Sabato, Larry 1952- (Larry J. Sabato)

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Sabato, Larry 1952- (Larry J. Sabato)

PERSONAL:

Born August 7, 1952, in Norfolk, VA; son of N.J. (a civil servant) and Margaret (a secretary) Sabato. Education: University of Virginia, B.A., 1974; graduate study at Princeton University, 1974-75; Queen's College, Oxford, D.Phil., 1977.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Center for Politics, 2400 Old Ivy Rd., P.O. Box 400806, Charlottesville, VA 22904. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

New College, Oxford University, Oxford, England, lecturer in politics, 1977-78; University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, faculty member, 1978—, currently Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs; Center for Politics, founder and director, 1998—; member of faculty senate, beginning 1982. Visiting lecturer in politics at New College, Oxford, England, 1980; guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, 1980; Thomas Jefferson Visiting Fellow at Downing College, Cambridge, 1982; senior fellow at Duke University's Center for the Study of the Governorship, beginning 1982. Has served on numerous national and state commissions, including the National Commission for the Renewal of American Democracy, U.S. Senate Campaign Finance Reform Panel, and the Governor's Commission on Campaign Finance Reform, Government Accountability, and Ethics. Founder and director of the University of Virginia's Center for Governmental Studies. Director of Virginia public opinion poll, 1980—. Has appeared on numerous television talk shows, including Nightline, Face the Nation, Today Show, Good Morning America, 48 Hours, and Larry King Live.

MEMBER:

American Political Science Association, American Association of Political Consultants, Southern Political Science Association (member of executive council, 1987—), Phi Beta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Best book citation from Choice, 1979, for Goodbye to Goodtime Charlie: The American Governor Transformed, 1950-75; American Philosophical Association grants, 1979, 1983, and 1986; National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, 1980; Moody grant, Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, 1980; University of Virginia Research Policy Council grants, 1980, 1983, and 1986; Outstanding Young Teacher Award, University of Virginia, 1981; Kellogg National fellowship, 1983-86; Earhart Foundation grants, 1983 and 1986; Gerald R. Ford Foundation grant, 1987; Sesquicentennial fellowship, University of Virginia, 1988; Outstanding Professor Award, Virginia State Council of Higher Education, 1993; Outstanding Professor Award, University of Virginia, 2000; Thomas Jefferson Award, University of Virginia, 2002.

WRITINGS:

Aftermath of Armageddon: An Analysis of the 1973 Virginia Gubernatorial Election, Institute of Government, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1975.

Virginia Votes: 1969-1974, Institute of Government, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1976.

The Democratic Party Primary in Virginia: Tantamount to Election No Longer, University Press of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1977.

Goodbye to Good-Time Charlie: The American Governor Transformed, 1950-1975, D.C. Heath (Lexing- ton, MA), 1978, revised edition published as The American Governorship Transformed, Congressional Quarterly Press (Washington, DC), 1983.

Virginia Votes: 1975-1978, Institute of Government, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1979.

The Rise of Political Consultants: New Ways of Winning Elections, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1981.

Virginia Votes: 1979-1982, Institute of Government, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1983.

PAC Power: Inside the World of Political Action Committees, Norton (New York, NY), 1984.

(Editor, with Thomas R. Morris) Virginian Government and Politics, 2nd edition, Institute of Government, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1984.

The Party's Just Begun: Shaping Political Parties for America's Future, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1987, 2nd edition, Longman (New York, NY), 2001.

Virginia Votes: 1983-1986, Institute of Government, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1987.

(Editor) Campaigns and Elections: A Reader in Modern American Politics, Scott, Foresman (Glenview, IL), 1989.

The 1988 Elections in America: The Change That Masks Continuity, Scott, Foresman (Glenview, IL), 1989.

Paying for Elections: The Campaign Finance Thicket, Priority Press Publications (New York, NY), 1989.

Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism Has Transformed American Politics, Free Press (New York, NY), 1991, revised edition published as Feeding Frenzy: Attack Journalism and American Politics, Lanahan Publishers (Baltimore, MD), 2000.

(With Karen O'Connor) American Government: Roots and Reform (pre-election edition), Macmillan (New York, NY), 1993, Texas edition published as American Government: Continuity and Change, Allyn & Bacon (Boston, MA), 1997, updated edition, Pearson Longman (New York, NY), 2008, revised edition published as The Essentials of American Government: Continuity and Change, Allyn & Bacon (Boston, MA), 1998, updated edition, Pearson Longman (New York, NY), 2008.

