Instead of beginning with a humorous salute to friends who tried to discourage him from attempting this book, Rutgers...

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FRIEND AND FOE IN THE U.S. SENATE

Instead of beginning with a humorous salute to friends who tried to discourage him from attempting this book, Rutgers political scientist Ross Baker should have listened. Having interviewed 25 past and present Senators plus numerous aides (all unnamed, in the now-hallowed tradition), Baker--who seems incredibly naive throughout--analyzes five types of Senate friendship: institutional (business); alliance; mentor-protÉgÉ; social (companionability without emotional commitment); and pure (with emotional commitment). We learn that ""political friendship"" differs from ""personal friendship""; that alliances develop among ""ideologically compatible"" senators (although ""transideological"" alliances arise from state or regional ties); that casual meeting places include the Senate gymnasium and dining room, and prayer breakfasts (Ribicoff is cited as one of the few Jewish participants); that similar college or military backgrounds form a basis for social friendships which ""represent an emotional increment over the intramural ones."" Nixon's ties to non-politicians like Rebozo, Bobst, and Abplanalp are artlessly characterized as ""a purer form of friendship uncontaminated by ulterior motives""; and when one Senator tells a journalist that Halberstam's The Best and The Brightest was his favorite novel, Baker calls this obvious attempt at sarcasm an ""alarming"" example of Senators being ""oblivious to cultural trends."" The only tantalizing news is that neither Oregon's two Senators, nor the two from Alaska, can stand each other. As for the rest--embarrassing.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Free Press/Macmillan

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1980