Leadership in the U.S. Senate : Herding Cats in the Modern Era book cover
1st Edition

Leadership in the U.S. Senate
Herding Cats in the Modern Era

Edited By

Colton C. Campbell

ISBN 9781138068391
Published August 14, 2018 by Routledge
318 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Unlike leadership in the House of Representatives, the nature of Senate leadership continues to remain a mystery to so many. Due to the absence of an "operator’s manual," leaders have had to use their individual skills, intelligence, and personalities to lead the Senate, which means they each have had their own unique leadership style. How have Senate majority leaders advanced their agendas in this traditionally egalitarian institution, a chamber like no other legislative body, where they must balance the rights of 99 independent senators with the collective needs of their party?

Featuring a foreword by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Leadership in the U.S. Senate offers students a comprehensive and contemporary examination of three different eras in the evolution of the Senate. Collectively, contributions written by those who have served the senators offer insight into how different Senate leaders have operated, chronicle changes in Senate life over the past four decades, and describe how they have changed the institution. The chapters cover:

  • How leadership styles are shaped by both individualism and party goals
  • Eight biographical perspectives from Senator Howard Baker (R-TN) to Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)
  • The political context of the Senate during which the respective majority leader served
  • Individual leadership style and performance in office
  • Contributions individuals made to the institution while serving as majority leaders

This book paves the way for political scientists and others to examine the topic of Senate leadership.

Table of Contents


[Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell]


[Colton C. Campbell]

1. Legislating in the Senate: From the 1950s to the 2000s

[Mark J. Oleszek and Walter J. Oleszek]

2. Howard Baker and the Conditional Use of Parliamentary Procedure in the U.S. Senate

[Wendy J. Schiller and Cory Manento]

3. Robert C. Byrd: Tactician and Technician

[Katherine Scott and James Wyatt]

4. Bob Dole’s Leadership: The Partisan as Dealmaker

[Burdett A. Loomis]

5. George J. Mitchell, Majority Leader

[Janet M. Martin]

6. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle

[Peter Hanson]

7. Ambition and Achievement: The Senate Republican Leadership of Trent Lott

[Nicol C. Rae]

8. William H. "Bill" Frist, MD: "The Doctor as Leader"

[J. Lee Annis]

9. Leave it to Harry: Harry Reid as Democratic Leader

[Ross K. Baker]

10. Recent Senate Party Leaders in Historical Perspective

[Steven S. Smith]

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Colton C. Campbell is Professor and Chair of the Department of Security Studies at the National War College. He has worked in the offices of Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Bob Graham (D-FL), and Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA). Prior to joining the National War College, he was an Analyst in American national government at the Congressional Research Service and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Florida International University.


'A superb addition to the literatures about Senate change and congressional leadership, this edited volume provides rich and detailed coverage of Senate leaders from the 1950s to the contemporary era. Baker, Byrd, Dole, Mitchell, Daschle, Lott, Frist, and Reid — they’re all here. Together, the individual chapters inform our understanding of a transformative period in congressional history, and the excellent introduction and conclusion authored by leading scholars tie it all together. This book is a "must-read" for those interested the current operations and future prospects of the American Senate.' - C. Lawrence Evans, Newton Family Professor of Government, College of William & Mary

'This volume’s distinguished group of contributors craft concise, vivid, and insightful profiles of all the Senate majority leaders since 1980 as well as set recent developments in a broader historical and political context. The book offers a unique perspective and insight on contemporary Senate leadership that is both valuable to scholars and appropriate for undergraduate students.' - Frances E. Lee, University of Maryland

'Leadership in the U.S. Senate is a tremendous contribution to the study of the Senate and modern politics. The chapters in this volume trace the careers of Senate majority leaders from Robert Byrd in the 1970s to Harry Reid's tenure ending in 2015. Taken separately, these chapters provide individual accounts of talented politicians using their wit and a meager toolkit of powers to make a decentralized legislature work. Together they trace the modern history of a chamber undergoing rapid change from the freewheeling, individualistic Senate of the 1970s to the intensely partisan modern Senate. The authors of these chapters provide a rare mix of both scholarly expertise and personal experience, providing a book that is both biographical and institutional.' - Gregory Koger, Professor of Political Science, University of Miami