Congress from the Inside: Observations from the Majority and the Minority

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9780873387927: Congress from the Inside: Observations from the Majority and the Minority
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“While the larger story is well handled, it’s the details that make this so readable. Not for political junkies alone, but for anyone who enjoys good writing and a good story.”―Kirkus Reviews

“With good humor and a light touch, Brown, at times, gently pokes fun at himself and his colleagues while still maintaining respect for our government as an institution. Brown is an unabashed partisan, but he also goes out of his way at times to provide the reader with what he believes are both sides of an issue. In an era in which sound bites and scandals dominate the news, Brown has provided readers with a very real and rare treat; a well written and reflective book from an insider’s vantage point.”―Northwest Ohio Quarterly

Congress from the Inside has received high praise from the academic and political worlds for its intimate look at Washington politics. Ideal for both classroom and armchair reading, Brown’s book depicts the inner workings and deal-makings of Congress. He walks the reader through the crafting of legislation and tours the offices and meeting rooms where so much of the work of the legislature is done, introducing us to the names and faces of power. With incisive candor, Brown exposes the strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, diversity and elitism of the U. S. Congress.

This third edition of Congress from the Inside is completely revised, updated, and expanded to include five new chapters. Now in his sixth term, Congressman Brown discusses the 2000 election, September 11, and redistricting. He also examines how Congress is influenced by the drug industry, the public health agenda, and the war in Iraq.

Having served six terms as U.S. representative from Ohio’s 13th congressional district, Democrat Sherrod Brown was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006.

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Congress From the Inside is just what the name suggests: a member's-eye view of Congress by Sherrod Brown, a fourth-term, liberal Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Ohio. Brown writes about campaigning in his home district, serving on committees, voting on the floor, and answering constituent mail, as well as presenting his perspective on NAFTA, Bill Clinton's first budget and tax increase, and the effects of the "Republican Revolution" of the 1994 congressional elections. Brown's inside description of the Democratic Party's struggle to deal with their loss of a congressional majority is one of the most vivid and candid sections in the book. Also of note is his reaction to President Bill Clinton's subsequent "snuggling up to (then-Speaker of the House Newt) Gingrich," as the "triangulation" theory espoused by controversial presidential advisor Dick Morris moved Clinton further to the right, creating a rift between the president and congressional Democrats. (It was Brown who quipped at the time, in a remark made in a closed Democratic meeting but reported nationally, that maybe the street in front of the White House, which had been closed to traffic for security purposes, should be reopened.)

While there are no bombshells in Congress from the Inside, Brown's book is reasonably candid for a sitting member of Congress, and he wisely resists the temptation to puff himself up too heavily. But it is a strongly partisan story told from a liberal's perspective, in which the Democrats are always right on the issues. The only time Republicans are right, according to Brown, is when they act like Democrats (as in passing a minimum wage increase or enacting health insurance reform in 1996). Democratic readers will appreciate this book, along with the tantalizing possibility on which it closes--that the congressional elections in 2000 will see the Democrats take back the House, making Brown an influential subcommittee chairman.

About the Author:

Having served six terms as U.S. representative from Ohio’s 13th congressional district, Democrat Sherrod Brown was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006.

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