The Almanac of American Politics, 2008 Paperback – Oct 29 2007
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"The Bible of American politics." - George Will "The ultimate guide for political junkies like you and me." - Tim Russert, Meet the Press "Michael Barone is to politics what statistician-writer Bill James is to baseball, a mix of historian, social observer, and numbers cruncher who illuminates his subject with perspective and a touch of irreverence." - Chicago Tribune "Indispensable.... This compendium of statistics and information has gone as far as humanly possible." - Washington Post "It's simply the oxygen of the political world. We have the most dogeared copy in town." - Judy Woodruff, CNN "The single best reference there is for Congress and Washington specifically and the country generally." - Jim Lehrer, The NewsHour"
About the Author
Richard E. Cohen has thirty years of experience covering Capitol Hill as National Journal’s congressional correspondent. The author of a biography of former Representative Dan Rostenkowski, in 1990 he won the prestigious Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting on Congress.
Top Customer Reviews
Voting records and districts of the members are analyzed in this book to provide the very latest political profile of every member of the Congress and Senate.
Additionally, the book provides the latest information on the governors of all 50 states as well as the names of all the constitutional officers and the political makeup of the legislatures of all 50 States.
Even though the researcher/lobbyist or citizen owning this book will want to upgrade the book every two years to stay current, old editions of this book are also valuble as historic records on how a particular long-term member may have voted on a particular issue years before. All with an eye towards predicting how that member will vote on a current issue before Congress.
At first I thought it was an interestingly unique take on events, but I soon noticed that it was largely skewed toward praising Republican tax-cutters and making backhanded compliments (or outright mistatements) about Democrats.
For example, in the introduction (under a subheading labelled "taxes") , he says "most Democrats oppose the tax cut not because of its fiscal effect - who knows what the fiscal situation will be in 2010? - but because as one Democrat put it, 'I want the government to have the money'." He very kindly adds "this is a principled position" in the next sentence to make him look fair, noting in backhand complimentary fashion how Democrats want "large government." But finding some Democrat who will repeat what you want him to say is not real reporting. Most Democrats would say they opposed the tax cuts because 1. the economy was tanking, 2. we were at war and needed the money, and 3. they were going to rich people, not the middle class.
As for "larger government," Democrats simply take seriously Thomas Jefferson's words "To secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." We Democrats want government to make sure some company doesn't dump lead in our water, or some state doesn't beat up minorities, or whatever else needs protecting. But forget getting Barone to understand that. Just goes to show, you shouldn't ask someone's enemy to explain their position to you.
This flaw runs through the whole book.Read more ›
So what earns this book a 5/5? Well, it puts all sorts of information in one place. Racial demographics of congressional districts, bios of legislators, and financial information are all available in this book, and easily found since Barone organizes all information by state. An index is provided if you're unsure of what CD a particular Congressman might be in.
Purchasing this book also gives you access to the Almanac's website, which gives you electronic versions of the last few editions of the almanac as well as the current one. What would be nice is if National Journal offered this online access at a lower price in lieu of purchasing the book... but overall, it's a must have for anyone that follows politics.
The Alamanac of American Politics created a new and more accurate paradigm. The workings of Congress, it said, were comprehensible to informed and intelligent people. The personalities of Members of Congress, while occasionally idiosyncratic, were generally integrated with the purposeful actions members of Congress were taking on behalf of their geographical constituencies, their supporters, and their visions of local and national interests.
In short, Members of Congress were rational actors acting within both a geographic and national context. Tip O'Neill's famous saying--"All politics are local"--was only partly true. All politics was also national. Citizens with national goals only had to find citizens with local sensitivites who shared their national goals to oppose incumbent Members of Congress.
Congress is a far more competitive and short-tenured organization than it was before this series was written.
Without The Almanac of American Politics, there would have been far fewer anti-war and pro-enviroment challenges in the early 1970's. The Democratic gains of 1974 and 1976 would have been far less sweeping. So would the Republican gains of 1980, 1994, and 2002. Had this series never been written, you never would have heard of Newt Gingrich.
The compilation of information can be a profoundly political act.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
As a self-confessed political junkie and political science/history major, I cannot be without this book. Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2004 by Ben
As he's done for the past 30 years, Mr Barone & company give us a decent snapshot of each district, member of Congress and Governor. Read morePublished on Oct. 26 2003 by M. Potter
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