Why Congress has become so dysfunctional, discredited

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”
— Mark Twain

Voters have rarely held Congress in high regard. In fact, over the 38 years in which Gallup has asked the question, only 34 percent of Americans typically say they approve of its performance. These days, however, public disgust has never been deeper. In its most recent poll, Gallup found that just 10 percent of Americans approve of how Congress is operating.

Personally, I don’t know what that 10 percent is thinking, because Congress is by any measure a broken institution. While never a paragon of efficiency, in recent years it has lost the ability to function at almost any level. It produces nothing, it solves nothing, it does nothing. It serves solely as a stage upon which political actors strut and prance.

The question of why has many answers, most of them traceable back to the very beginning, to the days in which the Founding Fathers were designing the structure of government that we still retain today.

Given their ties to Great Britain, it would have been natural for the founders to model the American system after the British parliamentary system they knew so well. They didn’t. Instead, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and their colleagues consciously rejected the parliamentary model, and they did so for very American reasons.

First, they had seen enough to recognize that a parliamentary system was a “winner-take-all” system. The party that controls the majority of votes in a parliamentary system also wins the right to name the prime minister, giving it control of both the legislative and executive branches. Our founders distrusted the untrammeled power that produced, so they built a system that conspired against it.

The founders also understood that under a parliamentary system, voters cast their ballots less for individual lawmakers than for the party they represent. Moreover, once in office, members of Parliament owe more loyalty to their party leaders and platform than to the folks back home who elected them. Those were all evils that Madison, Hamilton and others wanted to minimize, even if they could not avoid them altogether.

As a result, the American system of government diffused authority and undercut party loyalty. Individual politicians could be more independent, able to vote their own conscience and the interests of their own district. And with neither party able to dictate to the other, and with the legislative and executive branches acting as competitors, compromise across party lines would be required to get anything done.

For most of our history, that system functioned more than adequately. So what has changed?

I would argue that over the past two decades, our political parties have gravitated toward a mindset in which elections have been nationalized, party discipline takes precedence over personal conscience and compromise is considered losing. It is in essence a parliamentary mindset, which is precisely what the founding fathers had hoped to discourage. And when you take that parliamentary, winner-take-all mindset and graft it onto a political system designed specifically to frustrate that mindset, you get what we’ve got: No movement.

Put another way, if you take a system that is designed to run on compromise, and you deny it access to compromise, it cannot operate.

Historically speaking, the party most responsible for that transformation is the Republican Party, and the single individual most responsible is Newt Gingrich. That observation is not intended as criticism, because from their point of view it made perfect sense. By the early ’90s, they had served as the minority party for most of the preceding 60 years, and they had grown frustrated. They could and did compromise, thus allowing the system to function, but as they compromised they saw the arc of history bending against them. They saw compromise as a way to lose slowly, and they no longer wanted to play that way.

The result, however, is a system in which two things are true: 1) With no compromise, change can now occur only when one party holds absolute dominance and 2) The pursuit of absolute dominance is hopeless, particularly in a country as evenly divided as this one.

The result, sadly, is a system of governance rapidly losing credibility with its people.

– Jay Bookman

818 comments Add your comment

They BOTH suck

August 28th, 2012
2:25 pm

And at least in the short term, business as usual will continue

Logical Dude

August 28th, 2012
2:26 pm

Of course, this also results in the President trying to gain more power at every opportunity (see Bush and his “signing statements” and also giving the VP more powers) (see also Obama going the exact same direction with his Executive Powers – immigration in particular).

Both also put people in positions when congress was unable to even vote on those positions. (i.e. not doing its job).

So, those who complain about the President taking “unconstitutional” action can also look directly at Congress and their inability to function. If they don’t function, they also cannot limit the Executive properly.

Jay

August 28th, 2012
2:28 pm

Good point, Logical.

Steve

August 28th, 2012
2:28 pm

Everyone is blaming Obama for not moving this economy, but isn’t it really the responsibility of Congress to push this kind of legislation? Where are the JOBS legislation and why is everyone worried about debt and austerity (Congressional Republicans) BEFORE we fix the economy?

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
2:29 pm

JAY,

Well spoken…I believe (as you know)that there at two reasons for our dysfunction legislature…the most obvious is the private money which eliminates any courage to do the right thing for the people..biggest problem such that i really don’t see it matters who is in WH..

The second is that most people don’t clearly understand what the issues truly are and how congress generally acts in their own interests..recession, unemployment, budget issues and the like are not I feel what a majority understand..they expect half truth soundbites no less…

Not sure if one party has a corner on that particular market although Newt is a complete farcsical self serving career politician who unfortunately has set the bar for others to follow…both sides..

