PLSC 083 Lobbying the Federal Government


October 15, 2001


Readings: Browne Ch. 7 through 10.


Review of Browne, ch. 7 and 8 from last week:


“Good” issues and “bad” issues, pp. 169-70. Good issues are well defined and socially preferred. They mobilize major actors, and they can be presented as helping the public good. They also are refinements to existing policy, or else new policies that do not rattle existing relationships and privileges (p. 170). Good issues create large numbers of grateful beneficiaries and few, if any, disgruntled groups. Bad issues are those that present new policies that interfere with established relations.


[Note that these are general trends, not infallible laws. Do these apply to your cases?]


Ch 8: He gives a series of examples of “bad” issues, including same sex marriage, government planning, rural policy, farm labor standards, and a few others. Are these all bad, or are they just poorly defined? Is the definition of the issue linked to the mobilization of interest groups? Is that a given or could it be changed?


Final chapters of Browne:


Triangles, domains, and niches. Basic question is whether a broad array of groups are involved. How agenda-setting and conflict expansion makes this question more complicated. Schattschneider felt that the “pressure-system” had a tremendous upper-class bias, and Browne criticizes him for overstating that case. On the other hand, Schattschneider also wrote of the conflict expansion process. Isn’t that pretty similar to Browne’s idea of a good issue?