Term Limits and Their Consequences: The Aftermath of Legislative Reform

SUNY Press
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Legislative term limits remain a controversial feature of the American political landscape. Term Limits and Their Consequences provides a clear, comprehensive, and nonpartisan look at all aspects of this contentious subject. Stanley M. Caress and Todd T. Kunioka trace the emergence of the grassroots movement that supported term limits and explain why the idea of term limits became popular with voters. At the same time, they put term limits into a broader historical context, illustrating how they are one of many examples of the public’s desire to reform government. Utilizing an impressive blend of quantitative data and interviews, Caress and Kunioka thoughtfully discuss the impact of term limits, focusing in particular on the nation’s largest state, California. They scrutinize voting data to determine if term limits have altered election outcomes or the electoral chances of women and minority candidates, and reveal how restricting a legislator’s time in office has changed political careers and ambitions. Designed to transform American politics, term limits did indeed bring change, but in ways ranging far beyond those anticipated by both their advocates and detractors.
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About the author

Stanley M. Caress is Professor of Political Science at the University of West Georgia and the author of Dynamics of American Politics.

Todd T. Kunioka is a statistical analyst for Los Angeles County and teaches Political Science at Cerritos College in California.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Sep 7, 2012
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Pages
205
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ISBN
9781438443065
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / State & Local / General
Political Science / American Government / Legislative Branch
Political Science / American Government / State
Political Science / Political Process / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Legislative term limits are reshaping the political landscape in numerous states; however, few of the effects are consistent across all states. Everything from the political environment to the level of legislative professionalism within a state influences the trends that are often attributed to term limits. To cut through these many trends and isolate the ones most likely created by term limits, this volume develops comparisons of states with term limits to similar states without term limits. The comparisons are organized by levels of legislative professionalism. The richness of the case study approach allows the contributors to Legislating Without Experience to offer valuable insights into the legislative process in each of the specific states. They also illuminate the individual idiosyncrasies that enhance or dilute the effects of term limits in a given state. Rarely does a case study book with multiple contributors offer apples-to-apples data comparisons. This project engaged nationally recognized scholars to collect and analyze comparable data in each state. The loss of major power brokers and their institutional memory makes the legislature a more chaotic place. Legislating Without Experience argues that on the whole, the legislature as an institution has been weakened by term limits. However, these effects vary from state to state based on the specifics of the limit and the degree of legislative professionalism. Importantly, legislative actors are adapting to the limits and making the best of a difficult situation. This book will be an excellent reference for students and scholars of state politics, legislative process, and term limits.
In the first biography of U.S. House Speaker John W. McCormack, author Garrison Nelson uncovers previously forgotten FBI files, birth and death records, and correspondence long thought lost or buried. For such an influential figure, McCormack tried to dismiss the past, almost erasing his legacy from the public's mind. John William McCormack: A Political Biography sheds light on the behind-the-curtain machinations of American politics and the origins of the modern-day Democratic party, facilitated through McCormack's triumphs.

McCormack overcame desperate poverty and family tragedy in the Irish ghetto of South Boston to hold the second-most powerful position in the nation. By reinventing his family history to elude Irish Boston's powerful political gatekeepers, McCormack embarked on a 1928 - 1971 House career and from 1939-71, the longest house leadership career. Working with every president from Coolidge to Nixon, McCormack's social welfare agenda, which included Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, immigration reform, and civil rights legislation helped commit the nation to the welfare of its most vulnerable citizens. By helping create the Austin-Boston Connection, McCormack reshaped the Democratic Party from a regional southern white Protestant party to one that embraced urban religiously and racially diverse ethnics. A man free of prejudice, John McCormack was the Boston Brahmin's favorite Irishman, the South's favorite northerner, and known in Boston as "Rabbi John," the Jews' favorite Catholic.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"The best American political autobiography since Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father." —Charles Kaiser, The Guardian

A mayor’s inspirational story of a Midwest city that has become nothing less than a blueprint for the future of American renewal.

Once described by the Washington Post as “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of,” Pete Buttigieg, the thirty-seven-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has now emerged as one of the nation’s most visionary politicians. With soaring prose that celebrates a resurgent American Midwest, Shortest Way Home narrates the heroic transformation of a “dying city” (Newsweek) into nothing less than a shining model of urban reinvention.

