Congressional job approval rating at 24%, 71% disapprove.
I was intrigued by this, but certainly not surprised. Congress now has a lower approval rating than the President, even though they often cite Bush’s dismal numbers to their credit. But the interesting question is why? Here we have a Republican President and a Democrat majority in Congress, yet both are sub-30 in approval from the American public.
Here is my theory. Unlike some of the pundits, I don’t think there is a “moderate majority” out there anymore. Twenty years ago, yes. Even ten years ago this may have been the case. But now, we are very polarized politically. Maybe 20 percent of the voters would fit in the moderate middle, but I think even that is an overestimate. What I see in this country is a large number of people either very progressive (read: liberal) or very conservative, without much in between. This should make for a very interesting 2008 campaign.
How else could we explain the constant venom and vitriol that has infected this nation? Face it, there is a lot of nastiness out there from both sides of the aisle, no one is innocent on this matter. We have a Republican President who has veered in many ways from his traditional conservative agenda (i.e. the immigration bill and the huge spending). He has alienated his conservative base more than once, and it seems to be more common since he won reelection. And the progressive base will never approve of a Republican leader, hence the poor approval numbers.
And then there’s the Democrat Congress, yet another group of “do-nothings” like the prior Congress. They once had the support of the far-Left, but ever since the Iraq vote authorizing more money, this support has waned. And, of course, the conservative base will never approve of the Left in Congress hence their low approval ratings.
So we have a President and a Congress that have lost the support of their base, perhaps leaving only the moderates who approve of their middle-of-the-aisle antics. And still, so many of the presidential candidates make hardened efforts to look appealing to the moderate middle. One wonders, in light of these approval numbers, if that’s a wise policy.