The "Discovery" of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Lessons in the Practice of Political Medicine

By Abraham B. Bergman | Go to book overview

7
THE MONDALE HEARINGS

On January 25, 1972, the Subcommittee on Children and Youth, of the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare held a hearing on "the problem of sudden infant death in the United States." It was "part of the subcommittee's continuing examination of the rights of children -- 1972" or so read the official announcement, as if congressional hearings allow for scholarly systematic examination of anything.

Of all the complex operations of Congress, hearings probably are the most misunderstood. Our legislators go to great lengths to keep it that way. Most people look upon hearings as judicial proceedings where evidence is presented, received, and passed upon in a dispassionate manner. This perception is far from the truth. No congressional hearing ever is convened without some predetermined political end in mind. Invariably that end benefits the committee chairman, who holds almost absolute control over the agenda and the list of witnesses. To keep the legislative machinery greased, the ranking minority member is usually "consulted," but the chairman runs the show. Aside from having a minimum term of six years instead of just two, the biggest attraction of holding a Senate seat as opposed to a position in the House is the chance for each senator to chair some committee. Just about every member of the Senate, no matter how junior, gets to be a chairman or ranking minority member (depending on one's party) of some subcommittee. Not so in the House where there's a long waiting list for every chairmanship.

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The "Discovery" of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Lessons in the Practice of Political Medicine
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Appendixes x
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 1
  • 2 - What is Sids? 8
  • 3 - Disturbing the Peace 18
  • 4 - The Battle Plan 29
  • 5 - The Power of Warren Magnuson 41
  • 6 - Sensitizing Professionals 50
  • 7 - The Mondale Hearings 57
  • 8 - Campaigning on the Local Level 68
  • 9 - Our Nader Report"" 81
  • 10 - The Satisficers 93
  • 11 - House Hearings 101
  • 12 - Senate Hearings: Second Round 107
  • 13 117
  • 14 - Implementation: Pushing on a Rope 124
  • 15 - Keeping the Foundation Afloat 136
  • 16 - Collaborating with Nimh 146
  • 17 - A Dual System for Helping Families 152
  • 18 - The Mobilization Contract 163
  • 19 - Calling the Cops 172
  • Epilogue 184
  • Glossary of Names 197
  • Appendix I 203
  • Appendix II 206
  • Appendix III 209
  • Appendix VI 211
  • Appendix V 214
  • Appendix VI 216
  • Appendix VII 218
  • Appendix VIII 221
  • Index 233
  • About the Author 239
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