A New Direction: The Worst Congress Ever?

By: Guest Authors

By Chad MacINNES

The 110th Congress has hit record low approval ratings according to recent Gallup and Rasmussen polls. Gallup recorded a 19% overall approval rating from its poll conducted 9 through 12 June 2008. The results of the Rasmussen poll show that “Congressional ratings first hit nine percent (9%) back at the beginning of July, marking the lowest ratings recorded by Rasmussen Reports. Ratings hit the same low two weeks later. Congress has not received higher than a 15% approval rating since the beginning of this year.” In fairness, Congress typically has the lowest ratings of the three branches polled.

Broken down by party affiliation, Gallup shows Democrats giving Congress a 23% approval rating, with Independents and Republicans coming in at about 17% and 16%, respectively. The Rasmussen numbers differ some, reporting a mere 13% positive rating among Democrats, with Republicans coming in at 8% and Independents giving only 3% approval to the job the current Congress is doing. Regardless of the difference in the percentage numbers, it would appear as though the 110th Congress has a mighty PR problem on its hands.

According to Rasmussen, 63% percent of voters identifying themselves as not affiliated with either main political party showed the most discontent with the Congress saying it is doing a poor job. According to the Gallup polls, the general disapproval rating for this Congress is hovering at around 75%. Based on it’s own historical tracking data for Congress, the Gallup report said that these rating are “the worst Gallup has measured since it began tracking Congressional job approval in 1974.”

The Rasmussen report states further that just “12% of voters think Congress has passed any legislation to improve life in this country over the past six months. That number has ranged from 11% to 13% throughout 2008. The majority of voters (62%) say Congress has not passed any legislation to improve life in America.” In fact, the 110th Congress has passed over 1900 “symbolic resolutions,” such as designating National Watermelon Month and National Funeral Director and Mortician Recognition Day. This Congress has also just recently resolved to issue a formal apology for slavery.

An article published 30 April 2008 in the New York Times stated: “Americans are pumping their paychecks into their gas tanks, and the economy is in a stall. Food scarcities threaten governments overseas and spur hoarding at home. Foreclosures are up, home sales are down. Progress in Iraq and Afghanistan is halting… Frustration is building as lawmakers see a major disconnect between the everyday anxieties of people back home and the Washington agenda.”

Indeed the frustration is real among American voters, as evidenced by the polls. The big question now is: “How will this frustration pan out in November?” Will the growing discontent with the direction of the nation and the glaring ineptitude of Congress translate into any action? If this last session most recently adjourned coupled with Speaker Pelosi (25% overall approval rating) and Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle’s reluctance to even address those issues voters find important is any indication of what is to come, suffice it to say that November could prove very interesting indeed. One can only hope that Madame Speaker will make good on her promise and motto and, now having proved that the politics as usual attitude has been an abysmal failure, at least try a New Direction.

Unfortunately for our republic Pelosi’s idea of a New Direction means flushing billion more dollars into failing mega-corporations. At least there is some truth to her motto: nationalization of industry is relatively new to the US, right?


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