Congressional Strategy for Dummies
December 1, 2017 6:32 PM   Subscribe

Inspired by this comment in the politics megathread, I started listening to CSPAN broadcasts and downtempo chillout while I work. Two days in, it's been surprisingly enjoyable, but I'd like to get more out of it.

Ideally, I want to hang out with Kamala Harris and a bottle of wine while watching tape of congressional proceedings so I could ask her questions about why a Congressperson is making this particular speech and what they hope to get out of it (and whether Republicans say anything that isn't gross misrepresentation or gaslighting). Sadly, I do not live in an ideal world.

The West Wing aired while I was in high school, and I LOVED it. As fictional and rosy as it was, I liked that it gave me an idea of what kinds of meetings, conversations, and decisions happen in Washington, way better than any AP Government textbook.

I'd like to read books, articles, essays about political tactics in Congress (both houses). I want to have a better grasp of the sausage-making process so I can listen between the lines a little better and know what's theater, what's delay tactics, and what's really meant to be persuasive. Some of that insight will come with time and more exposure, but so far it's hard to tell what's a big deal and what's business as usual.

I'm not looking for salacious, tell-all memoirs, but realistic representations about what work is like for our national legislators. I'd be open to political novels, but definitely prefer non-fiction focused on the last 20 years. Thanks!
posted by itesser to Law & Government (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Not exactly what you're asking for, but I bet you would really enjoy Robert Caro's many many books about Lyndon Johnson. Lots of fascinating depictions of political strategizing and horse trading.
posted by potrzebie at 7:21 PM on December 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Seconding Caro, I'd never have believed that a political biography could be un-put-downable for me but the LBJ ones really were. His book about Robert Moses didn't grab me as much but if you're really into New York city planning and history it might be more interesting to you.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 8:11 PM on December 1, 2017

On my to-read list: The Speechwriter
posted by naoko at 2:48 PM on December 7, 2017

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