(With S. Robert Lichter) When Should the Watchdogs Bark? Media Coverage of the Clinton Scandals, Center for Media and Public Affairs (Washington, DC), 1994.

(With Glenn R. Simpson) Dirty Little Secrets: The Persistence of Corruption in American Politics, Times Books (New York, NY), 1996.

(Editor) Toward the Millennium: The Elections of 1996, Allyn & Bacon (Boston, MA), 1997.

(With Mark Stencel and S. Robert Lichter) Peepshow: Media and Politics in an Age of Scandal, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2000.

(Editor, with Howard R. Ernst and Bruce A. Larson) Dangerous Democracy? The Battle over Ballot Initiatives in America, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2001.

(With Bruce A. Larson) The Party's Just Begun: Shaping Political Parties for America's Future, Longman (New York, NY), 2002.

(Editor) Overtime! The Election 2000 Thriller, Longman (New York, NY), 2002.

(Editor) Midterm Madness: The Elections of 2002, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2003.

(Editor) Get in the Booth! A Citizen's Guide to the 2004 Election, Pearson/Longman (New York, NY), 2005.

(With Howard R. Ernst) Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections, Facts on File (New York, NY), 2006.

(Editor) Divided States of America: The Slash and Burn Politics of the 2004 Presidential Election, Pearson Longman (New York, NY), 2006.

Get in the Booth! A Citizen's Guide to the 2006 Midterm Elections, Pearson Longman (New York, NY), 2007.

(Editor) The Sixth Year Itch: The Rise and Fall of the George W. Bush Presidency, Pearson Longman (New York, NY), 2007.

A More Perfect Constitution: Twenty-three Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country, Walker (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to books, including Virginia Government and Politics, edited by Weldon Cooper and Thomas R. Morris, University Press of Virginia, 1976; A Virginia Profile: 1960-2000, edited by John V. Moeser, Commonwealth Books, 1981; The Changing Nature of Interest Groups, edited by Allan Cigler and Burdett Loomis, Congressional Quarterly Press, 1983; The American Election of 1982, edited by Thomas E. Mann and Norman Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1983; Parties and Democracy in Britain and America, edited by Vernon Bogdanor, Praeger, 1984; The 1984 Presidential Election in the South: Patterns of Southern Party Politics, edited by Robert P. Steed and others, Praeger, 1985; Political Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns, edited by L. Patrick Devlin, Transaction Books, 1987; Virginia Alternatives for the 1990s: Selected Issues in PublicPolicy, edited by Joseph L. Fisher, George Mason University Press, 1987; Elections American Style, edited by James Reichley, Brookings Institution, 1987; Contemporary Southern Politics: Continuity and Change, edited by James F. Lea, Louisiana State University Press, 1988; and Dictionary of Political Institutions, Basil Blackwell, 1988.

Contributor of articles and book reviews to newspapers and periodicals, including Virginia Quarterly Review, Economist, National Civic Review, State Government, New York Times, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Miami Herald, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginian Pilot, Roanoke Times, and Campaigning Reports. Editor of the State Opinion Report (publication of the National Governors' Association), 1981—; member of board of contributing editors, Encyclopedia of American Political Parties, Garland Press, 1988.

SIDELIGHTS:

Larry Sabato is a professor of American politics and political history and the author of numerous publications on American politics. He is also the founder and director of the renowned Center for Politics. Though many of Sabato's works focus on politics in Virginia, including The Democratic Party Primary in Virginia: Tantamount to Election No Longer and the "Virginia Votes" series, he also writes extensively on national politics.

The Rise of Political Consultants: New Ways of Winning Elections is a study of the role of consultants in political campaigns. It includes a historical overview of the profession and a detailed analysis of the effects of press, polls, advertising, and direct mail on the outcome of an election. Sabato maintains that the political consultant "rarely sees his responsibilities as extending beyond those he has to his client," contending that "closer association with the political parties, whether voluntary or forced, may help to harness consultant's considerable talents for a higher and more constructive purpose than the election of individual candidates."

David S. Broder, writing in the Washington Post, recommended The Rise of Political Consultants "if you want to understand what is happening in the world of campaign consultants." Robert Sherrill expressed a similar opinion in the New York Times Book Review: "There is absolutely no better guide through their world, nor is there likely to be soon…. Perhaps the best thing about Mr. Sabato is his reasonable skepticism," Sherrill continued. "He is convinced the consultants are important mainly because they are perceived as important…. Reform, says Mr. Sabato, is up to the press, which must ‘stop treating consultants as the gods of the political wars,’ ‘examine the damaging effects they and their new campaign technologies are having on the American political system,’ and ‘publicize the shockingly unethical practices that are so pervasive.’"

