the authors conclude that while Congress makes for good theater, change in recent Congresses has still been more evolutionary than revolutionary. A good book to bring students of Congress up to date on what has been happening there over the last decade. Recommended for all college and university collections. C. P. Chelf; Western Kentucky University

Table of Contents

Figures and tables
Part I Introduction
1 Theatre in the round: congress in actionHerbert F. Weisberg and Samuel C. Patterson
Part II Congress and its Audience
2 Representation in congress: line drawing and minoritiesKenny J. Whitby and Franklin D. Gilliam Jr
3 Unsympathetic audience: citizens' evaluations of congressSamuel C. Patterson and David C. Kimball
4 Back from intermission: the 1994 elections and the return to divided governmentDean Lacy
Part III Congress at Play
5 Directing 535 leading men and leading ladies: party leadership in the modern congressPaul S. Herrnson
6 Little theatre: committees in congress Tim GrosecloseDavid C. King
7 The unfolding drama: party and ideology in the 104th houseBarry C. Burden and Aage R. Clausen
Part IV Congress and Other Actors
8 The plot thickens: congress and the presidentBarbara Sinclair
9 Congress and the courts: a case of castingElliot E. Slotnick and Sheldon Goldman
10 Behind the scenes: the Supreme Court and congress in statutory interpretationLori Hausegger and Lawrence Baum
11 Congress and foreign policy: a neglected stageRandall B. Ripley
Part V Conclusion
12 'The play's the thing': congress and the futureSamuel C. Patterson and Herbert F. Weisberg