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How low can you go? How low can you go?

How low can congressional approval ratings go? Single digit low. But not low enough, apparently, for voters to remove bad actors from Congress or generate substantial grassroots support for term limits.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely voters found that only nine percent (9%) give Congress good or excellent ratings, while 54% give the legislature poor marks. Just one-out-of-50 voters (2%) think Congress is doing an excellent job.

The last time the ratings were this low was on September 9. In late November, 12% gave Congress good or excellent ratings. This is now the fifth time congressional ratings have fallen below 10% since June 1.

I'm trying to remember what Congress may have done between September 9th and now that caused approval to skyrocket over 10%. Passing the bailout package? Excoriating a few CEOs for buying what Fannie and Freddie were selling? Fading into the background of a Presidential Election?
One-in-three voters (34%) believes most members of Congress are corrupt, while 39% disagree. In last month's survey, 36% saw most members as corrupt.
A separate Rasmussen survey released last week found that voters view politicians as being more corrupt than CEO's of major corporations by a 48% to 25% margin.

Voters are more or less evenly split on whether Congress is corrupt. Congress' remedy for this crisis of confidence will involve consolidating even more power in Washington. The government doesn't manage its own affairs well, but now we can rely on them to repair the credit market, auto industry, health care, and wisely mete out economic stimulus. Double digit approval here we come!

How CEO's of major corporations get mentioned in the same breath a Congress is a mystery to me. CEO's are held accountable by shareholders. CEO's go to jail when they break the law. Unlike Congress, competency counts in the private sector. They may escape with a golden parachute, but CEO's from failed companies can't spend a lifetime plundering their assigned treasuries like elected officials.

The latest survey found that just 14% of voters believe members of Congress are more interested in helping people than their own careers, down from 23% in November. Most voters (71%) say the opposite
Yet the voters dutifully return the same people to Congress for decades on end. There's no disputing that going to Washington is all about amassing power and influence. What one does with that power and influence distinguishes the true public servants from the pork barrel politicians. Republicans and Democrats are equally guilty of abusing power - just as Republican and Democratic voters share the blame for enabling their malfeasance.

The natural tendency of those in power is to seek more power. The Founding Fathers knew this all too well and did their best to guard against concentrating the federal government's powers. But federalism has been effectively buried and replaced with an all-knowing, all-powerful central politburo compelled to manage the smallest details of our lives.

Either that's what the majority of Americans want or we're all too stupid to look past the (R) or (D) next to a candidate's name and send the most competent person with a believe in limited government to represent us in Washington. We get the government we deserve. Maybe we just don't deserve better.


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Comments (10)

Who the hell are the 9% tha... (Below threshold)

Who the hell are the 9% that give them excellent or good ratings?

They obviously are not intelligent enough to vote.

The 9% constitute family an... (Below threshold)

The 9% constitute family and paid staffers.

Maybe they should get paid ... (Below threshold)

Maybe they should get paid on their approval ratings. Take 91% of their pay away. After a quarter goes by we can rate them again and give or take with the results.

My district (CA-4) did its ... (Below threshold)
The Other JD:

My district (CA-4) did its part in this most recent election.

Though reliably a (R) district since the beginning of time, it was made clear to the former incumbent (John Doolittle - the perfect name for a congresscritter) that he would probably lose in the primary, and would get crushed in the general election.

So he didn't run for re-election.

And while Tom McClintock isn't perfect, he is a straight-up no-chaser 190-proof fiscal conservative whose well speeches are destined to become legend in the 'sphere.

Sometimes, all that needs to be done is to make it clear to the incumbent that he'll be toast in the general, and the only way to keep the seat in the current party is for the incumbent to "honorably" retire.

But haven't several polls o... (Below threshold)
ExRat Author Profile Page:

But haven't several polls over the years consistently revealed that although most people think Congress as an institution is worse than a den of incompetent thieves, they think their own Representative and Senators are just fine?

Until folks realize that their own Reps and Sens are part of the problem and decide to throw them out, Congress will never get better.

The situation is, of course... (Below threshold)
troglodyte Author Profile Page:

The situation is, of course, rather worse than you describe. Per a recent Zogby poll some 57% of Obama voters believed that the Republicans control the current congress. Not only don't they throw the bums out, they don't even know which bums are in!

That survey is WRONG! Numb... (Below threshold)

That survey is WRONG! Number is too high. I was thinking maybe 3%....and that's giving them the benefit of the doubt.

After discovering that Hill... (Below threshold)

After discovering that Hillary was not Constitutionally qualified for the Secretary of State job because the salary of the secretary of State was raised while she was in the Senate, Congress and President Bush passed a bill lowering the Secretary Of State's salary. There will likely be a federal lawsuit. I wonder if John Kerry will be the plaintiff?

President Signs Bill Lowering Salary of Secretary of State December 19th, 2008

On December 19, President George W. Bush signed Senate Joint Resolution 46, which lowers the salary of the Secretary of State from $191,300 to $186,600. SJR 46 had been introduced in the U.S. Senate on December 10, and it passed unanimously that same day. The House passed it unanimously on December 12. The reason for the bill is that Article I, section 6, says that no member of Congress may take an office if the salary for that office had been increased while that individual was in Congress. Senator Hillary Clinton was in Congress when the Secretary of State's salary was increased in 2007. Link here.

#5: Congressmen are kinda l... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

#5: Congressmen are kinda like lawyers. Everybody loves to hate lawyers, but they want their OWN lawyer to be the sharpest, greediest sonofabitch out there.
#6: That Zogby poll was immediately discredited, and you and I and everyone else knows it.
#8: The same device has been used many times in the past. It's no big deal.

It's interesting that the a... (Below threshold)

It's interesting that the approval rating of the democrat congress has gone so low without the democrats having to pay a price for it at all.

This, I think, is a graphic example of the remaining power of the conventional press.

Interestingly, the well-informed in this country do not decide elections. The great unwashed and undecided middle does. These are the people that really don't pay that much attention.

Since they have no actual knowledge of current events, their opinions come from the headlines they see as they skim the front page of their newspaper on the way to the Sports pages and the comics. They see the political late night comedy monologues and they uncritically watch the political propaganda of Hollywood.

Add in the huge brainwashing of the educational system, and it's a wonder Republicans ever get elected to anything.

Until these structural defects are addressed in some sensible way, Republicans will remain in the wilderness.






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