Fed up with Congress?

Better look in the mirror — we're the ones who sent polarized politicians to Washington
Associated Press
Oct 20, 2013

Hey, fed-up Americans, here's a scary thought after the dispiriting spectacle of the government shutdown: You're the ones who sent these members of Congress to Washington, and they really are a reflection of you.

For all the complaints about Washington, it was American groupthink that produced divided government in the past two elections and a Congress that has been tied in knots lately.

John Adams, who would become the country's second president, wrote in 1776 that legislators "should be in miniature an exact portrait of the people at large."

More than 200 years later, members of the current entangled House "are probably a very accurate reflection of how their constituents feel," says Ross Baker, a Rutgers University political scientist.

Not that people are ready to take ownership of the failings of their representatives.

"Of course not," says Baker. "It's a completely dissociative view of American politics — that somehow there are these grasping, corrupt, tone-deaf politicians in Washington who are totally unconnected to the caring and attentive, compassionate person" that an individual voter has elected to Congress.

With the government now powering back up to full speed and the next budget crisis pushed off at least until January, there is no shortage of speculation about whether voters will retaliate in the 2014 elections against lawmakers for this fall's budget impasse. A lot depends on how the next year goes.

President Barack Obama is expressing hope that the same spirit that ultimately produced a deal to end the shutdown and avert default will allow the country to make progress on other issues such as improving the immigration system.

"If we disagree on something, we can move on and focus on the things we agree on, and get some stuff done," Obama said Thursday.

But the president acknowledged difficulties ahead, what with the challenges of divided government and pressures from the political extremes.

"And," Obama added, "let's face it. The American people don't see every issue the same way."

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has pledged to continue GOP efforts to "stop the train wreck" that he calls the president's health law.

For now at least, public sentiment toward Obama, congressional leaders and Congress in general is grim.

Nearly three-quarters of voters want to see most members of Congress defeated, a much higher level than at the same point prior to the 2006 and 2010 elections in which control of the House changed hands, according to the Pew Research Center. Also, Pew reports, the share of voters who want to see their own representative replaced is as high as it's been in two decades, at 38 percent.

Republican pollster David Winston says it's particularly notable that voters of all stripes are increasingly saying that the country is headed in the wrong direction.

In a recent Associated Press-GfK poll, 22 percent of those surveyed said the country was heading in the right direction and 78 percent said the wrong direction. That's a pretty stark change from shortly after Obama's re-election last fall, when 42 percent said right direction and 50 percent said wrong direction.

"One of the things that tells you is that the public is paying very close attention," says Winston. "The challenge for everybody — this is true for both parties — is to understand that every word they're saying is being listened to closely."

Yet for all of the public's grousing about polarized politicians, the voters themselves are deeply divided, too. They sort themselves geographically and ideologically. Congressional district boundaries are drawn to accentuate those political divisions.

When legislators answer to such solidly Republican or Democratic constituencies, they are more prone to engage in divisive antics such as those seen in recent weeks.

"We really are a red and blue nation," says Brookings Institution scholar Thomas Mann. "We separate ourselves. We tend to associate with people who think like we do."

The result, he says, is "more and more separation of Democrats and Republicans with distinctive sets of values and world views and then an attachment — almost a tribalistic attachment — to party that leads them to accept whatever the party position seems to be."

Winston thinks voters still have an expectation, though, that their legislators can find a way to both represent their constituents' views and effectively govern.

"It's not so much polarization, it's just that there are real differences of opinion," he says. "How do you work through that and create policy that both sides feel is moving things forward?"

Democratic pollster Peter Hart, too, thinks people still expect their legislators to find constructive solutions to the country's problems. He expects them to make that clear in the 2014 elections.

Says Hart: "My guess is that overall, there will be more change, more volatility, because this manufactured crisis made voters lose faith in the system and recognize that it just did not have to happen."

 

Comments

Darwin's choice

I'll go with: "seriously missing some essential necessities upstairs" for the win!

santown419

And now it is the republicans who want to embrace and go back to the Jim crow laws. The dems decided to change in order to survive. Many left the dems because they were going away from this belief. Now it is repub who embrace the same beliefs they keep trying to blame dems for. If Martin was alive I'm sure he would not be a repub.

SamAdams

Please provide links and/or other references that prove there's a movement of one or more Republicans in Congress lobbying for Jim Crow laws. I won't hold my breath...

