Revolving Gridlock

Politics and Policy from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush


David W. Brady; Craig Volden

Second Edition • July 1, 2005 • 256 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813343204 • $39.00 USD$58.99 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813346236 • $22.99 USD$26.99 CAN

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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.


David W. Brady is professor of political science and business, and Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Craig Volden is assistant professor of political science and public policy at The Ohio State University.

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A very timely and extremely valuable book. If one wants to understand American public policy, Brady and Volden offer readers at any number of levels of analysis, a coherent, cogent, and clearly written perspective from which to begin their search. By setting public policy within the institutional framework of legislative and executive interaction, particularly from the 1980’s to the present, they provide not only an engaging examination of what has and might well emerge from the political process, but provide a most useful corrective to the personality focus of so much of what passes for analysis. It is a very useful classroom book, a fine scholarly effort, and a good read for the generally inquisitive political work.”
— Carl F. Pinkele, Ohio Wesleyan University

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