RESTORATION by George F. Will

RESTORATION

Congress, Term Limits and the Recovery of Deliberative Democracy
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Will (Suddenly, 1990, etc.) weighs in for term limits as the answer to congressional careerism and public disgust. ``A permanent class of career legislators is inherently inimical to limited government,'' says Will in this carefully argued and historically grounded work. The author holds up deliberative democracy--``a disposition to reason about policies on their merits rather than their utility in serving the careerism of legislators''--as the ideal to which Congress must return. He details ridiculous pork-barrel projects sponsored by top senators (Robert Byrd once declared that he wanted to be West Virginia's billion-dollar industry), and points to ``the culture of spending'' as contributing to public outrage and congressional inefficiency. Will gives the issue historical perspective, decrying the present emphasis on executive power. He traces the rise of the ``rhetorical presidency'' from the administrations of Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, and points out how TV and the cold war contributed to our ``unhealthy obsession with the presidency.'' Will also notes that the careers of two of America's greatest congressional statesmen, Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, would not have been affected by term limits. Awash with lengthy digressions, but Will's argument is clear and persuasive nonetheless.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1992
ISBN: 0-02-934437-9
Page count: 150pp
Publisher: Free Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1992




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