Congress: The First Branch

Co-authored by Dr. Sean Theriault
Oxford University Press, 2019

Congress the first branch

Written by an award-winning political scientist and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives who is now an instructor, Congress: The First Branch introduces students to the inner workings of Congress. The text examines the process by which laws are made and passed and the many factors that influence congressional decisions. Presenting the standard material covered in the typical Congress class, this text also pays special attention to the overarching trends in the legislature–specifically hyper-partisanship and the high rates of reelection for incumbents in the midst of very low public regard for the institution. Given all that is at stake, Congress: The First Branch highlights the role of Congress as a critical component in the separation-of-powers system and in creating law and policy for the United States. The combination of these elements creates a unique text that provides students with an insider’s look at real life on Capitol Hill.

Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Parties Versus the People:
How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans

Yale University Press, 2012

PvP Image

To many, American politics seems dysfunctional.  But that’s not an accident – it’s a direct result of the party-centric political system we have created – a system the Founders warned us against repeatedly –a system in which political parties have been given the power to control who we can vote for, the power to put party interests ahead of the national interest, and the power to take away our right to be represented by leaders who know our interests and understand our concerns.  It is a system that makes nastiness the norm and makes cooperation almost impossible.  A system of the parties, by the parties, and for the parties.  Instead of a government of Americans, working together to solve national problems, we have two rival governments – two private clubs – more interested in their agendas than America’s well-being.

Mickey Edwards, a Congressman for 16 years, has had enough.

He has seen the system, the promises extracted in exchange for important committee positions, the partisanship that turns competitors into enemies.  In “The Parties Versus The People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans,” Edwards takes off the gloves and proposes serious, fundamental, specific reforms to turn our political system upside down and put power back in the hands of the American people.  It is unlike any political book you’ve ever read. It gets right to the heart of the problem and pulls no punches.

You’ll never see politics the same way again!

Available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Reclaiming Conservatism:
How a Great American Political Movement Got Lost–
and How It Can Find Its Way Back Again

Oxford University Press, 2008

RC Image.jpg

A distinctly American conservative movement — The conservative movement that elected Ronald Reagan – was based on the Constitution, with its emphasis on a functioning and effective government that also valued individual liberty and recognized constraints on government power.  Today’s conservatives, have become something entirely different, supporting secret prisons, endorsing virtually unchecked government surveillance, recognizing few limits on what government can do.  They have replaced support for small business and the free market of Main Street with an embrace of corporate power emanating from Wall Street.  Where conservatives once supported individual rights and freedoms, those who call themselves conservatives today are inclined to supplant individual choice with religion-based mandates imposed by government power.  European conservative was based, in Winston Churchill’s words, on king and church, the exact opposite of the American conservatism Mickey Edwards grew up with.   

And he’s fighting back.  He isn’t willing to let today’s pretend conservatives hijack the movement that had once been led by the likes of Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp (In his oft-quoted statement that “government is not the solution, government is the problem” Reagan made it clear that he was referring to the mismanagement of the Carter Administration and went on to say that “it’s not my intention to do away with government.  It is rather to make it work . . . “), something today’s “conservatives” seem to have forgotten.

As Ed Rollins, Reagan’s campaign manager, put it:  “This book reminded me again why I am a conservative”.

Co-Authorships and Book Chapters

Winning the Influence Game
Co-authored with Michael Watkins

“Civility in Politics”
Civility in America

“The President and Congress: Separate, Independent, and Completely Equal”
Rivals for Power: Presidential-Congressional Relations

“The Jew in the American Public Square”
Religion as a Public Good

“Obama’s Problem: Misreading the Mandate”
Obama and America’s Political Future, edited by Theda Skocpol