Barbara Sinclair was Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles in the Department of Political Science. She was an APSA Award winner for the 2008 Best Book on Legislative Politics. She was also an award committee chair for the 2006 APSA Gladys M. Kammerer Award, a former APSA Congressional Fellow, and a member of APSA’s Advisory committee. Read more about her legacy via Monkey Cage.
Bipartisan Governing: Possible, Yes; Likely, No
PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 34 / Issue 01 / March 2001, pp 81 – 83
A president who received fewer popular votes than his chief opponent, a House with a razor thin majority for the president’s party, and a Senate evenly split—this is not most political scientists’ prescription for policy success and certainly not what Republicans had in mind when they dreamed of unified Republican government. During the campaign, George Bush proposed a policy agenda that was ambitious if often vague about details and promised to change the often nasty and bitterly partisan tone in Washington. Are these now impossible dreams?
Leading the New Majorities
PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 41 / Issue 01 / January 2008, pp 89 – 93
When a political party wrests control of either house of Congress from the other, expectations for change are usually high and that was certainly the case in January 2007 when Democrats took majorities in both chambers for the first time in 12 years. What did the new majorities—and specifically their leaders—promise? To what extent have they delivered? And how do the experiences of the new majorities during their first nine months conform with or raise questions about our theories of Congress? This is perforce an interim report but, even so, it can perhaps shed some light on our theories as well as provide a first assessment of the new majorities and their leaders.
Senate Process, Congressional Politics, and the Thomas Nomination
PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 25 / Issue 03 / September 1992, pp 477 – 480
“The wrenching testimony of Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas, accuser and accused, constituted a defining moment for the country that will forever change how the U.S. Senate reviews Supreme Court nominees” (Biskupic 1991, 2948). Thus did sober, factual Congressional Quarterly judge the consequences of the Hill-Thomas hearings. Most news accounts were considerably more fervid. Reporters as well as commentators claimed that the hearings demonstrated that the confirmation process is a complete fiasco.
An Effective Congress and Effective Members: What Does it Take?
PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 29 / Issue 03 / September 1996, pp 435 – 439
What are the skills needed to serve effectively in Congress and how do politicians acquire them? Learning to be a member of Congress is unlike learning to be a plumber or a brain surgeon; there is no prescribed course of study and no certification process. The criteria by which we judge whether a brain surgeon or a plumber is good at his or her job are relatively clear and uncontroversial; there is less consensus about what constitutes doing a good job as a member of Congress. Thus, the question that begins this essay cannot be answered simply and directly.