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

mikesee

Food stamps have more than doubled under the Obama administration. The same can be said for those receiving SSI.

To call Obama the "food stamp president" is wrong. He should be called the "entitlement president" as he has increased ALL entitlement funding. Obama is setting up the dems nicely by making those who recieve entitlements "slaves" to him and his party.

coasterfan

That may be ending, Contango. An article in today'sToledo newspaper quotes a number of Bowling Green businessmen. These are people who, in the past, were vehemence Bob Latta supporters. After Latta and Jordan voted with the TeaParty minority during the final shutdown vote, every one of the businessmen were asked for their comments on Latta's vote. To a man, they all replied "No comment".

Many conservatives are starting to realize the the conservative media provides a biased picture. Fox and others cited supposed pre-election bias in the "liberal media" with Obama-Romney polls, and the polls proved to be exactly right. The Fox/Rove coverage on election night were also telling.

The Republican Party is defined most by their inability to perceive what is actually happening, and the comments by conservatives here are certainly indicative of that. Life inside the bubble...

Contango

@ coasterfan:

In political terms, Nov. 2014 is an eternity away and for most, this "dust up" will be history.

deertracker

You mean the "beatdown" the Cons took?

shucks

The Repugnants are going to get more beatdowns.

Truth2u

Just this week the headlines on Drudgereport.com

"U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion — tops $17 trillion for first time"

The Democrats stated that legislation needs to be 'clean', that is with NO STRINGS ATTACHED> How many banks would make loans with that mentality? No wonder we're in trouble, we have a bunch of libtards who can't understand simple math. Maybe next year Obama will follow Oprah and give EVERYONE a new car with no strings attached, or to use the words of the Democrats, keep the car give away 'clean'

2cents

Only thing left would be car-bon credits LOL : )

coasterfan

Ah yes, the Drudge Report... Bringing you "news" from inside the conservative bubble...

Contango

Re: "Ah yes, the Drudge Report..."

And THIS from someone who listens to Bill Maher and the Comedy Channel.

The "source" doesn't change the FACTS.

The Big Dog's back

The source doesn't changed the facts? You actually said that? ROFLMFAO!

Contango

Re: "The source doesn't changed the facts?"

So the fed debt would be less than $17T if Bill Maher said it?

Dr. Information

Big Dog wouldn't know a fact if it crawled into his mouth and came out in his poop.

Centauri

http://www.naturalnews.com/03241...
"Are you a Sheeple? Take the Sheeple Quiz and find out"

Become an informed voter. Research the candidates who you send to Congress.

shucks

Is there a quiz to find out if I'm a conspiracy therorist ?

Darwin's choice

Sorry,no. But you do win the eternal azzhat award....goes without saying!

shucks

I have martial arts training too ,Centuri , LOTS .

KURTje

In Huron County only 15% of voting populace exercised their right to vote. If other counties in America are similar, this is why we got the government we deserve.

Dr. Information

That is because 50% are either tied up in the court system for drugs and the remaining 35% just don't care because they are getting handouts.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
AMENDMENT XXVIII

Section I.
No person may serve more than twelve years as a member of Congress, whether such service is exclusively in the House or the Senate, or combined in both houses.

Section II.
Upon ratification of this article, any incumbent member of Congress whose term exceeds the twelve year limit shall complete the current term but thereafter shall be ineligible for further service as a member of Congress.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Simple. Efficient. Non-partisan. Ensures better representation of all the people no matter where they live or which party affiliation (if any) to which they subscribe. It will allow more thoughts, ideas, and passions to enter the legislative arena instead of having it being a festering cyst of pet projects, long-term grudges, and GOBs.

For more on this, here's a ten minute video that does a good job of explaining even further.

http://youtu.be/3WPg1OJP9x8

SamAdams

I like it! Added bonus: When most in Congress have to actually go back to the REAL world and have REAL jobs after their term, the laws they pass will apply to them and theirs. And THAT means we'll see a little more reason and a little less authoritarianism coming out of the Capitol Building for a change. How refreshing would THAT be?

grumpy

Could we also make it impossible for former Congressmen to be lobbyists, or work for companies that lobby Congress? Might just as well get ahead of the curve on the stampede that will happen if that Amendment ever gets passed. It would make many current, former Congressmen unemployed, as that seems to be the favored job after retiring or getting voted out.

I don't care which of the dumb and/or dumber party they "belong" to. I do realize that politicians "belong" to someone, at least the national politicians, either in office or as former congressmen.

Darwin's choice

For all the democrat turd polishers...you know who you are!

Great Orators of the Democrat Party, recently...

"It depends what your definition of 'Sex' is?'' ~ President William Jefferson Blythe Clinton

"That Obama “ I would like to cut his nuts off." ~ Jesse Jackson, Sr.

"Those rumors are false. I believe in the sanctity of marriage." ~ John Edwards

"I invented the Internet." ~ Al Gore

"The next person that tells me I'm not religious, I'm going to shove my rosary beads up their ass." ~ Joe Biden

"America is no longer, uh, what it, uh, could be, uh, what it was once was, uh, and I say to myself, uh, I don't want that future, uh, for my children." ~ Barack Obama

"I have campaigned in all 57 states." ~ Barack Obama (Quoted 200

"You don't need God anymore; you have us Democrats." ~ Nancy Pelosi (Quoted 2006)

"Paying taxes is voluntary." ~ Sen. Harry Reid

"Bill is the greatest husband and father I know.
No one is more faithful, true, and honest than he is." ~ Hillary Rodham Clinton (Quoted 199

"You have a business. You didn't build that. Someone else did!" ~ Barack Obama (Quoted 2012)

And the most ridiculous gem of wisdom, from the "Mother Moron Superior:"

"We just have to pass the Healthcare Bill to see what's in it."
~ Nancy Pelosi (Quoted March, 2010)

HOW FORTUNATE WE ARE “ TO HAVE SUCH BRILLIANT MINDS IN CHARGE OF OUR ONCE-GREAT COUNTRY

KURTje

"She's not young or pretty enough to be the wife of a president, besides that she has cancer." Newt Gingrich on why he was divorcing his wife.

santown419

Don't forget the repub think tank false news after all there was never a major terrorist attack under bush. I guess that happened under Obama. After all Obama was the reason bush didn't respond to Katrina in a appropriate time manner. But we all can't have time to read all the magazines out there. I wonder when the new superman comes out maybe I should ask Sarah play-em.

Darwin's choice

Here's another one for you to ponder...Obamacare-fail! Not false news, just failure!

shucks

The one thing I ponder is : Who dresses you in the morning ?

Darwin's choice

When you're polishing those turds, which end do you hold on to?

shucks

The ends that you bit off.

Centauri

(_*_) <4shizzle

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