Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, October 12, 2007

In Light of the Last Posts . . .

NPR reported this morning that in a poll of 800 likely voters (margin of error 3.5%), 69% of Republicans, 65% of Democrats and 77% of Independents are unhappy with the performance of Congress.

I have mentioned on this blog before that I think we are due for a huge shift on our national direction. I am not sure what that will be, but I think we are going to be witnessing big changes- not all of them good. I wonder sometimes if our government as we now know it will continue to stand or if we are due for some sort of new republic. It seems to me that things are broken beyond repair. I still think the Constitution was one of the greatest documents ever written. But it has been so abused, so misused and so ignored that I wonder if it ain't time to clean house. Did they do polling during the Depression? Has there ever been a time with discontentment has been this high? Maybe during Watergate? But then was that with 2 branches of government, or did the people see their Congress as a bulwark against the executive?

Only 38% approve Bush's performance. Sixty-eight percent say the country is on the wrong track, while only 23 percent say it's heading in the right direction. Now we are all familiar with the problems of polls and I think the margin of error here is a bit high. However, this tells me that overall, Americans are very unhappy with government overall- probably the most unhappy that they have ever been.

Add to that another statistic reported on Marketplace News- the income of the wealthiest 1% grew by 21% since 2005. Hello! Can you say the rich are getting richer while the middle class is shrinking? Maybe that has a lot to with people's discon

This combined with the war and the lies of this Administration will make this a pivotal election. And if the Democrats don't start going on the rampage, they will only be selected as the lesser of two evils rather than as the problem solvers that we need. So far, 49% of the polling sample said they would vote Democrat with only 35% saying Republican. That isn't as high as I'd like to see it. Let the impeachment investigations begin!


Dr. Strangelove said... provides some handy summary tables of overall job ratings for the President and Congress from various outlets.

In general Bush's approval rating has been hovering around 30-35%. It used to be up around 40-45%.

While ratings for Congress are more volatile--and are indeed somewhat lower now, staying around 20-30% these days--they really have not changed all that much. They've been around 25-35% for the last few years, with plenty of outliers.

For overall direction of the country, the story is much more clear. The Gallup Poll has 10 years of history and the numbers are now the worst ever, with consistently 70%+ disliking the way we are headed.

Raised By Republicans said...

Gee. There are A LOT of reasons why US West's doom and gloom predictions for the collapse of American democracy are not founded.

First, just because Congress doesn't do anything, doesn't mean it's broken. It was designed not to do anything on purpose and seems to be working perfectly.

Second, while it is true that you have ask people "Do you approve of Congress" they get all puffed up and yell, "Hell no!" But if you ask them "What do you think your House Rep or Senator?" They "Oh, (s)he's the only one there doing any good." Keep in mind, no one votes for Congress. They vote for a particular represetnative or Senator. Low approval ratings for Congress as a whole are pretty normal - we see them all the time.

Third, our institutional structures which are so often the cause of frustrating gridlock are also more than capable of riding out a storm of voter dissatisfaction. By breaking up elections into hundreds of local elections, they mute the effects of national displeasure.

Fourth, gridlock is never frustrating for everyone at any one point in time. For every issue that gets killed in committee or vetoed or fillibustered there is a sizable gruop of people in the wings cheering loudly or at least sighing with relief.

Most of the people who complain about gridlock do so because they assume (wrongly) that there is some policy or set of policies that is obviously and objectively best for the whole country and that it is the evil of gridlock that prevents us from achieving it.

US west hasn't said this directly but the tone is clear. Our government is so incapable of enacted the "needed" policies that people are convinced it is "broken beyond repair" and so may be about to rise up and remake our country into "some kind of new Republic." That all implicitly assumes that everyone wants the same thing is mad that they aren't getting it and that enough of them are mad enough to set up an alternative (and that enough of them agree on what that alternative should be).

The essence of democracy is managed disagreement and protections for the losers of policy debates. What we are seeing today is not only normal it is working exactly as the founders intended (except for some of the executive over reaching - which is slowly being dealt with by the Supreme Court).

In short, the state of the Union is: Situation Normal...All Fauled Up.

Raised By Republicans said...

OK, I just reviewed the previous comment and saw the many typos. I apologize for commenting after happy hour. :-)

Dr. Strangelove said...

I can assure that this not the first BUI occurrence. (Blogging Under the Influence).

USWest said...

If it were just a case of gridlock, then I wouldn't feel so concerned. but we are way beyond gridlock.

1. Congress has seceded nearly all it's power to a dangerously incompetent, ideological administration and it seems disinclined to use what power it has to bring balance back to the system. Therefore, there is little left of the checks and balances.

2. The Supreme Court has become even more partisan and political than it has been in the past. It doesn't seems terribly inclined to reign it the White House either. Let' snot forget who let these people into the White House to begin with.

3. We have a war going on in Iraq and rumblings about another one in Iran.

4. We have many Congressional hearings and investigations go on, but not much seems to come from them. The Administration ignores Congressional subpoenas and does its level best to undermine Congress at every turn. No one is held accountable for the damage they have done while in office. They just resign. Big deal.

5. Congress seems deaf to the electorate who are calling for withdrawal from Iraq and impeachment hearings.

So I would feel much more hopeful about the state of the union if the following things were to happen.

1. Congress commence the impeachment process against Bush and Cheney. Even it if doesn't get farther than the Judiciary Committee, it would send a positive message.

2. Congress should refuse to continue funding Guantanamo. Fund the war, but start defunding the most egregious parts of it.

3. Start putting the likes of Gonzales, Rove, etc. on trial for criminal negligence if not treason.

4. Spend less time condemning Turkey and more time dealing with the Medicade problem, the Medicare problem, the social security problem, the health care problem.

5. Get serious about simplifying the tax code and helping the middle class.

Gridlock isn't the problem. Corruption, and downright lillyliveredness is the problem. Our Republic is like a garden. If you don't tend it, it will go to seed. We have gone to seed.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I know USWest doesn't like bumper stickers, but I can't resist one I saw recently: Impeach, Indict, Imprison.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I think RBR is correct that the supine Congress does not represent a major change from the past. But USWest is absolutely right that this has become far more of a problem for the future of our republic than it has been since 1860. All of our most cherished traditions and values are being destroyed by the Republicans, while the Democrats make no real effort even to investigate, nevermind punish. And I fear that even if the Dems win the White House in 2008, there will be no major housecleaning. That's the rub.

We need not just mass resignations and firings of officials from every department and the Pentagon, but we also need trials and punishments meted out. Those who lied to Congress need to be punished for that crime (it is a crime). Top of the list: Gonzalez. Everyone who has participated in Gitmo or secret CIA prisons must be punished, with dishonorable discharges (if in the military) and fines and imprisonment for civilians.

Above all, they must be exposed and disgraced, and shown for who they are: men and women totally without honor. They violated their oath to uphold the Constitution. They lied as they destroyed the very freedom they professed to be defending. We can't teach the lesson to the next generation that the ends do not justify the means unless we make these traitors pay.

Uswest said...

Can we have them printed up to pass around! Maybe we can put them under the windshield wipers in the Capital parking lot.