Well, this Congress has finally set a record. It’s the least popular in the history of polls.
With only a 14% approval rating in this week’s CNN poll, this Congress has finally bottomed out below the 1992 Congress that led to the abortive third-party movement of Ross Perot. Maybe their approval rating with rise in August….they are recessed and out of Washington for the month. Now, we get to see how many of them have the guts to meet with their constituents. The last recess saw many cancelling appearances in the aftermath of the Ryan Budget vote.
As low as the president’s approval rating is, below 40% in all polls, at least he’s still polling higher than Congress.
Though the poll numbers are worrisome for both parties, they do represent an opportunity for the Democrats. They need to stop being polite and lay the blame where it belongs. They need to fight the perception that having a majority in both houses for four years actually meant anything when put up against the filibuster – a procedural tactic too few Americans understand. They need to make certain that people understand that Barack Obama does not issue executive orders or use signing statements to by-pass or override Congress the way President Bush did. He has refused to become America’s fourth Constitutional dictator. (That’s not my definition of the Bush presidency, by the way, but the term political scientists use for presidents who do what Bush, Roosevelt and Lincoln did with executive orders.) One political pundit this week noted that Democrats have been really bad at reducing the terminology of government to understandable terms, while Republicans are very good at sound biting with phrases like “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem,” and “Where’s the President’s plan?” Um – the State of the Union address, the Simpson-Bowles commission, the Gang of Six report, the “I’ll see your one point five trillion and raise you two point five trillion and increased revenues” slam in the negotiations?
Note to Wasserman-Schultz, Israel and Murphy – if you can’t hire Jon Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s writers, kidnap them. They know how to talk to people. You have very little time to get them to teach you how to do that.