Truth2u

Are you turning blue yet Sam?

coasterfan

I haven't heard of anything on this, either, Sam. On the other hand, it wouldn't surprise me if any one of a number of rightwing groups (TeaParty, NRA) lobbied for this. Practically every day, someone from one of those groups says something that 80% of Americans thinks is reprehensible or unbelievable.

coasterfan

Have to agree. There is absolutely no way that MLK would be any but a Democrat if he were alive today. Republicans, by definition, are against civil rights/equal rights of all shapes and sizes. From race, to sexual orientation, to income inequality, and a host of other issues, they are always found on the team fighting implementation of equal rights. So, it's hard to imagine MLK being on their team.

coasterfan

In the mid-19th century, Democrats were the conservatives. In other words, today's Republicans would have been Democrats. Bigotry didn't change from one party to the other. It stayed with whichever party was more conservative.

Truth2u

YELLOW JOURNALISM is why the public votes the way it does! So typical for the liberal press to blame the public which acts upon the reports from the news agencies who deliberately manipulate the news, usually by not reporting ALL the facts but only those that shore up their personal political positions.
Google YELLOW JOURNALISM or go to the link and learn how the press has and continues to manipulate society with their distortions, lies, loaded forms of questions that can’t be answered honestly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yel...
Newspaper titan Hurst stated that 'if you give me the pictures ( of the sunken USS Maine) I'll give you the war!" Spain never attacked us but the newspapers influence caused us to go to war and over 58,000 people died because of the NEWSPAPERS LIES, and PEOPLE STILL BOUGHT and continue to by his papers~!

Hurst was directly connected to the Democratic party through Pulitzer. So if someone needs to look in the mirror I would start with them! Its obvious they STILL refuse to print everything necessary to establish a position on Obama and the people who are ignorant will continue to read and believe those who historically have caused the murders of 10’s of thousands and call the ones who know better names.

Award winning publicist Seymour Hersh, when speaking about many in his reporting professions stated: “It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious… we lie about everything. Lying has become the staple."
We all learned in high school social science that oligarchies control populations with three key areas:

1. Government in order to manage laws and enforcement.
2. Creating what is used for money for their own riches and to pay minions.
3. Media propaganda to “cover” these crimes.

Centauri

"YELLOW JOURNALISM is why the public votes the way it does!"

The corporate owned news media doesn't report the news. They "create" the news by holding back (hiding) the truth and reporting on hearsay. You can use the corporate news as a guide but research and find the truth on alternative news online sites. I use wikipedia as a guide and research the topic in more detail on the internet.

The corporate owned news media helps start wars based on lies (false flags). They also pick the candidates for you to vote into office. The news media will not give any exposure to more honest and qualified candidates.

The corporate owned news media ignored Dennis Kucinich and made him appear like a fool. When Kucinch was mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, he refused to give business to the mobsters. Do you ever wonder why politicians become rich once they are in office?

Like him or hate him, Kucinich will not take money for special favors.

http://apps.washingtonpost.com/p...
Estimated wealth $33,504 in 2010

http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/...
Met worth Rank: 429th in House

http://www.columbiacountyobserve...
Kucinich: American Wealth Stolen - Political Theater Diverts Attention

http://therealnews.com/t2/index....
Kucinich: Obama Admin Transferring Wealth to the Few

Truth2u

why repeat what the definition of Yellow Journalism is.
And no one needs to make Kucinich look like a fool, he bankrupted Cleveland! I detest Kucinich, hes a Socialist and 30% of his votes came from Socialists, being an American who believes in freedom I consider Kucinich and his followers treasonous.

Contango

In most polls that I've read over the yrs. regarding Congressional members, one conclusion has tended to be a constant:

Throw out all those "bums," but I like my representative.

I've got a suspicion that it's much the same now and would be confirmatory of this article.

wowbagger

"The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents – #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic." B. Obama
It is great that he said this because it shows the hypocrisy of the admin and those in charge, Let alone those who flip flop to support the admin.
BTW The Debt is now at 17 trillion, That's 8 trillion more than when Bush left.

SamAdams

Was Senator Barack Obama right? It pains me to admit he's ever been right about ANYthing, but yes. He was dead right.

Is President Barack Obama a blatant hypocrite: Oh, yeah...and to an extent that defies adjectives.

How can you progressives castigate Bush (and I'm not going to argue with you there) and PRAISE Obama? Everything Bush did Obama has done an order of magnitude bigger and badder. Are you prepared to admit you're as much a hypocrite as your idol-in-chief? Or are you too racist yourselves to admit that criticism isn't racist when it's well deserved?

coasterfan

Sam. Really? Has Uneployment grown under Obama? No, it's gotten smaller. Has the deficit grown under Obama? No, it's gotten smaller. Has a new recession occurred under Obama, one that is worse than the one we experience under Bush. No. I'll take a slowly improving economy over the train wreck Bush gave us.

