|the history of seniority more fully. See also Michael Abram and Joseph Cooper. "The Rise of Seniority in the House of Representatives," Polity, I (Fall 1968), pp. 52-85.|
|5.||Nelson W. Polsby, "Two Strategies of Influence; Choosing a Majority Leader, 1962," In R. L. Peabody and N. W. Polsby, eds., New Perpectives on the House of Representatives ( Chicago: Rand McNally, 1963), p. 244.|
|6.||Different points of view on the nature of the Senate are expressed by William S. White, The Citadel ( New York: Harper, 1956); Donald Matthews , U.S. Senators and Their World (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1960); Joseph S. Clark, et al., The Senate Establishment ( New York: Hill and Wang, 1963); and Ralph K. Huitt and Robert L. Peabody, Congress: Two Decades of Analysis ( New York: Harper and Row, 1969), especially pp. 159-208.|
|7.||A more familiar view of Senate specialization may be found in Matthews, op. cit., pp. 95-97.|
|8.||These stages are inspired by Harold D. Lasswell's "The Decision Process: Seven Categories of Functional Analysis," reprinted in N. W. Polsby, R. A. Dentler, and V. Smith, eds., Politics and Social Life ( Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1963), pp. 93-105.|
|9.||The only scholar who seems to have devoted close attention in recent years to the professional capabilities of committee staff is John F. Manley , who has looked with some care into tax policy. See his "Congressional Staff and Public Policy-Making: The Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation," Journal of Politics, XXX ( November, 1968), pp. 1046-1067. Manley gives very high marks to the staff of the Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation, in particular for its even-handedness under the present staff director, Lawrence Woodworth, in dealing with members of the Committee alike who are defenders and critics of current tax policy. This was far less true, Manley reports, under Woodworth's predecessor, the legendary Colin F. Stam. Under both the Stam and the Woodworth regimes the Committee staff has enjoyed a high reputation for technical accuracy in forecasting.|
|10.||The Select Committee on Government Research of the U.S. House of Representatives ( 1963-64) under the chairmanship of Representative Carl Elliott used this device. I know of no published evaluation of the efficacy of the Committee's General Advisory Committee, but I have the impression from talking with members of the Committee, advisors, and staff that the net effect of the advisory committee was to help. No doubt other committees have experimented from time to time with similar bodies.|
|11.||I am aware that a small number of programs like this are currently operating. I think it would be useful to see an evaluation of their effects. This recommendation reflects my judgment that such an evaluation would be strongly favorable.|
Michael J. Harrington. The politics of gun control.
In April 1971, a special assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury named G. Gordon Liddy represented the Administration in a panel at the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association. Liddy, described by the NRA's magazine the American Rifleman as an "attorney, conservationist, and pistol shooter," told his audience that the Administration opposed gun registration and had established an "open, clear dialogue" between the White House and the firearms field. "High ranking members of the White House staff," he pointed out, "have already held two mutually helpful conferences at the White House with representatives of firearms organizations, manufacturers, and gun publications."
The NRA and Its allies are doing well in their battle to frustrate advocates of gun control in this country. Yet it seems to me that the so-called gun lobby remains an enigma to its opponents, who feel on much firmer ground in analyzing the oil lobby, them dairy lobby, the highway lobby and the AMA. Most lobbies represent readily definable business interests, and that makes them easy to understand and criticize. General knowledge of the gun lobby is more limited: its sources of funds, the nature of its political tactics, the base of its members--even its motives--are difficult to pin down.
The lobby's shadowy image is perhaps one major reason that the issue of gun control itself is so perplexing. Environmentalists have won some modest victories over the oil companies in the 1970s, and consumer advocates have forced some setbacks on the car manufacturers, but citizen activists have made little headway on gun control. To understand why, it is necessary to consider not only the lobby but the qualities of procontrol advocates, the attitudes of the American public, and the nature of Congressional response to organized and disorganized group interests.