We Know We Belong to the Land - A Hundred Years of Oklahoma and the Congress
Approaching the Millennium (part 2)
Congress sought to strengthen its institutional voice in the country’s affairs. Because Congress readily approximates American society where alliances shift as frequently as issues, efforts to find common ground became harder. The age of the member of Congress as political entrepreneur arrived. New efforts at reform and personal ethics combined with attempts to bring the legislative branch into parity with the executive branch. Differing House and Senate views on reform hampered the process, and partisanship sharpened its edge. A Republican prevalence in the White House continued, as did a seemingly permanent Democratic House majority. Popular opinion of Congress declined after the resignation in close succession of the Majority Whip and Speaker of the House and the investigation of a variety of improprieties of members of both parties in both houses. While the public approved of the individual representative or senator, it did not share that regard with the collective Congress. This view—whether exhibiting an inherent American preference for the individual over the group or a more modern trait in our history—represented perhaps the foremost obstacle for Congress.
Don Nickles campaign wooden nickle - "Don't send your dollars to Washington, send Nickles."
Wooden nickle reading Senator Nickles, U.S. Senate
The Oklahoma delegation's seniority peaked in the Ninety-Second Congress (1971-1972) with an average tenure of almost twenty years. At the end of the One Hundredth Congress (1988) it stood at less than half that figure. Though the delegation’s power was neither as broad nor as deep as previously, the lawmakers continued to exercise influence through specialization. On issues of general interest to the state, cooperation remained the common theme.
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