Thursday, October 27, 2011

Poll Numbers and Fund Raising

Just a moment ... I'll be right with you.

Okay, there we go ... I've gotten the drool cleaned off the keyboard. No, I haven't been looking at pictures of Salma Hayek ... it's the usual aftermath when Nessa does one of her guest posts. That and the Milk-Bone crumbs between the keys.

Two related news items to talk about today.

First, a New York Times/CBS poll has revealed that the popular approval rating of Congress has reached single digits - for the first time in polling history, a measly nine percent of poll respondents believe Congress is doing a good job. Or any job other than blaming each other for the nation's problems, for that matter. A staggering 84% of the respondents disapprove of Congressional performance, while seven percent aren't sure. And the approval rating has dropped by 15% since the start of the current (112th) congressional session.

I'm sure that the Republicans and Democrats are busily working hard to respond to these numbers by figuring out how to blame each other for them, the nation's business obviously being too hard to do.

The second item I want to point out to you is this report by Andrea Seabrook from last night's NPR program All Things Considered: House GOP Freshmen Face Pressure to Raise Cash.

The report discusses the relentless pressure on members of Congress to raise money for their own reelection campaigns and for the larger needs of their political parties. While Ms Seabrook's report focuses on the large group of Republican House freshman elected in the sweep of 2010, the pressure to raise money for political purposes falls on members of both parties and both houses of Congress. Political campaigns are expensive, after all.

At a time when the nation is reeling from a wide range of seemingly intractable problems that call out for dynamic and innovative action, the people we elect to help solve them are more concerned with raising money to save their jobs and advance the fortunes of their parties.

In the NPR report, Republican freshman Representative Renee Ellmers of North Carolina noted that because she had raised a mere $97,000 in the previous fiscal quarter, she has been told by her political mentors that she "has to work much harder" in the coming quarters.

So, let me get this straight: the economy is in the toilet, the national infrastructure is crumbling, Real People can't afford health care, Congress is hopelessly deadlocked along rigid partisan lines, unemployment is in double digits ... and our elected reprehensives are being told they have to work much harder at political fundraising.

Am I the only one who thinks this is obscene?

I don't know what else is left to say, so I think I'll just end it here. If I don't, I'll end up spluttering with rage all over the keyboard I just got clean.

Have a good day. Demand better of your elected reprehensives, but expect less. In the words of immortal philosopher Jerry Reed - "he who expected nothin' ain't gonna be deceived."

More thoughts tomorrow.



eViL pOp TaRt said...

For a long time encumbents had a overwhelming advantage when it came to campaign fund raising. This may change if there is a perception among the potential donors that they are vulnerable -- after all, they want to get their money's worth. I'm afraid we're in a cycle of politicians being continually in the campaign mode, and little time for public business.

How can I expect any less of those elected representatives?

Mike said...

The calls and emails for money are picking up.

Banana Oil said...

The problem stems from the fact that we vote for individual congresspersons, not Congress as a whole. Many people are okay with their guy but unhappy in general with the Congress.