The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

House Democrats report on Republican rule in the

As a research topic, the House is less attractive than the Senate - certainly for kibitzers like your humble blogger, but also, I get the impression, for academics, too.

A real downer is the number of names to recognise (or rather, not recognise); plus the fact that discipline has tended, even before 1995, to be tighter in the House, allowing for fewer nerdworthy roll calls [1].

Thus the bulk of the attention paid to Congress here is to the Senate.

But - the Dems on the House Rules Committee have produced what looks like a useful report (PDF) under the somewhat hyperbolic title Broken Promises: The Death of Deliberative Democracy.

In describing the various manoeuvres employed by the GOP leadership to restrict debate, it provides the essential bill and resolution numbers without which THOMAS, to all intents, cannot be made to work - which Big Media sites almost never provide! - plus some interesting quotes - as from Dick Cheney in 1989 [2]:
In the United States, majority control over the rules is used not to enhance partisan accountability but to screen members from being accountable for exercising partisan power.

  1. Roll call votes are only a tiny percentage of decisions in each house. But they're what counts, research-wise - on the Willie Sutton principle.

  2. Page 18a - I hadn't realised Cheney had been Minority Whip.


I've also been meaning to note Analyzing Congress by Charles Stewart, a 2000 book which, for reasons unexplained, is available online [1] (but for how long?).

It's announced as The first undergraduate Congress text written from a rational-choice perspective - and, while I've only really skimmed it, it looks worth perservering with. And the approach meshes with the Poole and Rosenthal system for measuring ideology in Congress (of which Voteview and DW-NOMINATE - both much mentioned here recently - form part), which is discussed in the final chapter.

  1. Chapter 1 is here (PDF). For the other eight chapters, doctor the URL - stripping the URL back is barred, naturally, so no index page.

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