Definition of Political Clout Changing

Saturday, 24 Sep 2011 12:19 PM

By Gary Cohen

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What it means to have political clout appears to be changing, according to a   report in The Hill. I think we are in a new Congress where it is difficult to measure clout," said University of Kansas political science professor Burdett Loomis.

"Clout may have a different meaning these days than it did in the 1960s or 1970s where most of the stereotypes about Congress were created and almost always meant getting something new or getting something more for your district," Loomis adds.

congress clout definition newFreshman Rep. Tim Scott, R-SC, says, "I think at the end of the day, it's what you do that matters more than your seniority."

He makes the comment after pointing out, "the freshman class has been a fairly cohesive group and that has given us measureable impact in a very short period of time."

Rep. Mike Mulvaney, R-SC, was among the ten House freshmen who voted against the Continuing Resolution Thursday night. He said it is not so much that all freshman Republicans are voting as one. Mulvaney believes it is about their strong conservative values.

"I think what you've seen is that a core group of freshmen have sort of encouraged some of the folks who have been here a while to perhaps be a little bit more vocal and a little bit more assertive," Mulvaney said.

The Hill points out that 30 of the 87 Republican freshmen voted against House Speaker John Boehner's debt measure in August, including each of the South Carolina House delegation.

Rep. Scott emphasizes he believes, "I think for us it was truly about what was in the best interest of our constituents back home and the nation as a whole."

Professor Loomis brings out, "I think that legislators have to be very astute in balancing the national issues with their constituency issues."

"I think that this kind of a Congress doesn't give most freshmen the chance to move out on given issues very easily." He adds,"You've got these big debt issues, big budget issues that are so substantial facing the Congress that it's hard to carve out a niche."

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