May 21, 2005

The congressional downward spiral.

Carl Hulse, in the NYT, writes about Congress's declining public image:
"... both Senate Republicans and Democrats have seen drops in brand images," said a memorandum from the Senate Republican Conference, "but Democrats are losing much more ground than we are."

Democrats and others dispute that notion, saying that Republicans - as members of the party controlling the White House as well as the House and Senate - are suffering the most and will pay the higher political price if the negative view persists into the next election cycle.
Yes, it does seem that each party imagines the other is going to take the brunt of the damage.

I think I'd almost rather look at the pictures of Saddam in his underpants than watch Congress these days.


tommy said...

Neither one sounds appealing.

Can we listen to pictures of Saddam and watch the radio simulcast of Congress.

Uncle Jimbo said...

Our Congress is an embarrassment, both for what they do but also for what they are unable to do.

I wrote a piece about George Galloway eviscerating Norm Coleman's pitiful Senate comittee. I was actually responding to John Nichols column applauding Galloway, but before I could begin to disagree with anything Galloway said I had to admit he fully outplayed all of the Senate clowns.

The Brits have us hands down on the quality of their political rhetoric. Five minutes watching the Prime Minister taking shots from everyone in open Questions sessions in Parliament would answer that question.

DaveG said...

"but Democrats are losing much more ground than we are."

So, a Pyrrhic victory? I mean, isn't it telling that our representatives in DC see this in terms of a winner and a loser? I guess what disappoints (and frightens) me the most is that these people have completly lost any mentality that we're all on the same team, and that when any of us lose, we all lose.

I analogize it to a football team whose offense amd defense actively work against each other. As a season ticket holder, I'm pretty dissatisfied when I see one squad on the team deliberately missing plays or giving up points just to spite the other. And in some cases, members of our team openly siding with the opposing team.

Too bad I have no choice as to whether or not to continue contributing money to this dysfunctional team.

EddieP said...

The damage has been irreversibly inflicted. Every time I hear about my favorite senators like Byrd, Kerry, Kennedy, Reid, Boxer, et al, all I can think of is Saddam in his underpants.

Kathleen B. said...

I am the only one that was sickened by the use of "brand imaage" in that memo? Is that really where we are now in public discourse?

and ITA re: Galloway v. Coleman. I am NO fan of George Galloway, but I couldn't help but love the smack down he gave to both parties.

Pancho said...

I know my congressman, Mike Conaway. I went to college with one of my Senators, John Cornyn. Individually they are fine people, but there is something about getting fine people together in a congressional body that stinks up the lot of them.

As a Vietnam veteran I can think of no better example of this than what congress had done to veterans benefits. It is increasing hard to almost impossible for veterans to get anywhere near the full benefits promised to them all those years ago. This while congress and the senate continue to pad their paychecks and award themselves extravagent benefits for life.

Sloanasaurus said...

Congress is the same as it has always been. People are giving it a bad rap. What are the members supposed to do when they have to answer to a fickle public. The public is constantly changing its mind; wanting one thing one week and not the next.

Congress is bitterly divided because America remains bitterly divided. The war is chiefly responsible for making people bitter. However, this is nothing new. America was divided over slavery, and over FDR.
Lincoln was the most hated and despised president.

I think the same is true today. The bitter opponents of the war will go to their graves opposing the war, even if it successfully creates free socities in the middle east. Future generations will wonder what was up...they will wonder why anyone would oppose fighting totalitarianism - just as we wonder why people were willing to give up their lives to protect slavery.

Mark Daniels said...

It's become conventional wisdom, one supported by polling data, that people disdain the Congress--presently, they do so at an alarmingly high level--but love their own Representative. I've found this to be true in every congressional district in which I've lived.

Here in the Second Congressional District in Ohio, we're without a Representative at present. Ours, Rob Portman, was recently made US Trade Representative. We're holding a special primary in June and a special general election in August. Rob Portman was absolutely loved here, routinely pulling 70% of the vote every two years.

My guess is that people love their members of Congress--at least on the House side--for two reasons:

(1) Most districts are severely gerrymandered, meaning that there's a high probability that a congressional representative will reflect the party affiliation and worldview of the overwhelming majority of her or his constituents. They're built-in cheering sections for their representatives.

(2) Members of Congress who are successfully re-elected have a hand in bringing some pork to their districts. Americans hate pork in the federal budget. But money and projects that their Representatives bring to their communities aren't budgetary pork to them. They refer to pork as "set-asides," federal largesse they regard as legitimate expenditures to strengthen their communities and the country as a whole, money to which they're entitled. So, they especially love the Congresswomen and Congressmen who rain federal revenue on them. (That's why the upcoming fight over the proposed military base closings is going to be so messy.)

I wish I hadn't seen Saddam in his underwear. But, I grant you, that may be preferable to seeing the infantile posturing of Congress.

As long as we Americans allow ourselves to be bought off by politicos bearing pork though, we're apt to be left with the sort of Congress we have right now. Sigh.

Kathleen B. said...

The bitter opponents of the war will go to their graves opposing the war, even if it successfully creates free socities in the middle east. Future generations will wonder [] why anyone would oppose fighting totalitarianism

I can only speak for myself, but my opposition to the Iraq War has nothing to do with opposing fighting totalitarianism. and I will be estatic if we creat free societies in the Middle Est. Then maybe all the lies and suffering will have been worth it. What I oppose and have always opposed is the lies, the stupidity and the failures. And they are unforgivable. I can only hope that "future generations" will recognize what price our failures led to (but since we haven't seemed to yet, I am not holding my breath). but please, let's not kid ourselves. We all know that this war was not about "freedom and democracy in the Middle East." Maybe that is why you support it now, but that is not why we went. We can only hope that democracy is the result.

MT said...

Regarding the Saddam photo, I think a comparison to Hitler in underpants would not be unreasonable.

Abraham said...

I think a comparison to Hitler in underpants would not be unreasonable.
Except that by the time we had Hitler in captivity, he was slightly more deceased.

MT said...

Even a charred corpse can be placed in underpants. Anyway the point I'm making (i.e.whatever it is) is abstract.