For the first time since Rasmussen began measuring Congressional approval, the rating has hit single digits. Only 9% of Americans now believe Congress is doing a good or excellent job.
Hereâ€™s my favorite statistic: while 13% of Democrats give Congress good ratings and 8% of Republicans do, just 3% of unaffiliated/independent voters give Congress a good rating. Three percent!
While Democrats are still likely to pick up seats in November, these numbers should worry them. Despite promising a more responsible Congress, the Dems have changed little since taking power. New groups are getting the back scratches but itâ€™s still the same-old special-interest focus and pork barrel/earmark-laden spending ( albeit without the shockingly overt corruption seen by the Republicans in their last years in power).Substantive legislation is severely lacking.
Part of Congressâ€™ ineffectiveness is due to divided government (not necessarily a bad thing) and tight margins in the Senate which allow Republicans to block many measures. But, itâ€™s telling that the Democrats have expended more energy on raising taxes and bloating spending bills than they have on more pressing matters. If this trend continues for long, the Republicans should be able to regain seats in 2010.
Congress, as an institution, has become mostly petty with individual members more concerned with funneling pork to their district and following their partyâ€™s line than they are with responsible government on a national level. While Congress has always been full of opportunists and sycophants, there seems now to be a crippling lack of great leaders who have the will and the ability to tackle the big issues and marshal the energies of their lesser peers.
If Democrats canâ€™t find real leaders within their own coalition, then the nation is likely to keep switching Congressional control back-and-forth until one party finally proves it can assemble a Congress capable of more than passing spending bills.