What color is the sky in on the planet where you live?

Centauri

How about some truthful internet links to back up your comments? Internet links give comments more credence. Otherwise, comments are only opinions not based on truthful facts.

deertracker

@Centauri
Really?

santown419

To much TV if its on the internet it has to be true.

Contango

Re: "Has Uneployment (sp) grown under Obama?"

"McJobs"

-------------------------

Re: "Has the deficit grown under Obama?"

Sequestration - At which he "kicked and screamed" and the Dems want re-funded.

----------------------------

Re: "Has a new recession occurred under Obama,one that is worse than the one we experience under Bush"

Rhetorical question. However, the economy is sluggish and ONLY with the help of the Fed. Resv. is it limping along.

Fed. Chair Greenspan in an interview for his new book states that NO ONE, not even the Fed with it's economic tools saw the coming of the financial crisis.

"The Federal Reserve has got the most elaborate econometric model, which incorporates all the newfangled models of how the world works—and it missed it completely."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB...

Even then Fed Chair Bernanke said that sub-prime could be contained.

To "pin it" solely on Pres. Bush is nonsensical.

You continue to spew Progressive talking points without documentation.

Pterocarya frax...

"Fed. Chair Greenspan in an interview for his new book states that NO ONE, not even the Fed with it's economic tools saw the coming of the financial crisis."

Bulloney! Even I saw it coming. If you didn't see it coming, you are a moron.

Contango

Re: "If you didn't see it coming, you are a moron."

So when's the next one Carnac?

BTW, Thursday, 17 May 2007:

"Mortgage defaults unlikely to hurt economy, Bernanke says"

http://www.startribune.com/busin...

Pterocarya frax...

I prefer to follow the prognostications of Krugman, not Carnac, since a study a couple years ago showed Krugman to be the most accurate prognosticator.

But while we are at it, here are a few economists that saw the crash coming:

Nouriel Roubini, Robert Schiller, Peter Schiff, Kenneth Rogoff, Meredith Whitney, Stephen Roach, and let us not forget the 8 senators that voted against repealing Glass Steagal, since that was a major factor leading to the collapse. Those 8 (7 are democrats) were Byron Dorgan, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Mikulski, Richard Shelby, Tom Harkin, Richard Bryan, and Russ Feingold.

Contango

SO many mkt. "geniuses" in retrospect.

"repealing Glass Steagal (sp)"

Can't spell "Glass-Steagall" but YOU knew the month, day and the nature of the financial crisis. LOL.

BTW, "St. Paul" asked for a housing bubble.

Mr. Krugman: "And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble."

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/0...

Answer the question:

So when's the next one Carnac?

Pterocarya frax...

Well thank goodness that one keystroke you saved by abbreviating market gave you enough time to spell check my posting, and prove your great intellectual superiority over all liberals. Just think how many keystrokes you would have saved if you had used the historically more accurate plural of genius.

Sorry, no Carnac's here...just an honest, hard working American that believes in the role of government to help create an even playing field for everyone. But my prediction for the next crash is soon after Americans are stupid enough to elect Republicans into majority rule of the executive branch, House, and Senate for 6 years running, just like the last time around.

Contango

Re: "But my prediction for the next crash"

Too vague like ALL Mkt. timing know-it-alls and therefore USELESS.

If you KNEW the causes and the timing of the last one, how is that you don't know the hows, whys and whens of the next one Carnac?

BTW: The tech wreck which Lord Krugman was writing about began in Mar. 2000. Who was POTUS Carnac?

shucks

@ contango

This is what your posts sound like.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x...

Darwin's choice

Still polishing turds, eh troll? I'd like to see some backup to your statements also........good luck!

Dr. Information

Might as well start printing those 1 trillion dollar platinum coins. What a joke of an idea.

mikesee

You have fallen hook line and sinker coaster. The deficit has actually increased under the Obama administration. Fool's I say.

santown419

What's up with you and this racist garbage. The only people anyone calls racist is the ones who have no problem calling Obama a monkey, animal, tries to call him a food stamp president etc. You make good points but this false news rush Limbaugh talking point is getting outrageous.

Dr. Information

food stamp president is now racist? that's assuming that most people getting food stamps are black.

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