About the author: Born in Davenport, Iowa, Stephen M. Leahy has a PhD in American History from Marquette University. He currently teaches history at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha and online for the University of Wosconsin Colleges.
2002 0-7734-7273-8 Clement J. Zablocki represented Milwaukee County in the Wisconsin State Senate from 1943 to 1948 and in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1983. His overwhelming popularity made him a power broker in Wisconsin, as he helped elect William Proxmire and Gaylord Nelson to state offices and John F. Kennedy to the presidency. Zablocki helped change the House Foreign Affairs Committee form an insignificant panel to an important power base. His career continued through the Vietnam War and Ronald Reagan’s presidency, until Zablocki’s death in 1983.
“Too often scholars have ignored the details of legislative practice, political procedure, and consensus-building in policy formation. Leahy’s exhaustive study of a significant second level Democratic Party politician and his contribution to the framing of several important legislative measures from the 1950s to the 1970s reminds that interest group particularism and personal cultural and political commitments inform and sometimes control the policy debates and programs advanced by well-known national figures. . . . Not only does Leahy demonstrate his command of legislative detail, but his work is itself a model case study in the sometimes ugly process by which a proposal or idea is transformed into law. . . . . Among his important legacies, none has been more important than Zablocki’s dogged insistence on Presidential consultation on key foreign policy questions, especially those relating to the acceptance of military commitments abroad. . . . Leahy demonstrates that his role as an insider in the policy process contributed to the development of modern views and practices relating to this crucial exercise in democratic decision-making. Superbly researched and clearly written, this traditional political biography enriches our understanding of modern legislative history.” – James J. Lorence