Why do policymakers select certain problems for attention and ignore others? Why do some policy ideas fail and other succeed? In addition to the President, Congress and Supreme Court what other institutions are influential in shaping public policies? How do policymakers design and implement policies? How do those policies ultimately influence the nation? Providing answers to these and other questions are the focus of this book. The practice of politics and policymaking is complicated, involving thousands of people in government institutions and the private sector. Although each public law and public policy has a unique history, Politics and Public Policy is designed to help students understand the larger patterns of the policy making process.

Cloakroom Politics

Cloakroom politics

Much of American politics and policymaking takes place in the cloakrooms, committee rooms, and chambers of state legisla­tures and the U.S. Congress. Legislative institutions are often perplexing and frustrating to members and ordinary citizens alike. Describing and assessing the way legislatures operate is a little like retelling the story of the blind men who try to say what an elephant is by describing what they feel. The impression one gets depends on where one is standing.

Legislatures embody many political paradoxes. They are highly demo­cratic, open institutions, yet they are also responsive to narrow, specialized interest groups and individuals who finance campaigns. Legislatures are pow­erful actors in the policy process, but they delegate responsibility for many significant decisions to other political institutions. ...

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