By Richard F. Fenno
Notwithstanding a lot politicians are demeaned and denounced in smooth American society, our democracy couldn't paintings with no them. consequently, says Richard Fenno, their actions warrant our cognizance. In his pioneering publication, Home Style, Fenno confirmed shut examine politicians at paintings of their districts can let us know greatly in regards to the technique of illustration. the following, Fenno employs a equally revealing grassroots method of discover how styles of illustration have replaced in fresh decades.
Fenno makes a speciality of contributors of the U.S. apartment of Representatives who represented an analogous west-central Georgia district at diversified occasions: Jack Flynt, who served from the Fifties to the Seventies, and Mac Collins, who has held the seat within the Nineties. His on-the-scene statement in their differing representational styles--Flynt specializes in humans, Collins on policy--reveals the ways that social and demographic alterations encourage shifts in representational suggestions.
More than a examine of representational swap in a single district, Congress on the Grassroots additionally is helping remove darkness from the bigger topic of political swap within the South and within the state as a whole.
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Extra resources for Congress at the Grassroots: Representational Change in the South, 1970-1998
All representatives will adopt a mixture of styles consisting of some personal goals leading to personal connections and some policy goals leading to policy connections. The inference I drew from observing Flynt’s behavior, however, was that he had long since made a deﬁnite choice in favor of the former. It is hard to make an airtight case that Flynt deliberately chose the person-intensive, personal accessibility representational strategy described here. He certainly behaved as if he had. The case is strengthened, however, if he behaved as if he had deliberately rejected the most prominent alternative strategy, a policy-intensive, policy advocacy representational style.
Jack Flynt, 1970–1972 33 Speeches Had Flynt chosen to articulate or advocate his positions on public policy, he would have done so in his public appearances. In my ﬁrst two visits, I heard him deliver ﬁve speeches, but only one had any overt policy content. The one exception was a 1970 evening presentation at West Georgia College in Carroll County. ’’ Indeed, he prevailed upon me to delay my departure so that I could provide him with ‘‘cover’’ in the unfamiliar academic setting. At dinner, however, he warmed to his companions in his best person-to-person style, reaching out to the faculty by wrapping himself in their values.
By his lights, this was true. He did, indeed, enjoy the leeway he had so laboriously negotiated with his constituency. The examples he cited, however, suggested that his leeway existed mostly on matters that did not threaten the consensus or on matters where his information was recognizably superior to that of his constituents. For example, in support of his assertion that ‘‘I have taken unpopular stands and then swung them around to my way of thinking,’’ he cited a vote to uphold President Eisenhower’s veto of a public works bill.
Congress at the Grassroots: Representational Change in the South, 1970-1998 by Richard F. Fenno