Obviously, most Americans have had it with Congress. Not just the Republicans, who earned a 40 percent approval rating in a recent national survey but also the Democrats, who managed to scrape only a 43 percent rating. Put the parties together and Congress gets 12 percent approval from the electorate.
Twelve percent! Down from 21 percent in June, that’s the lowest rating since polling started. (According to the poll, 87 percent of Americans disapprove of Congress.)
Here’s how Jennifer Agiesta and Laurie Kellman interpret the results in an AP report today:
The poll finds more people are down on their own member of Congress, not just the institution, an unusual finding in surveys and one bound to make incumbents particularly nervous. In interviews, some people said the debt standoff itself, which caused a crisis of confidence to ripple through world markets, made them wonder whether lawmakers are able to govern at all.
Even Big Business is getting sick of their squabbling toadies. I heard on TV that 100 of the nation’s top CEOs have signed a pledge to contribute nothing to any politician until the various government factions come up with a “balanced” bipartisan plan to lower the national debt and keep a lid on annual deficits.
But can Congress ever work together again? Or is it splintered beyond repair?
On the Democratic side, you have people like me – lefties all, with only minor disagreements. Basically, we like the idea of the much maligned “welfare state,” and we believe strong and well-intentioned governments can do a lot to save the earth – from destruction by pollution, for example.
We also believe in such concepts as the strong helping the weak, the young helping the old, the healthy helping the sick, and the government stepping in to protect us all – from snake oil salesmen and other con artists as well as from “terrorists.”
But there are other Democrats (I am tempted to call them the Obama Democrats). I’m not sure what they “believe.” But I see them mulling over ideological choices and repeatedly tip-toeing toward compromise with those who disagree with them. Meanwhile, the Republicans are whuppin’ on ’em with both hands.
Over on the right, you have the free-marketers who believe that what’s good for Big Business is good for everybody. (This “belief” is intensified by the contributions they get from corporations and other fat cats.) Allied with them are religious militants who insist they’re doing God’s work by oppressing pregnant women, ethnic and sexual minorities, and other vulnerable groups. Then there’s the Ron Paul lot who just want government to leave them alone.
How that disparate mix can work together for any length of time beats me. Their only common bond is their hatred of President Obama.
Of course there’s another unifying factor – on both sides of the aisle – money.
With the big shots contributing 65 percent of the funds donated for political campaigns, you don’t have to belong to Mensa to figure out what the prime concern of most politicians might be.
Perhaps the threat by those CEOs to turn off the spigot of cash might make our public servants put their “beliefs” on the back burner and try to save America from falling of an economic cliff.