Bridging the Gap Between Citizens and their Representatives
While more than a million e-mails clog the inboxes of Congress each day, some legislators can't even find their own websites without the help of their staffers. In fact, laptops aren't even allowed on the floor of the House or Senate.
But, as Dennis W. Johnson demonstrates in Congress Online, there are some savvy legislators who are taking advantage of new media to expand their power and influence-and the Congressional communications revolution is just beginning. Born out of a Pew Charitable Trusts research project of the same name, Congress Online is the definitive guide to electronic politics, pointing the way to a system that could forge a new and more immediate connection between legislators and the American people.
Dennis W. Johnson, Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, is the Principal Investigator of the Congress Online Project. A leading expert on political life inside the beltway, he is author of No Place for Amateurs. He has been interviewed about his current work in the New York Times, in the Washington Post and on NPR.
"Dennis Johnson is a triple threat: a veteran of Capitol Hill, a thorough scholar and a clear writer. In Congress Online, he shows us the future of representative democracy. I consider it an indispensable tool for those who want to govern in the 21st Century.
." -- Paul Begala, CNN
"This is a balanced and creative analysis of the opportunities and challenges of Congress' use of new information technologies, particularly the Internet. Employing original data and extensive secondary research, the author distills 'best practices' which apply not only to Congress, but to anyone hoping to effectively use new technology in the political process."
-- Steve Frantzich, Professor, Department of Political Science, U.S. Naval Academy
"An information-age revolution in citizen expectations is running smack dab into the slow evolution of Congressional practices online. The future of democracy is in the balance. Congress Online presents an informed communications road map for those determined to ensure democratic legitimacy in the 21st century.
." -- Steven L. Clift, online strategist and publisher of Democracies Online
"Some on the Hill consider e-mail to be a bane, but we should consider it a boon. It's a powerful new link between the public and their representatives. There are ways to do it right and ways to do it wrong, and Congress Online shows the difference." -- U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus