The Path of American Public Policy

The Path of American Public Policy : Comparative Perspectives

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The Path of American Public Policy: Comparative Perspectives demonstrates how ideas and institutions influence public policy formation in the United States. This book presents comparative cases of when comprehensive change in the United States failed and when it succeeded and compares and contrasts the American presidential system to the British parliamentary more

Product details

  • Paperback | 266 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.52 x 20.32mm | 317.51g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 15 Tables, unspecified; 16 Halftones, black and white; 1 Illustrations, black and white
  • 0739186612
  • 9780739186619

Review quote

In this book, Anna Marie Cammisa and Paul Christopher Manuel renew their thoughtful comparison of the American presidential system with the parliamentary systems found in most liberal democracies. They go beyond a comparative politics text by imagining how American democracy might work if we had a parliamentary system. Their writing is both educational and entertaining, and they offer instruction in a way that is simple and understandable, while encouraging the student to think critically about democracy. This is great for assignment in both American Politics and Comparative Politics courses. -- Arthur Paulson, Southern Connecticut State University The Path of American Public Policy: Comparative Perspectives attacks an old question with a fresh perspective. Anne Marie Cammisa and Paul Christopher Manuel examine the impact of American institutions on policy-making, noting debates among the framers of our constitution, and ask what would be different if we had a parliamentary system and what would be different under different types of parliamentary systems stemming from electoral rules other than first-past-the-post-plurality voting. Naturally, there are no firm answers to the 'what ifs' that the authors pose, but there are probabilistic ones. This very well written book explicates the philosophies and the biases behind the American Constitution and its diametric opposite, the Westminster system. It explores the outcomes of two case studies in the U.K. and the U.S. and how institutions influenced them. This is a terrific book for thinking about American politics and government in a comparative context and is especially useful in understanding why we get the policy outcomes we do-or, as may more often be the case, the lack of outcome. -- Bert A. Rockman, Perdue University Increasingly it seems that the U.S. government cannot seem to get important things done outside of moments of acute crisis. Presidential agendas die even before arrival in Congress, whose leaders seem incapable of sustaining majorities of any kind. Minority factions pervade, wielding far greater veto power than even the Framers thought wise. To many, that eighteenth-century constitutional system seems increasingly antiquated, unsuited to the pressing demands of twenty-first-century governance. Confronted with apparent systemic dysfunction, Manuel and Cammisa ask, might the U.S. be better off adopting a British-style parliamentary system? Using two compelling cases, the 1994 Contract with American and the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and the lens offered by literature on American political development and comparative public policy, Manuel and Cammisa deftly examine the core tension between majority rule and minority rights that defines the American constitutional system. In the end, they get you to think, 'what if?', and let you decide where you want to go in addressing this tension. Whichever path you choose, every reader gets a thought-compelling guide through the often-frustrating core elements of American government. This is a fun book. -- Christopher Bosso, Northeastern University Cammisa and Manuel have constructed a very fine introduction for students of politics. Their comparative approach to the study of American government centers around a thought-experiment: What if the United States operated under a parliamentary system with proportional representation? By that device, the authors are able to raise significant issues of the relation of liberty to democracy, the limits of majority rule, and the role of institutions in shaping outcomes. The case studies-the 1994 Republican Contract with America and the 2010 Affordable Care Act-are very helpful for illustrating and examining the effects of institutional structures on the practice of making public policy. -- Peter B. Josephson, Saint Anselm College Cammisa and Manuel have produced an interesting analysis of the 'efficiency' versus 'deliberation' arguments surrounding the value of parliamentary systems versus presidential systems. This timely book reviews potential reforms of the American system while comparing it to a modified British equivalent. The authors cite gridlock, a lack of accountability due to divided government, and the lack of a vote of no confidence as weaknesses in the American style of government that promote dysfunction, inefficiency, and a lack of accountability to voters. The authors take care to compare the strengths and weaknesses of the American presidential system through a series of case studies on the Contract with America and the Affordable Care Act. The innovative area of the book lies in its predictive chapters, which discuss avenues of change or reform if the US adopted a system similar to the UK's. The ...treatment of the subject by the authors is excellent. This book would be an excellent supplement to any introductory government class. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers and undergraduate students. CHOICEshow more

About Anne Marie Cammisa

Anne Marie Cammisa is a visiting professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. Previously, Cammisa was professor of government at Suffolk University in Boston. She is the author of From Rhetoric to Reform? Welfare Policy in American Politics. Paul Christopher Manuel is professor of political science and director of the Institute for Leadership at Mount Saint Mary's more

Table of contents

Preface Chapter 1: Of Ideas and Institutions: The Foundational Tension of American Democracy Introduction Why Does American Government Appear to Be Spinning Its Wheels? The Foundational Tension: Majority Rule versus Minority Rights How the Foundational Ideational Tension Limits Innovative Policy Development: Ideas Conceptualized as Cognitive Locks Conclusion Structure of the Remainder of the Book Chapter 2: The Path of Political Development in Great Britain and the United States: A Brief Comparative History Why American Government Operates under Checks and Balances, and British Government Does Not The Evolution of the British Parliament Key Institutional Features of British Democracy The Creation of the American Presidential System Key Institutional Features of American Democracy Conclusion Chapter 3: Agenda Setting and Agenda Control: Case One: A Legislative History of the 1994 Republican Contract with America The 1994 Contract with America Introduction to the 104th Congress The Framers' Fears of the Tyranny of the Majority and the 1994 Republican Contract with America Background: Where Did the Contract Come From? The Contract with America The First Hundred Days of the 104th Congress American Congress Function Differently than the British Parliament Chapter 4: Agenda Setting and Agenda Control: Case Two: The 2008-2010 Battle over Health Care Introduction Background Agenda Setting and Agenda Control Congress's Turn: Policy Formation and Legitimation Welcome (Again) to the World of Checks and Balances Conclusion: Lessons from the Past Chapter 5: What if American Democracy Were on a Different Path? How a British-Style Parliamentary System Could Change American Politics How American Political Development Could Have Been on a Different Path How Selected Election Outcomes Might Have Been Different Chapter 6: Conclusion: Ideas and Institutions Matter Problem One: Divided Government Problem Two: Gridlock Problem Three: No Means to Quickly Replace a Failed or Deadlocked Administration Some Possible Solutions? Ideas and Institutions Matter Bibliography About the Authorsshow more

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