Congress Has Earned Every Percentage Point Of Its Lousy Ratings

Published 4:13 pm Thursday, January 19, 2012

More than eight out of 10 Americans believe Congress is doing a lousy job.

In a year, they'll have a chance to delouse D.C.


Email newsletter signup



The new Washington Post-ABC News poll confirms what most Americans have been feeling and now those Americans know they are not alone; 84 percent of the American people “disapprove” of the job Congress is doing.

Or isn't doing.

And nearly two out of three Americans “disapprove strongly.”

The approval rating?

A whopping 13 percent approve of the job Congress is doing.

No, it certainly will not take two hands to handle that whopper of an approval rating.

Let's not begrudge the 112th Congress these amazing poll numbers, however. Respect given where it is due.

The 112th Congress finds itself the recipient of this disapproval rating the old-fashioned way.

The hard way.

Congress earned it.

Every single percentage point.

One percentage point at a time.

This Congress has disappointed so many people through its obvious emphasis on winning political points for political parties rather than working for the benefit of the American people.

There has been as much willingness to find common ground as there are sandy beaches and bikinis at the North Pole.

The partisanship has been so glaring that we all need to wear sunglasses and lotion our skin with maximum level sun block when we watch the news.

Farmers and gardeners won't need fertilizer this spring. They can simply spread pages of The Congressional Record across their fields and gardens.

Everybody is pointing a finger at everybody else and so they are missing the point entirely. They are their own worst enemies in Washington, and ours, as well.

The 112th Congress gazes into the mirror, believing it is looking out the window at its adoring public. But that mirror doesn't reflect the American people.

And this Congress forgets a crucial fact of life: the American people want effective governance and they don't much care who gets the credit.

No political party can accurately claim to represent the American people. This nation's electoral history utterly refutes any such assertions by Republicans or Democrats.

Bits and pieces of each party represent the American people, and most effectively when those slices of philosophy and their practical application in legislation are used together, blended like a patchwork quilt. No party's beliefs cover us all. Nor could they. We, the people, are far too diverse in our thinking, and have always been so.

Drop the personal and party hubris. Nobody in Congress is the great and powerful Oz. They are all that small man behind the curtain-revealed in the film, The Wizard Of Oz, by the little dog, Toto-trying to convince us of their superiority. Such politicians should remember their human vulnerability and actually take heart from the fact-because the weight is on collective shoulders, not those of one “superhuman” individual.

Members of Congress are no better, nor worse, than any one of us. Being a Republican doesn't make them better than a Democrat, just as the opposite holds equally true. Both parties have been voted out of office more times than you can count with your fingers and toes. If Congress could walk on water it wouldn't be swirling down the approval rating drain.

Congress is dysfunctional right now and too many politicians returning to the nation's capital this month deserve credit for that. Is every member of Congress to blame? No, of course not. There are members of the House and Senate who have sought nation-building consensus and make their philosophical arguments in measured tones that encourage others to listen and consider. But there are not enough of them in Washington.

Were it a television show with such ratings Congress would be canceled.

We cannot afford that, but we can change the actors in November if they don't re-write their script.