Congress is as Unpopular as Ever
Bush’s approval ratings may be in the toilet, but Congress is right down there with him. Recent polls show Congressional approval ratings in the 20’s.
So what is the problem? I am sure you all have theories, but here are a couple of my own.
Iraq – The Democrats were given a comfortable majority in the House and a paper-thin majority in the Senate. This gave them the ability to go a couple of different ways in Iraq. One logical, if unlikely, option would be to give full-throated support to Bush. Another option would have been to refuse any funding until Bush set a firm deadline to withdraw the bulk of the forces from Iraq. Each of these choices would have pleased a lot of people and alienated others. Instead they have tried to find a middle ground, enabling Bush in a passive-aggressive manner. As a result, it looks like they have managed to piss off almost everybody.
Call me a hopeless optimist, but I believe that this fall the Democrats will finally find their spine and bring this quagmire to an end. Even Republicans are beginning to acknowledge that the writing is on the wall.
Immigration – When the Democrats took power in Congress, a lot of conservatives claimed that the only way the Democrats could stay in power was by cooperating with Bush. (Needless to say, this kind of advice must be taken with a large grain of salt.) The talking heads in the media love to praise bipartisanship, too.
So you guys wanted bipartisanship? The immigration bill is bipartisanship at its best… or worst. I think it safe to say that conservatives are unhappy with this bill. Most people on the other side of the spectrum aren’t thrilled either. As in Iraq, compromise has failed to please anybody.
Personally, I think the bill has a lot of good elements and on the whole probably deserves to pass. Alas, it is being vilified from one end of the country to the other. The Democrats should break it into manageable chunks or let it die.
While the current unpopularity of Congress may sound like good news for Republicans, there is some evidence that voters still prefer the Democrats to the alternative. For example, a CNN poll in May showed that 51% of adults think it is “good for the country” that the Democrats control Congress, while only 37% think it is bad. Always remember the eternal rule of politics: You can’t beat somebody with nobody. More importantly, a lot can happen by November 2008.
I am probably going to be accused of being an apologist, but it can’t be said enough that the Democrats don’t really have a firm hold on Congress. In the House they have a solid majority, and should be held fully responsible. In Senate they have a minimal 51 seat majority, and that includes one very “Independent Democrat” and another guy who can’t even vote because he had a stroke. (Bernie Sander is an Independent too, but since he used to be a Socialist I think the Dems need not worry). If they were a sports team, you would say they had one key player -- they are all key players -- who is injured and another who is demanding to be traded. This is not a team that can run roughshod over the opposition.
Many Republicans made the same point after the election. Charlie Cook made it months beforehand, in February 2006. He starts out talking about a hypothetical scenario that would give Democrats minimal control of the Senate:
…Those successes would give the Democrats the barest, 51-vote majority and, along with it, the power to investigate and subpoena. But they could do very little else, particularly with President Bush in the White House… The worst situation for any party in a legislative chamber is to have the responsibility to govern without the power to do so. If Democrats gain a majority in each chamber, they'll find themselves sharing blame with President Bush.
Does this scenario look familiar?
Posted by Woody Mena at June 21, 2007 10:13 AM
Woody, thank goodness for the American people that Democrats DON’T have a filibuster proof Senate, or this sham of an amnesty bill which repeats the mistakes of 1986 would have passed already.
Yes, in general, the public majority favors Democratic control of Congress over Republicans. But, that comes with the public’s fervent hope that they will see a break in the dark clouds blocking the sun on our children’s future. Why are Democrats not addressing the main substantive issues facing our future like entitlement spending, health care inflation, dramatically improved education quality in our K-12 public schools, and campaign finance reform which corrupts our entire political and legislative process, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) so adroitly addressed on C-Span’s Washington Journal this morning? Time is running out on these issues. Every session Congress doesn’t act on these major issues, drives up the pain and financial costs of solving them later.
Iraq is only a part of what concerns Americans about Congress’ efforts.
I will address each of the issues you brought up
Entitlements - No one is going to touch this one anytime soon.
