Beyond Ideology: Politics, Principles, and Partisanship in the U. S. Senate

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University of Chicago Press, Dec 15, 2009 - Political Science - 264 pages

The congressional agenda, Frances Lee contends, includes many issues about which liberals and conservatives generally agree. Even over these matters, though, Democratic and Republican senators tend to fight with each other. What explains this discord? Beyond Ideology argues that many partisan battles are rooted in competition for power rather than disagreement over the rightful role of government.

The first book to systematically distinguish Senate disputes centering on ideological questions from the large proportion of them that do not, this volume foregrounds the role of power struggle in partisan conflict. Presidential leadership, for example, inherently polarizes legislators who can influence public opinion of the president and his party by how they handle his agenda. Senators also exploit good government measures and floor debate to embarrass opponents and burnish their own party’s image—even when the issues involved are broadly supported or low-stakes. Moreover, Lee contends, the congressional agenda itself amplifies conflict by increasingly focusing on issues that reliably differentiate the parties. With the new president pledging to stem the tide of partisan polarization, Beyond Ideology provides a timely taxonomy of exactly what stands in his way.

 

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Contents

Untangling the Roots of Congressional Partisanship
1
A Conceptual History
24
Ideological Disagreement and Teamsmanship
47
Presidential Leadership and Legislative Partisanship
74
5 The Partisan Politics of Good Government
103
IntraParty Dealmaking and Partisan Bloc Voting
131
Agenda Content and Rising Partisanship
162
Returning to Politics
181
Coding the Presidential Agenda Status of RollCall Votes
195
Does Party Polarization on an Issue Topic Increase the Likelihood that Presidents Will Include the Issue on Their Agenda?
211
Estimates of Multinomial Logit Model of Partisan Voting Patterns on Senate RollCall Votes 19812004
213
Notes
215
References
231
Index
245
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About the author (2009)

Frances Lee is associate professor in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland.

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