Feature

Congress

Even less popular than Bush.

And you thought President Bush was unpopular? said John Podhoretz in the New York Post. The public, new polls show, is even more disgusted with the Democratic-controlled Congress. Just 27 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, according to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll. (Bush's approval rating has been stuck at about 30 percent.) A Rasmussen poll pegs Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid's approval rating at an abysmal 19 percent'”lower even than the much-maligned Vice President Dick Cheney. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scores a 36 percent rating, not exactly a ringing endorsement. Overall, more than 70 percent of Americans now think the country 'œis on the wrong track, and they're not merely blaming Bush. They're blaming everyone.' That spells big trouble for Democrats, said Byron York in The Hill. Just six months ago, Democrats swept into Congress promising a new era of clean, competent government. So far, they've produced nothing, and the voters have already 'œhad it with the new management.'

Who can blame them? asked John Nichols in TheNation.com. Voters gave Democrats control of Congress because they wanted real change'”most especially in Iraq. But now that it's clear Democratic leaders 'œare not willing to hold their ground' as Bush continues to escalate the war, Congress' popularity is plummeting. It's often said that politicians pay too much attention to polls. 'œBut perhaps the problem is that Democrats aren't reading the polls closely enough.' It's not just the war that's got people peeved, said John Farmer in the Newark, N.J., Star Ledger. Immigration reform has stalled. Social Security is spiraling toward insolvency, 'œbut Washington is no closer to a remedy than it was last year'”or the year before.' Health-care reform? 'œAgain, nothing happens.' Democrats promised broad ethics reforms and to curb out-of-control pork-barrel spending. 'œWe're still waiting.'

Republicans, though, have no reason to celebrate, said Jack Kelly in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The polls indicate that 'œthe Democrats' loss has not been the Republicans' gain.' In fact, the GOP is just as unpopular as it was when voters booted it out last November. So what's going on? Put simply, 'œAmericans want a government that works.' That means more solutions to real problems, and fewer 'œpartisan stunts,' such as the Democrats' meaningless 'œno confidence' vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. People are tired of Washington gamesmanship that affects only the people in Washington, instead of the people who elected them. No wonder another survey suggested that 49 percent of us 'œwould consider voting for a third party.'

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