Education - The immediate question is what to do with No Child Left Behind, which is up for renewal this year. Should be an interesting debate. You don’t often see Ted Kennedy on the same side as Bush.
Health care inflation - This won’t be fixed until we get a new President with a mandate to fix it.
Campaign finance reform - I’m not sure that it is reformable… Patchwork McCain-Feingold-type solutions are clearly useless.
i think the dems are putting to much weight on the war issue, while i do believe it was a factor in the reps losing the congress, i also think the bigger reason was the corruption, scandle, and lack of fiscal responsability. if you noticed many of the dems elected were middle of the road, ie anti illegal immigration, pro gun, with fairly traditional values.
also i believe they are spending to much time attacking bush, and witch hunting, rather than just taking care of business. if they’re going to be tough on corruption they need to start by showing they won’t stand for it in thier own party. we’ve heard plenty about the AG, and firing of US prosecutors, and so on, but very little about the cancers in thier own party. jefferson had been under investigation for quite some time with evidence mounting against him, but knowing what she new speaker pelosi gave him, i believe was a chairmanship on another committee. this doesn’t make much sense.
“Education - The immediate question is what to do with No Child Left Behind,”
i disagree, the immediate question in my mind is how to put the interests of the children first, and take the power away from the NEA, and the numerous teachers unions who aren’t interested in anything but maintaining and increasing thier membership, and influence.
Campaign finance reform -
i don’t expect much here other than more attempts by incumbents to shut us up before elections.
Health care inflation-
this isn’t going anywhere either with so many opposing views on how to accomplish this.
if the dems push through this amnesty bill, that is if the new members of congress that ran on being tough on illegal immigration, submit to party leadreship, and don’t vote the way thier constituants expect, may find thier stints in congress short lived.
i also wouldn’t spend a lot of time pointing out the fact that the dems don’t have a veto proof majority in congress, and using it as a excuse for not being able to get anything you want done, as these type of majorities seldom exist.
Woody, these aren’t new, or even different attempts to explain why we haven’t been able to make things happen in Congress. What they are though, are just more efforts to get it through to dissenters how nearly impossible it is to move through neck-deep mire.
Good example, David, with the immigration bill….this thing has got to stop now, with no parts of it passing, as it is an absolute myriad of actions.
The stem cell bill was vetoed….big surprise, NOT.
Bush is so dug in now, that I haven’t decided if he is just absolutely impervious to all outside his own head, or if it’s just more of his own “don’t give a s**t” attitude to most things we find important to deal with.
I personally had hoped for a larger margin on our side and would have loved to have started cleaning house from the top down, but guess I didn’t wish hard enough.
Bottom line for now is that we are like standing with one leg in the mud up to our cheeks and can only go in circles. We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
In regard to Jefferson, there is a genuine dilemma about how far you can go against someone who has been indicted, but not convicted, for a crime. Jefferson has no more committee memberships left. The only meaningful penalty left is to kick him out, overturning a recent election. I think he should probably be expelled from Congress, but this isn’t a no-brainer.
It is funny to accuse the Dems of just witch hunting when they are currently working with Bush on a very controversial immigration bill.
Your point about the NEA, etc, fits with what to do with NCLB. That is the starting point for reform now.
I didn’t say they don’t have a veto-proof majority (although they don’t). My point is that they barely have a majority at all. That may sound like an excuse, but it’s a valid excuse.
Too the contrary.If the Dems had a veto proof majority in the senate the Iraqi regime would have the boot in the ass to really work out a political solution If they failed at least our troops would be homeward bound and/or sent to Afganistan for a real potential victory.
The proundly significant reseach foundations of the federal government would be actively pursueing the peer review and support services necessary for advances regarding stem cell research.
Entitlements? The only way to address them is through budgeting.The Reps have done such a poor job at this that yes indeed it could become a crises. Severe measures are in order.High among them are recinding the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy and curtailing the bizarly expensive developement of weapons systems of little,if any,utility.
Medicare and healthcare inflation can only be addressed by a national plan with cost containment.Without the Rep regime we would be well on our way.
