The 'new political history' alerts historians to the manifold relations between the politics and the people. The 'new political history' is useful in understanding Labour within a less reductive framework than either the 'high' or 'from below' approaches and in more novel terms than the Left-Right positions adopted within Labour. O'Farrell's blithe account of the 1980s' Labour Party shows that a range of prejudices and assumptions about lifestyle continued to flourish. The New Left theorised Labour's shortcomings in relation to those of the working class. The defensive consciousness and the paucity of theory were embodied in Labour. Besides theoretical shifts, regional studies stressing the specificity of social structures and the contingencies of local politics, and excavating a sense of popular politics are in practice. Those practices have suggested that the social explanations not alone suffice in explaining political character and patterns.
This chapter shows the responsibilities and goals of newly elected representatives and senators. It first describes the kinds of people who get elected into Congress, and then lists the different goals of the new members of Congress. This is followed by a list of the different ways a member of Congress can achieve his/her goals, including policy specialisation and pork barrel. The chapter also cites two examples – the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and term limits – that show the subtleties involved in Congressional decision making.
This chapter discusses the floor deliberations and debates in Congress, which are sometimes televised live. It reveals that very few members are present during typical debates, although more members can be summoned to the chamber when a vote is called or a quorum count is to be held. The chapter states that the floor debate determines the final fate of legislation, and then compares the debates held in the House of Representatives with the debates held in the Senate. It discusses amendments and their main purpose, before studying the differences between voting in the Senate and in the House, and ends with a section on the House–Senate Conference, which serves to reconcile the Senate and the House before the legislation is sent to the President for signing.