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How Washington Actually Works For Dummies

Greg Rushford (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-118-31295-7
128 pages
July 2012
How Washington Actually Works For Dummies (1118312953) cover image
Get the inside scoop on the most powerful city on Earth

Washington, D.C.: Capital of the Free World; the most powerful city on Earth. No other country, company, or international organization can compare with the reach and wealth of the federal government. Policymaking — the art of deciding what programs to support, what laws to pass, or what regulations to write — is at the core of what Washington does and is what everyone, from the President on down, wants to influence.

How Washington Actually Works For Dummies isn't a dry explanation of the American system of government but a playbook for how Washington really works: who has a seat at the table, how the policymaking process works, and how one survives. It takes you inside the political process in Washington, discusses changes in recent decades, and explains how the parts fit together. You find out:

  • Who really runs Washington
  • Why the President’s power is limited
  • How Congress (and its committee structure) works
  • What the bureaucrats — the men and women behind the curtain — do to earn your tax dollars
  • How lobbyists, activists, and other players influence policy

In a presidential election year when economic issues are center stage and the candidates will go head to head in policy debates, there’s no better time to discover the ins and outs of how policy is actually made.

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Introduction 1

Chapter 1: A Brief History of Washington 5

Chapter 2: The People behind the Curtain: Federal Bureaucrats 23

Chapter 3: Professional Persuaders: Lobbyists 35

Chapter 4: Other Voices in the Debate: Outsiders, Gatecrashers, and Wallflowers 51

Chapter 5: Congress 67

Chapter 6: The Presidency 81

Chapter 7: Policymaking 95

Chapter 8: Ten Ways to Participate in Washington Policymaking 113

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Greg Rushford has been observing Washington's political scene since 1967 — first as a student, then as a congressional aide during the 1970s, and, in recent decades, as a journalist who specializes in the politics of international trade and diplomacy.
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July 31, 2012
How Washington Actually Works For Dummies® Demystifies Policymaking and Reveals Key Political Influencers

In an election year where the economy is king, along with a head-to-head matchup for the presidential race, timing could not be better for an insiders’ guide to Washington, D.C. With How Washington Actually Works For Dummies® (Wiley, 978-1-118-31295-7, August 2012), the popular and reliable For Dummies series presents a candid explanation of the U.S. political process. The book covers the changes in Washington over the past two centuries, the various political actors in the city, and how they interact to get things done. You’ll gain insight on what the presidency is all about, why the different branches of government act the way they do, who has influence and what factors are involved.

Policymaking -- the art of deciding what programs to support, what laws to pass, or what regulations to write -- is at the core of what Washington does, and is what everyone, from the president on down, wants to influence. How Washington Actually Works For Dummies gives you “the inside skinny,” running through a day in the life of Congress, the workings of the White House, and the scoop on professional persuaders, aka lobbyists.

“There are many myths and misconceptions about the United States Government out there. This straightforward guide takes the mystery out of U.S. politics and provides the inside track on what really happens in the Capital and how non-politicians the world over can make the system work for them,” said David Palmer, Associate Publishing Director at Wiley.

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