Blameing the Dem congress for these is a bit like the old right wing method of starving a program for funds and then complainning that the program does not work.
“In regard to Jefferson, there is a genuine dilemma about how far you can go against someone who has been indicted, but not convicted,”
i agree, but being removed from one committee, and being put on another one, doesn’t make a lot of sense when your railing against corruption in the other party. i would agree that someone is inocent until proven guilty, but 90k in cash in your freezer is pretty strong evidence, and the prudent thing to do would to have not allow him to serve on any committee.
“It is funny to accuse the Dems of just witch hunting when they are currently working with Bush on a very controversial immigration bill.”
your an intelligent guy woody, i think you know what i meant. one has nothing to do with the other.
“That may sound like an excuse, but it’s a valid excuse.”
it really isn’t because unless you can get 60 seats in the senate and end debate on any legislation you want to push through, you’ll always be able to blame failure on the reps. as for the house you have enough of a majority to pretty much move any legislation you want as long as the members fall in line with the leadership.
The Dems have proven themselves to be liars and hypocrites and just as corrupt as the Reps, if not more so. Their top priority seems to be to destroy the Bush administration at all costs, regardless of the harm they’re doing to the country. They have their collective(ist) noses stuck up the butts of our enemies, trying to outdo each other in treason. It’s no wonder they’re in the toilet where they belong. Now, if someone would just flush…
I think you actually made my argument stronger. If the Republicans can stop anything they want with a 59 seat Democratic majority, then, a fortiori, it is even easier to stop things when the opposition only has a 50 seat (out of 99) majority.
As for the cash in the freezer, I am sure we have all heard arguments before against people being tried in the media.
traveller - I think Bush is doing a good job of
destroying himself with out the help of the
Democrats. Seems as though the Democrats are
doing a good job of self destruction within their
“I think you actually made my argument stronger”
HMMMM. interesting. so as long as you hold less than 60 senate seats your excuse is always going to be it’s the reps fault. don’t see it as making your argument stronger, only giving you a built in scapegoat for failing, but ok.
“As for the cash in the freezer, I am sure we have all heard arguments before against people being tried in the media.”
ah yes, like scooter libby. you have to admit though, placing jefferson in a leadership role probably wasn’t the smartest thing pelosi ever did. 90k in the freezer, pretty hard to explain away, but we’ll see.
I don’t usually agree with you, but I find myself agreeing with you. A little frightening.
“While the current unpopularity of Congress may sound like good news for Republicans, there is some evidence that voters still prefer the Democrats to the alternative. For example, a CNN poll in May showed that 51% of adults think it is “good for the country” that the Democrats control Congress, while only 37% think it is bad.”
Dig a little deeper. I suspect the only reason many of those voters feel better that Dems controll congress is because there is a Rep in the White House to counteract. If there was a Dem in the White House, I suspect those approval numbers would drop. These days, it seems, the worst thing that can happen is for the White House and Capitol Hill being controlled by the same party.
Other than this, I agree that Dems have tactically shot themselves in the foot several times. It will take time for them to re-learn how to be in the majority. Here’s hoping they learn quicker and better than the Repubs did. I must say I am disappointed that there has not been more action on the list as pointed out by David Remer. Size of majority does not matter politically. If your majority is slim, there are still many political actions available to at least “make your point.” Inaction simply appears lazy. Unfortunately, the actions taken so far seem more like posturing for posturing’s sake, rather than making a point for future use in passing good public policy.
I’ve said all along that anyone who thinks Bush is conservative hasn’t been paying attention. He’s an internationalist with no loyalty to the United States. Nearly everyone, left or right, assumes that any Republican president is automatically conservative. As Nixon, Bush the elder and W have shown, this isn’t true. Bush and the Republican leadership have repeatedly shown that they are not conservative but the base has apparently refused to see. Now, with the insults that Bush, Lott et al have been throwing at the opponents of the amnesty bill many are removing their blinders and seeing that the Reps are as treasonous as the Dems. The amnesty bill may be the straw that breaks the camels back.
