The mainstream media have long held President Bush's low approval ratings in front of us to remind us that he is not a very popular president. this is beyond dispute, though we may differ in analyzing why the president's approval ratings are so low. However, since the same media is trumpeting the Democratic Congress (and by inference a Democratic President in 2008) as the cure, let's see if they are doing any better.
According to a Gallup poll published yesterday, it seems that Congress is even less popular than the President. Gallup is reporting that Congress' own approval ratings have dropped to 29 percent, as compared to the President's 33 percent approval rating. The facet of this poll that is surprising is that Congress scores this low despite the media giving the Democrats a virtual pass on their ethical probelms, as compared to the Republicans. But this is normal- the media can always be counted on to cover Democrats much more positively than Republicans.
These results should come as no surprise. It is very hard for a Congress as evenly divided as the last few have been to get anything done, thus it is normal for Americans to shower Congress as a whole with disapproval, while still thinking that their own representative is doing a great job. The problem is exacerbated by this Congress' determination to try to confront the President at every juncture, and their disinclination to actually make good on the campaign promises that carried them to victory- cleaning up corruption and pulling the troops from Iraq. This Congress does not have the intestinal fortitude to de-fund the troops, and there is no Constitutional alternative. On the corruption front, the Democrats have shown themselves to be even less inclined to tackle the culture of corruption than were the Republicans. These factors are combining to make Congress' approval ratings sink to levels below even those enjoyed by the President.
If Congress wants to raise their approval ratings, allow me to offer some suggestions:
1. Cease these partisan witch-hunts and actually concentrate on passing legislation that both parties can agree on.
2. Admit that the President is the Commander-in-Chief and either de-fund the troops completely or give them the money they need to continue successfully prosecuting the war against Islamic fundamentalism- including the campaign in Iraq.
3. Realize that their own corruption scandals (William Jefferson, etc) are equally as damaging as were those of the Republicans and carry through on their promise to clean up the Congress. Especially in need of reform are the rules governing how members interacact with lobbyists, and their use of government (ie. taxpayer) funds.
4. Allow the Bush tax cuts to stand and continue to cut taxes for the rest of us. I am aware that this last recommendation is impossible with a Democratic Congress, but I think most Americans would prefer a smalller, lighter government that allows taxpayers to keep more of their own money for themselves.
If Congress follows at least a few of these recommendations, I could see their approval climbing out of the gutters. But then again, this is a Democratic Congress. Run by limousine liberals like Nancy Pelosi, I do not believe that they will adopt any of these ideas, which will hopefully lead to a change of heart by voters in the 2008 elections.