The Interest Group Connection: Electioneering, Lobbying, and Policymaking in Washington

By Paul S. Herrnson; Ronald G. Shaiko et al. | Go to book overview

Comments on the Congressional Connection

Jack Bonner and Howard Marlowe


Jack Bonner, Bonner and Associates

We are putting Congress, interest groups, and lobbyists under a microscope at a very historic time. Today's Congress is doing things that have not been done before, and interest groups have had an important role in this development. We can gain insights into the roles of interest groups in contemporary congressional politics by drawing lessons from American political history. We can also deepen our understanding of how Congress and its members behave by trying to put ourselves into the mind-set of a typical member.

Health-care reform is the epitome of special interest politics. This issue has been on the political agenda for a long time and played up by every group in town. Some turn up the rhetoric to make it seem like a life-anddeath matter. Once President Clinton took office, "inside the Beltway" special interest groups--the ones that most people in Washington pay so much attention to--were making the case for health-care reform, leading everyone to presume it was going to pass. Yet, what members of Congress began to hear from some interest groups and citizens back home, some of whom wrote in spontaneously, was distinctly out of step with what they were hearing from many high-powered Washington lobbyists. As members received more messages from constituents expressing their fear about what might happen to the nation's health-care system, they began to withdraw their support for the president's program. Consequently, this major policy proposal, which would have affected one-seventh of the nation's economy, was defeated. And, it was killed entirely. Other major issues, such as welfare reform and the budget, would be subject to compromise, but health

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The Interest Group Connection: Electioneering, Lobbying, and Policymaking in Washington
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Preface vii
  • Comments on the Electoral Connection 80
  • Part III the Congressional Connection 87
  • 6 the Dynamics of Lobbying the Hill 89
  • 7 Grassroots Organizations and Equilibrium Cycles in Group Mobilization and Access 100
  • 10 Interest Groups and the Congressional Budget Process: Lobbying in the Era of Deficit Politics 154
  • Acknowledgments 173
  • Notes 173
  • 11 Tobacco Industry Pacs and the Nation's Health: A Second Opinion 174
  • Comments on the Congressional Connection 196
  • Part IV the Executive Connection 203
  • 12 Lobbying the President and the Bureaucracy 205
  • Notes 213
  • Notes 223
  • 14 Lobbying for the President: Influencing Congress from the White House 224
  • Notes 238
  • Notes 256
  • Comments on the Executive Connection 258
  • Part V the Judicial Connection 265
  • Acknowledgments 287
  • Notes 287
  • 17 Please God, Save This Honorable Court: the Emergence of the Conservative Religious Bar 289
  • Acknowledgment 300
  • Notes 300
  • Notes 302
  • Notes 316
  • Comments on the Judicial Connection 318
  • Part VI Conclusion 325
  • 19 Interest Groups at the Dawn of a New Millennium 327
  • References 337
  • Index 361
  • About the Contributors 374
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