The Democrats’ witch hunt is contributing to their self destruction. Their obsessive drive for short term political gain at all costs is driving home their complete disregard for the good of the country.
Add this seemingly pathological obsession to the Dems complete moral bankruptcy, utter corruption, appeasement and love of statism and the attainment of their power lust may be out of reach. Since their base believes in the same evil philosophy as the leaders, I’m probably wrong.
God help us if I am.
I love to count backwards (that’s what the neurologists always have me do to see if the last grand mall toasted my brain) so I’ll start with #2: It’s damn simple, just drop the idea of “comprehensive reform”! Secure the borders! Will any fence be 100% effective? NO! But we need to fix the leak before we do anything else.
BTW; fixing that leak requires some intense econo-diplomatic work with Mexico and our Central and South American neighbors. Anyone that thinks otherwise needs to remember how effective the castle walls and moats of Europe were over time. Someone always created a better catapult and formed a stronger army.
Now……….on to #1: This total horse crap about voters expecting Democrats to end the war in Iraq is just stupid. I’ve met a few of these “Democrats” in person and when I try to explain the actual logistics they totally go insane! Wake the f*** up Democrats! I’m one of you, but Biden has it right! Tying up funds longer in a pi##ing contest would harm the troops and NOT get us out of Iraq.
Joe Biden had introduced an amendment to the war funding bill requesting many more MRAPS to protect our guys and gals in Iraq and I believe it passed without opposition in the Senate. But, where are the MRAPS? http://www.upi.com/Security_Terrorism/Briefing/2007/06/04/biden_probes_mrap_vehicle_delays/4341/
Please do some googling and find out what’s holding up the MRAPS. Here’s a start:
It’s time for a real awakening among the American public. Unfortunately we’ve become a bunch of freakin’ boobs. We’re too easily satisfied with the newest bobbles and beads to care about anything that really sustains “us” as a nation.
Sad but true!
traveller said: “I’ve said all along that anyone who thinks Bush is conservative hasn’t been paying attention. He’s an internationalist with no loyalty to the United States.”
Odd that Republican voters almost to a person voted to reelect him in 2004. Its one thing if Republicans were duped in 2000 a “non-Republican”. But, what does it say when they reelect a “non-Republican” again 4 years later? Either Bush IS a Republican or, Republican voters are stupider than a herd of bovines marching proudly to slaughter.
People expect too much from government and the Dems overpromised. I feel some sympathy for them, but not much since they asked for it.
BTW - it is a worldwide problem. Government is held in low esteem all over the place. Maybe the people of the world are on to something.
Woody, For those that had high expectations of the dems, such as other dems, expecting to change everything overnight they are disappointed. For those that had higher than believable expectations, such as the repubs, they are disappointed because it benefits them. Those of us that had low expectations are just happy to see the bleeding from the 109th stopped. Still it would be nice to see a decent immigration bill passed along with an excellent energy bill, but it might be wiser to tred water and wait for a dem president to replace the real problem in 08.
David R.Remer- Vice President Chaney today, apparently refused to let investigators check his
e-mails by stating that his office was was a
fourth branch of Gov. an they could not bother him? Not
in those words(precisely).Do you know of such a
“it might be wiser to tred water and wait for a dem president to replace the real problem in 08.”
Unfortunately Nader is already almost promising to upset that apple cart, not to mention the possibility of a Bloomberg ticket. I wouldn’t count on anything. Given the wisdom of the average American voter I think we best get used to the idea of a President Thompson.
Funny you say they promised too much. Seems like the rap against Democrats before the election was that the had no plan and no program.
Frankly, I think the first criticism was more accurate. It was really a limited program. Pelosi promised investigations, which have certainly not been lacking. They promised to change the course in Iraq. This has not been accomplished — so far.
Then there was the “Six for 06”. They passed the minimum wage and Bush vetoed the stem cell bill. My criticism of Reid for not getting the other four done yet still stands, although I doubt many people know what they are.
I’m not sure what you are saying. I think a lot of people voted for a Democrat expecting them to end the war one way or another. As I said, so far they haven’t pleased anybody.