In Dirty Little Secrets: The Persistence of Corruption in American Politics, "a topical, muckraking, highly opinionated—and sometimes overheated—report," according to New York Times Book Review critic Greg Mitchell, Sabato and coauthor Glenn R. Simpson analyze the factors contributing to voter cynicism and apathy. The authors "identify as the prime culprits conventional political corruption and its contemporary setting—a system of democracy that ‘serves special interests more than the general citizenry,’" Mitchell noted. "This emphasis on institutional over personal corruption is overdue." The authors also prescribe a number of reforms, including strict financial disclosure laws and more stringent punishments for election fraud. As Mitchell wrote: "Dirty Little Secrets performs a difficult, commendable task. Voters may cynically believe ‘everyone does it’ but few take the trouble to learn how, and, possibly, how to stop it."

Sabato's Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism Has Transformed American Politics explores the media attention paid to political scandals. In a Booknotes online interview with Brian Lamb, Sabato defined a "feeding frenzy" as "a circumstance where a critical mass of journalists leaps to cover the same scandalous subject and usually does so intensely and often thoughtlessly. I can't define for you ‘critical mass of journalists,’ but it's like pornography—you know it when you see it." Geoffrey Morris in the National Review summarized: "Reporting of misdoings is the end-game for today's media. The smallest suspicion of wrongdoing becomes the seed of scandal—a scandal which then feeds on itself. Rumors become allegations, and allegations make front-page stories. Old charges are recounted until new ones emerge. Soon ‘questions have been raised,’ a ‘cloud’ hangs over a candidate or nominee, followed by calls for resignations, investigations, and all the rest." Sabato advocates a press that delves into a politician's private life only if there is a compelling public interest—for example, exposing hypocrisy or the private use of public funds—not in an attempt to titillate an audience.

Reaction to the work was mixed. Marjorie Williams in the Washington Monthly argued that Sabato is "persua- sive in arguing that a majority of talented reporters would rather write about personalities and peccadilloes than face the difficulty of writing about government with sophistication and depth," but felt he was wrong in "seeing scandal coverage as the source of every weakness in contemporary journalism." Morris called Sabato's work "diligently researched" but faulted Feeding Frenzy for a lack of focus. A critic for the Economist concluded that "the unnerving truth—which Mr. Sabato never quite confronts in his timely book—is that the real villain may be the American electorate. Despite their much-voiced disgust with the press, they read and believe it…. American newspapers, like ancient Rome's ever more grizzly circuses, are simply giving people what they want."

Sabato's Peepshow: Media and Politics in an Age of Scandal, coauthored with Mark Stencel and S. Robert Lichter, explores similar territory. The work attempts, according to a Publishers Weekly critic, "to make sense of the state of the media." In Peepshow, Sabato argues that the accelerated pace of contemporary news has resulted in political coverage based on weaker standards of proof. Commenting on the media's ability to monitor itself, Sabato told Michael Rust in Insight on the News: "It's going downhill and not getting better. Those who fancy themselves to be media critics, who are in fact employed by the elite media, have become celebrities themselves. They're on television constantly. They're paid large sums of money by not just their home news organization but by others. And they're supposed to be a check on the media? This is laughable." A critic for Publishers Weekly found that, in Peepshow, Sabato and his coauthors tread "carefully through complex terrain," managing to "illuminate workable guidelines for navigating the line between public and private." Rust argued that with Peepshow, Sabato "ontinues to write insightful critiques of the mass media."

Sabato offers his ideas for constitutional reform in A More Perfect Constitution: Twenty-three Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country. In the work, Sabato proposes increasing the presidential term of office to six years, eliminating lifetime appointments for Supreme Court justices, and requiring two years of national service for all citizens. "While there's room for skepticism and unintended consequences in some of his suggestions," remarked a critic in Publishers Weekly, the author "makes strong, cogent arguments."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Political Science Review, June, 1989, Doris A. Graber, review of The Party's Just Begun: Shaping Political Parties for America's Future, p. 647.

American Spectator, September, 1996, Christopher Caldwell, review of Dirty Little Secrets: The Persistence of Corruption in American Politics, p. 81.

