Originally published August 14 2011
Disappearing act: Job approval ratings for Congress, Obama sinking
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) In past election years, there was a joke that the choices for president were so bad someone ought to put Mickey Mouse on the ballot because he'd probably win. Based on the most recent public opinion polls, Mickey is looking better and better.
A sinking economy, coupled with stagnation in Washington, a downgraded credit rating, a devalued dollar, a declining stock market and stubbornly high unemployment are among the most prominent reasons why President Barack Obama's job approval numbers are at historic lows.
As bad as Democrat Obama's numbers are getting - and they are bad - that doesn't necessarily translate into good news for Republicans.
"Currently, a majority of states show approval ratings below 50 percent. Whether Obama is victorious will also depend in part on who his GOP challenger is, whether a significant third-party candidate runs, and the degree to which the president's supporters turn out to vote," says Jeffrey M. Jones, a political poll analyst at Gallup.
In short, most Americans aren't happy with anyone in Washington - so much so that they are even beginning to question the very fabric and functionality of American government.
A recent Washington Post survey found that barely one in four Americans - 26 percent - had any confidence that Congress and the president could solve the nation's most pressing problems, and that more than three in four, or 78 percent, were genuinely dissatisfied with their government in general.
And, in true "bipartisan" fashion, both of the country's major parties are equally loathed.
More than seven in 10 Americans, the poll said, believe Washington is "mostly focused on the wrong things," and - as the recent debt ceiling debacle and resulting legislation only proves - is incapable of enacting long-term solutions that will not simply keep our country solvent, but enable it to even survive.
None of this should be surprising, considering the trend in government confidence over the past several years. "The american ratings of the two major parties in Congress are at or near their worst levels in a decade, in part because of heightened Republican discontent with both sides in Congress," said a USA Today/Gallup survey - from two years ago.
And while congressional popularity has waxed and waned throughout our history, this time seems different - because this time, Americans are questioning our very form of government. They are wondering whether representative democracy even works anymore, and judging by the political process in D.C., it's no wonder more of us are beginning to have doubts about the ability to govern ourselves.
Case in point. When our leaders have a lengthy, rancorous debate about how much to raise our national debt when we're already in debt more than $14 trillion, while cutting spending becomes a secondary issue at best, then clearly Washington's priorities are obscenely misplaced.
In the military there is a saying: There are no bad units, just bad leaders. And while individual cases may vary, in general that's true. For the most part, a squad, platoon or company is only as good as its leadership, and when its leadership fails, the unit will fail to accomplish its mission.
Our country is beset with poor leadership, and it shows.
To paraphrase a line from the movie, "The Distinguished Gentlemen," serving this country in Congress is no longer about doing the right thing for the nation, it's just about being there.
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