You are right that they had no plan and they were not specific, but they clearly promised that lots of things would change and improve. So far, nothing much has happened except enhanced Bush-bashing. That was fun at first, but it is getting old. I suppose that is why the congress is so unpopular. It will be harder next year to claim they are going to make changes. We will have a real world record to judge.
David R. Remer,
Bush is a Republican. He’s not a conservative. In fact the Republican Party is, for the most part, not conservative. The two are not synonymous. Conservatives vote Republican because the socialism of the Democrats is not an option. The Republican Party has been coopted by the NeoConservatives. The name is intentionally deceptive. NeoCons are leftists; socialists in fact. Their philosophical foundation is Trotskyism. Hopefully the Bush administration will awaken conservatives to the truth before the Stalinist Democrats can consolidate power.
I believe the only reason Bush got elected and then reelected was the opponent he faced each time.
Gore carried the Clinton stench of corruption that people were tired of. There was hope that some dignity could be brought back to the presidency after 8 years of a walking hardon.
Kerry was clearly a phony opportunist and appeaser. His treasonous activities in the 70s are unforgivable.
Bush didn’t really start to show his true colors until after he was reelected. Now with the amnesty sellout the facade is gone. Unfortunately for the left, this treasonous bill is as much theirs as Bush’s. Bush has shown himself to be one of them and the anger at his deception and betrayal of the people who put him in office is fierce.
Jack- The Bush bashing must be working. The latest
polls show him with 2 points lower than Jimmy
Carters lowest ever points, go figure?
they clearly promised that lots of things would change and improve
OK, Jack. You’ve got them there. They did promised change and improvement, like every politician since the beginning of time. I don’t think that is going to get them in trouble.
I like the phrase “enhanced Bush-bashing”. The enhanced part is that they can now get more of the facts to show what a lawless administration we have been dealing with.
DAVID (and woody)
If their goal is to Bush-bash and they measure success by tearing him down, yes Dems are successful. If their goal is to do something useful for their country and provide a real alternative, they are currently failing.
The Senate passed an energy bill last night that raises the CAFE. I think that makes the Democrats three for six.
Kansas Dem, I hope your wrong yet I fear your right. After all its the best candidate money can buy that will win the election.
Here’s something to put in your pipe: A general “throw the bums out” sentiment could actually help Democrats enlarge their lead in the Senate.
How is this possible, you ask? Thanks for asking. There are 22 Republicans up for re-election in 2006 vs. 12 Democrats. Although the Democrats have slightly more seats, far more Republicans will actually be at risk of being voted out in 2006.
“it might be wiser to tred water and wait for a dem president to replace the real problem in 08.”
i wouldn’t get my hopes up too high, it’s looking like hillary will be your candidate. don’t think obama will beat her, not that it would matter. from my perspective your best shot would be to run richardson. i think he’s got a much broader appeal, and would be able to get enough votes in red states, and in the south because he’s pro gun. hillarys doesn’t really have the qualifications to be pres., and niether does obama. richardson on the other hand has been a governor, and done pretty well. just my oppinion though.
Hillary isn’t my first choice, but she did spend 8 years at Bill’s side at the White House and has been in the Senate since 2000. No one on the Republican side has more experience besides McCain.
Richardson has a good resume but he, er, touches people.
“Richardson has a good resume but he, er, touches people.”
at the risk of sounding foolish, what does this mean? is there somthing i’m missing here.
“Hillary isn’t my first choice, but she did spend 8 years at Bill’s side at the White House and has been in the Senate since 2000. No one on the Republican side has more experience besides McCain.”
i don’t think being the first lady for 8 yrs. qualifies a person to be pres, niehter does 6 1/2 yrs. in the senate. both romney and rudy have been governors, which in my book makes them far more qualified. personally rudy wouldn’t be my first pick, but we’ll just have to see how the primaries play out. so far the options on both sides are looking pretty lackluster.
It’s interesting how you do not hold Democrats responsible for their low rating. You do not see Social Security, Medicare, National Health Care, Massive pork spending, Massive overall spending, deocrat party corruption as major components in this issue.