Booklist, May 1, 1996, Mary Carroll, review of Dirty Little Secrets, p. 1474.

Business Week, April 29, 1996, Owen Ullmann, review of Dirty Little Secrets, p. 18.

Campaigns & Elections, October, 2001, review of Overtime! The Election 2000 Thriller, p. 18; July, 2003, review of Midterm Madness: The Elections of 2002, p. 18; August, 2005, Ron Faucheux, review of Divided States of America: The Slash and Burn Politics of the 2004 Presidential Election, p. 42.

Choice, October, 1996, review of Dirty Little Secrets, p. 363; July 1, 2002, A.D. McNitt, review of Overtime!, p. 2041; December, 2003, A.D. McNitt, review of Midterm Madness, p. 788.

Christian Science Monitor, December 6, 1985, review of PAC Power: Inside the World of Political Action Committees, p. 3.

Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, fall, 1996, Bradley A. Smith, review of Dirty Little Secrets.

Economist, October 26, 1991, review of Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism Has Transformed American Politics, p. 113.

Editor & Publisher, November 2, 1991, Thomas Winship, "Civility and the Press Corps," p. 18.

Insight on the News, September 16, 1991, Ernest Lefever, review of Feeding Frenzy, p. 43; June 12, 2000, Michael Rust, "Sabato Would Hold the Media Accountable," p. 36.

Journal of Policy Analysis & Management, fall, 1990, Michael C. Munger, review of Paying for Elections: The Campaign Finance Thicket.

Journal of Politics, August, 1989, Jong O. Ra, review of The Party's Just Begun, p. 750; August, 1998, Emmett H. Buell, review of Toward the Millennium: The Elections of 1996, p. 847.

Library Journal, September 1, 1984, review of PAC Power, p. 1660; May 1, 1996, Jack W. Weigel, review of Dirty Little Secrets, p. 114.

National Review, November 18, 1991, Geoffrey Morris, review of Feeding Frenzy, p. 54.

New Republic, December 16, 1991, Nicholas Lemann, review of Feeding Frenzy, p. 45.

New York Review of Books, June 6, 1996, Garry Wills, review of Dirty Little Secrets, p. 11.

New York Times Book Review, December 27, 1981, Robert Sherrill, review of The Rise of Political Consultants: New Ways of Winning Elections; August 25, 1991, John Tebbel, review of Feeding Frenzy, p. 24; June 16, 1996, Greg Mitchell, "Politics Most Foul," review of Dirty Little Secrets, p. 43.

Political Communication, April 1, 1996, Michael Cornfield, review of When Should the Watchdogs Bark? Media Coverage of the Clinton Scandals, p. 255.

Political Studies, September, 2002, Mads Qvortrup, review of Dangerous Democracy? The Battle over Ballot Initiatives in America, p. 858.

Public Opinion Quarterly, summer, 1999, Clyde Wilcox, review of Toward the Millennium, p. 285.

Publishers Weekly, July 27, 1984, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of PAC Power, p. 133; June 21, 1991, review of Feeding Frenzy, p. 49; March 20, 2000, review of Peep Show: Media and Politics in an Age of Scandal, p. 80; June 18, 2007, review of A More Perfect Constitution: Twenty-three Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country, p. 43.

U.S. News & World Report, July 18, 1983, "Dirty Tricks in Politics—How Insiders See It," p. 23.

Virginia Quarterly Review, summer, 1988, James Latimer, review of The Party's Just Begun; spring, 2002, review of Overtime!

Wall Street Journal, July 18, 1994, "Sabato, ‘Dr. Dial-a-Quote’ of Political Scientists, Dispenses Advice to Candidates, Spin to the Press," p. 14.

Washington Monthly, September, 1991, Marjorie Williams, review of Feeding Frenzy, p. 39.

Washington Post, November 8, 1981, David S. Broder, review of The Rise of Political Consultants; October 28, 1984, Dan Balz, review of PAC Power, p. 5; December 13, 1998, "Partisanship Carries the Day; for Polar Opposites, Common Ground Nowhere to Be Found," p. 1.

Western Political Quarterly, December, 1987, review of PAC Power, p. 735.

ONLINE

Booknotes,http://www.booknotes.org/ (October 9, 2000), Brian Lamb, interview with Larry Sabato.

Larry Sabato Home Page,http://www.larrysabato.com (September 1, 2007).

University of Virginia's Center for Politics,http://www.centerforpolitics.org/ (September 1, 2007), "Larry J. Sabato."