Interweaving two narratives—that of a young man coming of age and a town regaining its economic vitality—Buttigieg recounts growing up in a Rust Belt city, amid decayed factory buildings and the steady soundtrack of rumbling freight trains passing through on their long journey to Chicagoland. Inspired by John F. Kennedy’s legacy, Buttigieg first left northern Indiana for red-bricked Harvard and then studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, before joining McKinsey, where he trained as a consultant—becoming, of all things, an expert in grocery pricing. Then, Buttigieg defied the expectations that came with his pedigree, choosing to return home to Indiana and responding to the ultimate challenge of how to revive a once-great industrial city and help steer its future in the twenty-first century.

Elected at twenty-nine as the nation’s youngest mayor, Pete Buttigieg immediately recognized that “great cities, and even great nations, are built through attention to the everyday.” As Shortest Way Home recalls, the challenges were daunting—whether confronting gun violence, renaming a street in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., or attracting tech companies to a city that had appealed more to junk bond scavengers than serious investors. None of this is underscored more than Buttigieg’s audacious campaign to reclaim 1,000 houses, many of them abandoned, in 1,000 days and then, even as a sitting mayor, deploying to serve in Afghanistan as a Navy officer. Yet the most personal challenge still awaited Buttigieg, who came out in a South Bend Tribune editorial, just before being reelected with 78 percent of the vote, and then finding Chasten Glezman, a middle-school teacher, who would become his partner for life.

While Washington reels with scandal, Shortest Way Home, with its graceful, often humorous, language, challenges our perception of the typical American politician. In chronicling two once-unthinkable stories—that of an Afghanistan veteran who came out and found love and acceptance, all while in office, and that of a revitalized Rust Belt city no longer regarded as “flyover country”—Buttigieg provides a new vision for America’s shortest way home.

A brilliant, authoritative, and fascinating history of America’s most puzzling era, the years 1920 to 1933, when the U.S. Constitution was amended to restrict one of America’s favorite pastimes: drinking alcoholic beverages.

From its start, America has been awash in drink. The sailing vessel that brought John Winthrop to the shores of the New World in 1630 carried more beer than water. By the 1820s, liquor flowed so plentifully it was cheaper than tea. That Americans would ever agree to relinquish their booze was as improbable as it was astonishing.

Yet we did, and Last Call is Daniel Okrent’s dazzling explanation of why we did it, what life under Prohibition was like, and how such an unprecedented degree of government interference in the private lives of Americans changed the country forever.

Writing with both wit and historical acuity, Okrent reveals how Prohibition marked a confluence of diverse forces: the growing political power of the women’s suffrage movement, which allied itself with the antiliquor campaign; the fear of small-town, native-stock Protestants that they were losing control of their country to the immigrants of the large cities; the anti-German sentiment stoked by World War I; and a variety of other unlikely factors, ranging from the rise of the automobile to the advent of the income tax.

Through it all, Americans kept drinking, going to remarkably creative lengths to smuggle, sell, conceal, and convivially (and sometimes fatally) imbibe their favorite intoxicants. Last Call is peopled with vivid characters of an astonishing variety: Susan B. Anthony and Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan and bootlegger Sam Bronfman, Pierre S. du Pont and H. L. Mencken, Meyer Lansky and the incredible—if long-forgotten—federal official Mabel Walker Willebrandt, who throughout the twenties was the most powerful woman in the country. (Perhaps most surprising of all is Okrent’s account of Joseph P. Kennedy’s legendary, and long-misunderstood, role in the liquor business.)

It’s a book rich with stories from nearly all parts of the country. Okrent’s narrative runs through smoky Manhattan speakeasies, where relations between the sexes were changed forever; California vineyards busily producing “sacramental” wine; New England fishing communities that gave up fishing for the more lucrative rum-running business; and in Washington, the halls of Congress itself, where politicians who had voted for Prohibition drank openly and without apology.

Last Call is capacious, meticulous, and thrillingly told. It stands as the most complete history of Prohibition ever written and confirms Daniel Okrent’s rank as a major American writer.
The Pulitzer Prize winning classic by President John F. Kennedy, with an introduction by Caroline Kennedy and a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy.

Written in 1955 by the then junior senator from the state of Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage serves as a clarion call to every American.

In this book Kennedy chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes, coming from different junctures in our nation’s history, include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.

Now, a half-century later, the book remains a moving, powerful, and relevant testament to the indomitable national spirit and an unparalleled celebration of that most noble of human virtues. It resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Profiles in Courage is as Robert Kennedy states in the foreword: “not just stories of the past but a book of hope and confidence for the future. What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us."

Along with vintage photographs and an extensive author biography, this book features Kennedy's correspondence about the writing project, contemporary reviews, a letter from Ernest Hemingway, and two rousing speeches from recipients of the Profile in Courage Award.  Introduction by John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy, forward by John F. Kennedy’s brother Robert F. Kennedy.

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