Home Style and Washington Career

The pursuit of political careers has been a dream of many people. This
is especially in the case of individuals that feel that they have the
capacity to make fundamental changes in the lives of other people
through making laws and ensuring that they are properly and effectively
implemented in their areas of jurisdiction. However, it is well noted
that individuals that successfully obtain political power undergo
fundamental changes in their way of dealing with issues. This is
essentially the key point in the article “Home Style and Washington
Career” by Richard F Fenno.
In this article, Fenno underlines the fact that congressmen in the
United States are always struggling to find a balance between the
Washington career and constituency career. The constituency career
revolves around efforts to enhance their chances of being reelected
whereas the Washington career revolves around coming up with good public
policy and becoming influential in the house. Underlining the changes
that congressmen undergo is the fact that in the initial years in the
House, they are always attending to their constituents’ needs. This is
because they have limited chances of gaining inside policy and power
influence, in which case they can allocate their resources to their
constituency career without any sense of conflict. Nevertheless, the
beginning of a Washington career necessitates a change in the
congressman’s personal goals, as well as the established home style.
Fenno notes that the dilemma that faces congressmen emanates from the
requirement that the United States Congress serves as a legislative and
a representative institution.
However, Fenno presents one formula that would be effective in solving
the dilemma especially in instances where the congressmen are attaining
more influence in their Washington careers and in policymaking. The
congressmen could ask their constituents to adopt a new set of
expectations, especially considering that the policies that their
congressman is pursuing would be for their own good. Indeed, their
seniority, effectiveness and influence in Washington would eventually
benefit their constituents, in which case the congressmen’s supporters
should intensify their support so as to ward off any challengers.
However, this can often be problematic as in pursuit of power and
influence that comes with a Washington career, a legislator would
essentially lose touch with the supportive constituents at his backyard,
thereby spelling doom to his reelection bid.
Alternatively, a congressman could manage the balance through winning
support on areas that he had not won such support. He could use his
influence to make policies that would appeal to new supporters even as
he or she loses the old supporters. The influence in particular policy
area or as an effective legislator may generate such feedback effects.
Unfortunately, the individuals are faced by the dilemma even upon living
the congress. They must decide whether to stay in Washington or go back
to their home constituencies.
While the article is comprehensive and well-thought out, it creates the
impression that the dilemma is a liability to the congressmen. This may
be slightly wrong especially considering that the legislators are
elected in the hope that they will seek to serve their needs.
Congressmen, essentially, are intended to offer their services to the
entire constituency, in which case the maintenance of a Washington
career and home style forces them to act to the best interests of their
constituents and truly serve them. The deficiency of fear of failure to
recapture their seats may give them an incentive to tend for their needs
only.
HOME STYLE AND WASHINGTON CAREER PAGE * MERGEFORMAT 3
HOME STYLE AND WASHINGTON CAREER PAGE * MERGEFORMAT
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