Nobody's pleased. Photo: (Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images)
If you look at any recent poll, Americans are desperate for their government to work better. They're not happy with anyone — from President Obama to both parties in Congress.
In fact, a new USA Today/Princeton Survey Research poll finds that just 4 percent of those surveyed — equal to the margin of error — think Congress would be worse if every member replaced in the elections next year. More striking is that nearly half — 47 percent — think Congress would work better if that happened.
The events of this month — highlighted by a 17-day government shutdown and a bungled rollout of the ObamaCare insurance exchanges — prove that government is just not working and explains why Americans are so angry with politicians.
First Read nicely summarizes the problem: "The Obama White House and Democrats have a political problem when it comes to governing (see the ObamaCare website), while Republicans have a political problem because they don't want to govern (see the shutdown). And both sides have used the other party's problems to mask their own."
However, there is a key difference between the two parties. The White House is working overtime to fix the problems with HealthCare.gov and promises a smoothly functioning website by the end of November. Assuming they deliver, Republicans will lose their excuse.
A tweet from chess-master Gary Kasparov explains the political danger for Republicans:
It's a tactical error to draw attention to an opponent's flaw when that flaw is easy to fix. It's a favor. Distracts from the big issues.— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) October 24, 2013
Meanwhile, Republicans have a bigger long term problem because growing numbers of GOP lawmakers simply don't like government and don't ever want it to work. This won't get fixed overnight and may even be exacerbated in the midterm elections if more Tea Party challengers defeat GOP incumbents in primaries.
If Americans want their government to work, which of the two parties do you think they'll choose?
It's a hard choice if this month is any indication. Both parties have their work cut out for them. But just one of them seems to be listening.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why is American internet so slow?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- Sorry Belle Knox, porn still oppresses women
- Ukraine's fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
Subscribe to the Week