Vital Statistics on Congress, 1982

Vital Statistics on Congress, 1982

Vital Statistics on Congress, 1982

Vital Statistics on Congress, 1982

Excerpt

"Congress is the best known and the least understood of our national political institutions." That statement will probably win you a consensus. "Congress is the most fascinating of our national political institutions." That statement will probably get you an argument. But it will quickly flush out those legions of Congress watchers who derive much of their education or their enjoyment or their exasperation from following the activities of the legislative branch. Congress watchers come in many varieties, from political science students who are required to pay attention to Congress to political junkies who cannot imagine life without it. In between are a host of people who do a lot of thinking about Congress, people whose professional lives are tied to the institution--teachers, journalists, staffers, politicians, consultants, lobbyists, and legislators themselves. It if for all such people that this book has been written.

Congress may never rival the weather or baseball as a staple of casual conversation in America. Maybe that is just as well. Those who like to talk about Congress certainly lack the statistical base provided by the Weather Bureau and the Sporting News . As one senator commented in a recent interview, "People have asked me how to make the Senate more interesting. I tell them that you need to keep the kinds of statistics that they keep about baseball, the ones I devoured as a boy." No doubt widespread interest precedes the development of statistics in such matters. But the collection and presentation of statistics surely enlivens whatever interest already exists and probably expands it. Further, the existence of more and better statistics probably raises the level of conversation and improves the sense of perspective on the subject. Such, at least, is the hope of the authors of Vital Statistics on Congress, 1982 .

As every Congress watcher knows, our national legislature is a decentralized and fragmented institution. It should come as no surprise, therefore, to find that the development of statistics about Congress has been an equally decentralized and fragmented enterprise. What, we might ask, do Michael Barone, Charles Brownson . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.