I can understand why. If congress is unpopular…it must be those evil NEOCONS That are causing it…right?
I told you folks that after the elections, if the democrats took power, you would no longer be talking about Social Security, Medicare, Balancing the budget,ending ear marks, ending corruption….why? Because democrats have no plan to deal with the big issues. Because democrats are big spenders, corrupt, and what higher taxes.
Look at the law they just passed on Ethanol in the senate. WOW. Talk about a TAX. Food prices will SOAR, and all to support a radicalized left wing, junk science agenda.
You think Congress is unpopular now? Wait until food prices go through the roof as those who produce our nations fuel are forced to outbid famers, dairy farmers, and users of Americans crop land to have it all converted to make fuel.
When milk goes to ten dollars a gallon and the poor cannot afford our increasingly expensive food….they will rise up and vote the corrupt democrats who screwed it all up out of office. You are messing around with their FOOD, they will deal with you for that.
You forgot to say the Republicans are being
obstructionist in most all bills that are allowed,
even the few that can make it to the floor for
a vote need 60 votes which the Democrats seldom have.
traveller said: “Bush didn’t really start to show his true colors until after he was reelected.”
What a fabrication that is. He showed his true colors as Governor of Texas. He showed his true colors with the invasion of Iraq. He showed his true colors with Katrina. He showed his true colors with deficits well before the 2004 election. He showed his true colors with Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, data mining, Patriot Act, all before the 2004 election. He showed his colors on the star wars money pit, the tax spending on promoting marriage and subsidizing religious charities, well before the 2004 election.
No, traveller, fact is, conservatives voted right along with all other Republicans to reelect him because they generally agreed with all these measures as acceptable if not preferable. Their was a primary before the 2004 election. They voted for power and status quo for their party. They knew what they were doing, as short sighted as that proved to be.
“You forgot to say the Republicans are being
obstructionist in most all bills that are allowed,
even the few that can make it to the floor for
a vote need 60 votes which the Democrats seldom have”
sounds like the same obstructionist tactics the dems used when they were in the minority. funny how you would object to it now.
“conservatives voted right along with all other Republicans to reelect him because they generally agreed with all these measures as acceptable if not preferable.”
i voted for him because the thought of john kerry being pres. scared me even more. the old voting for the lesser of two evils strategy.
David R. Remer,
What dbs said. Except I’ve never voted for a Bush.
Yes, many people understood that Bush was bad. Most thought he wasn’t as bad as the alternative. He has recently proven that he was the same.
p.s. Katrina hit in 05-and it is the mayor of NO and the governor of La that carry the responsibility for the tragedy of Katrina.
I hold the Democrats responsible for not having a good negotiating strategy on Iraq, and for supporting Bush on the immigration bill. I think Reid should have gotten more done by now in the Senate.
Apparently Richardson has a habit of poking, tickling, etc. in a manner that some people find annoying. This is not a rumor but is well documented. Just one of those things that would certainly get blown up 1000% on the presidential trail. Plus he has apparently been underwhelming in his media appearances.
The New Republic has a recent article called “Bill Richardson vs. His Resume”.
The minority party is obligated to fight majority bills which they disagree with on principle most Americans support. However, in recent years blocking majority bills is more frequently a response to the bidding of wealthy special interest campaign donor’s, than principle. Compromise is no longer rewarded by a either party’s wealthy special interests. Which is the root cause for why Congress can’t deal with our biggest problems, and why legislation like the 1986 Immigration Reforms caused more problems than it solved.
Unfortunately Nader is already almost promising to upset that apple cart,
I don’t think he has much of chance upsetting the apple cart. After what happened in 2000, his support would be miniscule. He may get some votes from people in solid Red States who know their vote wouldn’t change the outcome.
Every American born in the U.S. over 35 and absent a felony record is entitled to run for President. Those who would fear or denigrate a candidate on grounds they may upset the election results, are no champions of our Constitution or democracy, and would find good company with the likes of Saddam Hussein who also didn’t believe in allowing other candidates to upset the election results.