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Party Wars: Polarization and the Politics of National Policy Making (The Julian J. Rothbaum Distinguished Lecture Series)

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0806137797
ISBN-10: 0806137797
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Barbara Sinclair is Marvin Hoffenberg Professor of American Politics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is the author of Unorthodox Lawmaking: New Legislative Processes in the U.S. Congress.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Julian J. Rothbaum Distinguished Lecture Series (Book 10)
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (May 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806137797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806137797
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Students of Congress will well know the works of Barbara Sinclair. She has written some of the best work on changes in Congressional decision-making. In this book, she tackles a wider issue--the genesis and consequences of increasing partisan polarization in national policy making. Her analysis is right on the mark.

She begins by noting the changes in Congress from the era of Sam Rayburn to the rise of Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House. Congress moved from an era of bipartisanship, where Speaker of the House and Minority Leader worked together in a (more or less) bipartisan manner. Representative Bob Michel, the Republican Minority leader, for instance, learned to work with the parade of Democratic Speakers, so that Republicans at least had some role in the policy making process (even though clearly as junior partners).

As time went on, this eroded, as Republicans, with Newt Gingrich as one spokesman, no longer being content to play "second fiddle." The combination of greater ideological differences between the parties, a certain degree of arrogance among Democratic leaders, the increased centralization of power in leaders as a result of the "revolution" of the 1970s all led to increasingly partisan and nasty infighting. In the Senate, the situation was less pronounced, but the evolution was along the same lines. As a further part of the picture has been the increasing differentiation of the parties' core supporters in the electorate by ideology and the increasing differences between party activists. The long and the short of it is that a variety of factors led to increasing partisanship.

Currently, the atmosphere, as Sinclair notes it, is poisonous. Parties have gone, in her terms, from "fluid coalitions" to "armed camps.
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Format: Paperback
This provides an excellent overview of the polarization literature and provides new and interesting analysis.

I should note also that the first review of this book was perhaps the most unprofessional review that I've ever seen. Entering a review of a book you've never read? Incredibly arrogant.
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Format: Paperback
I agree with Professor Peterson's intelligent review and also believe people who have not read a book should not review it as JohnB has tried to do. Barbara Sinclair is a terrific scholar and doesn't deserve to be attacked by such people. This is an excellent and under appreciated book. I create educational websites (nonprofit).

Other good books and information on US history here:

mwir-ushistory.blogspot.com/
Midwest Independent Research
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By JohnB on July 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have not read this book. However, using Amazon.com's feature for exploring the index of the hard cover edition I find no entry for 911, September 11, World Trade Center, Pentagon, or USA Patriot Act, hence nothing on the 911 Commission Report. So I am lead to think that from a reading of this book you would never know that an attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon ever took place, or had any political significance.

No doubt this book is a useful study of Party Wars, but not useful enough for me to buy it.
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