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Both Ends of the Avenue

Presidency, the Executive Branch and Congress in the 1980s

Edited by Anthony King
By (author) King
Format: Paperback
Publisher: AEI Press, Washington DC, United States
Published: 31st May 1987
Dimensions: w 150mm h 230mm
ISBN-10: 0844734977
ISBN-13: 9780844734972
Barcode No: 9780844734972

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Kirkus US
Nine respectable, mainstream social scientists discourse variously on the Reagan administration's effective relations with Congress. Nelson Polsby (Berkeley/Consequences of Party Reform) notes that the congressional-presidential relationship changes with each election, since a new congressional coalition must be formed on the basis of the new numbers, and points out too that a new "presidential branch" has emerged in the White House, alongside the traditional executive branch (the departments and agencies). Hugh Heclo (Harvard/A Government of Strangers) maintains that the "new group politics" necessitates the "precooking" of legislation through advance collaboration with Congress. Eric Davis (Middlebury) credits Eisenhower with establishing a formal congressional liaison team (after the Democrats' long sway, he expected to be deluged with Republican wants) - but it was Lawrence O'Brien, working for JFK and LBJ, who turned the practice into an art. The post-Watergate easing of Capitol-White House tensions, he thinks, will make the life of the congressional liaison eaiser. Taking a somewhat divergent tack, Austin Ranney (American Enterprise Institute) observes that the most successful presidents have appeared to be the least partisan: with the parties relatively undisciplined, support has to be garnered from segments of both. Norbert Ornstein (Catholic U.) similarly avers that the breakdown of the old, tight congressional leadership, and its replacement by the "open" Congress, makes the President's own ability as a coalition-builder more important. All agree that Reagan, the "communicator," is an exemplar in congressional relations, while Carter was completely inept. As a public-policy reader, this will serve for certain academic purposes - but Elizabeth Drew's Politics and Money (above) comes much closer to calling the actual shots. (Kirkus Reviews)