Amanda H. Allen

Obscure Caucus: The Quiet Men of Congress

Obscure doesn’t mean ineffective or passed over. In fact, in the congressional context, some of the best work gets done behind the scenes by members who would rather build relationships with their colleagues than spar with cable news anchors. These members take on low-profile policy agendas, gain reputations for expertise and benefit from tenure to climb committees or lead issue-area caucuses.

Inclusion in this caucus is not mockery or criticism, but highlights the frequently unhighlighted legislators who spend time on parochial concerns or constituent service. Few lawmakers opt not to stuff a PR portfolio with press releases, television appearances and photo ops, but Obscure Caucus members have few national news mentions or moments in the public eye. Many of these members are big players in policy and political circles, but for whatever reason — political style, personal preference or the issue itself — they earned few or fleeting headlines for their achievements.

Obscure Caucus: Members Who Dodge the Spotlight

Obscurity is a four-letter word for most politicians, but some Members of Congress build their careers outside the spotlight.

The members of the Obscure Caucus stay off the national cable news circuit, spend more time forging relationships with colleagues behind closed doors than elbowing in front of C-SPAN cameras and avoid the kind of innuendo-laced stories that make up so much of today’s political coverage.