pp. 366-368

Congress: A Performance Appraisal, Andrew J. Taylor

Reviewed by Laurel Harbridge

BUY

   Facebook

   Twitter

   E-mail
 

To say that Congress is unpopular in recent years would be an understatement. The public associates Congress with scandal and partisanship, and members do little to buttress institutional approval. Andrew Taylor uses these patterns of low institutional approval as the motivation to examine whether public dissat­isfaction with Congress is justified. By providing “foundational aspirations” (p. 23) of what we ought to want from Congress, Taylor creates a number of concrete benchmarks that are then evaluated. Of the 37 benchmarks, he finds that Congress meets (or largely meets) 25 and only fails to meet 12. Thus, Congress is largely doing what it should do as a representative lawmaking institution.

Although thought‐provoking and accessible to a wide range of audiences, this book has two limitations. The first is on the “so what?” question. If the public evaluates Congress on the basis of perceptions—either ignorant of the functions that it successfully meets or ambivalent about these benchmarks—of what consequence is it that Taylor’s assessment shows optimism about con­gressional representation and legislative processes? Here, a growing body of research (for example, David Jones and Monika McDermott’s Americans, Congress, and Democratic Responsiveness:

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

Why Washington Won’t Work, Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph
Reviewed by Laurel Harbridge

Political Ideologies and Political Parties in America, Hans Noel
Reviewed by Laurel Harbridge

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

From the Archives

LONDON TERRORIST ATTACK

Tactical Advantages of Terror

RICHARD BETTS applies offense-defense theory to explain the intense advantages that terrorist groups have in launching offensive strikes and in exploiting the defenses that a nation can put up in this era of globalization and asymmetric warfare.

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

New APS Book

Continuing Issues in U.S. National Security Policy   CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected
newsstand locator
About APS