Despite the early prospects for bipartisan unity on terrorism initiatives, government gridlock continues on most major issues in the wake of the 2004 elections. In this fully revised edition, political scientists David W. Brady and Craig Volden demonstrate that gridlock is not a product of divided government, party politics, or any of the usual scapegoats. It is, instead, an instrumental part of American government, built into our institutions and sustained by leaders acting rationally not only to achieve set goals but to thwart foolish inadvertencies. Looking at key legislative issues from the divided government under Reagan, through Clinton's Democratic government to complete unified Republican control under George W. Bush, the authors clearly and carefully analyze important crux points in lawmaking: the swing votes, the veto, the filibuster, and the rise of tough budget politics. They show that when it comes to government gridlock, it doesn't matter who's in the White House or who's in control of Congress; it's as American as apple pie, and its results may ultimately be as sweet in ensuring stability and democracy.
The Origins of Revolving Gridlock Theoretical Foundations * Preferences and Institutions * Uncertainty * Elections and Exogenous Shocks * The Role of the President * Coping with Gridlock and Overcoming Gridlock * Opposing Theories Revolving Gridlock and Budgetary Politics * Taxing and Spending in Historical Context * Overview of Budget Politics * Off-Budget Policymaking * Budgets, Revolving Gridlock, and the Future Republican Presidents and Democratic Congresses * Arrival of the 97th Congress * Turning Election Results into Policy Outcomes * Adjustments and Solidification of Policy * The Gridlock of George H. Bush * The 1990 Budget Crisis * Explanations of Policy Outcomes * Studies of Divided Government Clinton and the Rise of the Republicans * Legislators Preferences Entering Unified Gridlock * Policies Needing a Simple Majority for Passage * Old Legislation Vetoed by Republican Presidents * New Legislation Requiring Supermajorities * Aggregate Analysis * The Rise of the Republican Congress * The Republican Agenda * The 1995-1996 Budget Battle * Clintons Second Term * Evaluating President Clinton George W. Bush and the Continuation of Gridlock * The 2000 Elections * Plans for the Presidency * Tax Policy * Non-Budgetary Domestic Policy * Summary of Domestic Affairs * Foreign Affairs * The 109th Congress and the Bush Agenda Conclusion * Little Stories that Make Up the Big Picture * Gridlock Continues