Simple Truths

August 28th, 2012
2:30 pm

10% approval = only your mom is supporting you.

N-GA

August 28th, 2012
2:31 pm

There are two other reasons that Congress is dysfunctional: 1) The filibuster and 2) riders (on bills)

Eliminate both….period.

Of course the SCOTUS deciding corporations are citizens only makes it worse…much worse.

Ben Shockley

August 28th, 2012
2:31 pm

“Why Congress has become so dysfunctional, discredited”

Because they pass laws, and then Obama refuses to enforce them?

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

August 28th, 2012
2:31 pm

Well, at least I amounted to something. Getting to be a beer truck driver sounds alot more productive than being a member of Congress. And people—except for a few religious nuts—like the stuff I put out.

Have a good p.m. everybody.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
2:31 pm

Simple Truth,

That’s a classic! Of course mom doesn’t get you to 10%..your donors to whom which they legislate for are also big supporters..

Don't Tread

August 28th, 2012
2:32 pm

“the party most responsible for that transformation is the Republican Party, and the single individual most responsible is Newt Gingrich”

So now we’ve added “Blame Gingrich” to “Blame Bush”?

Division of power was also instituted for a reason. Sorry the “Party of No” isn’t rubber-stamping all the Left’s socialist initiatives – that’s life. Maybe 0bama and Reid should try introducing something else into Congress – something a little less “left”. (Won’t happen – it’s not in their DNA.)

Peter

August 28th, 2012
2:33 pm

“Why Congress has become so dysfunctional, discredited”

Because they pass laws, and then Obama refuses to enforce them?

Really. name some please !

They BOTH suck

August 28th, 2012
2:33 pm

Yet there will still be a significantly high reelection rate this fall.

Too many people on both sides, view the problem as the other party and even others in their party, but not their Representative or Senator.

ITS ALL BUSHS FAULT

August 28th, 2012
2:34 pm

romney is a flip floppin clown and a sorry globalist puppet with no backbone..

Joe Hussein Mama

August 28th, 2012
2:34 pm

Jay — “First, they had seen enough to recognize that a parliamentary system was a “winner-take-all” system.”

I read this as ‘whiner-take-all’ system. :D

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
2:35 pm

DONT TREAD,

C’mon..defending Bush is one thing but defending Newt broke the mold and set new low standards is difficult to swallow..at least he got lot’s of custard pie while in DC..

Stonethrower

August 28th, 2012
2:35 pm

Yet 90% of the time we reelect the incumbent. As the quote from Pogo goes, “we have met the enemy and he is us.”

Peter

August 28th, 2012
2:36 pm

“Why Congress has become so dysfunctional, discredited”

How about the ….. lobbyists and the PORK that all want….despite the saying they think we need to cut the deficit ?

The GOP VP candidate is a prime example…… wants to cut the deficit, yet went big time for pork spending in his district.

The reality is they say one thing, then behave another.

maybe first time I agree

August 28th, 2012
2:36 pm

For once Jay’s vision is not so blinded by liberalism that he sees the truth. Almost wondered off the truth line about Newt but stayed on.

The politicians need to do what is best for the country for once, not just play politics of one party against another.

The class warfare has to stop. We simply can’t keep spending money we don’t have.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
2:37 pm

ALLBUSHSFAULT,

So Bush has less spine than president trillions? I can’t see either different than the other…no spine is symptom of catering more to campaign donors than doing whats really right for us…

Paul

August 28th, 2012
2:38 pm

Nice, nice analysis.

So people like Tea Partier Cruz, who got elected with a no compromise platform, (who will address the convention) are not American patriots, they’re more like British parlimentarians. Interesting.

With Congress in such historically low regard, one has to wonder why Republicans picked the House Majority Leader to spotlight in opening the Republican convention.

Kamchak - "Socialism" is just a code word for "fear," the monster under you bed ~ Kamchak

August 28th, 2012
2:39 pm

Voters have rarely held Congress in high regard. In fact, over the 38 years in which Gallup has asked the question, only 34 percent of Americans typically say they approve of its performance.

And yet, during that same period re-election rates are in the 80-90% range.

So this approval rating carries the same message as the subject of term limits. It’s always someone else’s congress critter that is the problem.

Historically speaking, the party most responsible for that transformation is the Republican Party…

Yes…

…and the single individual most responsible is Newt Gingrich.

…and no.

Prior to Ronald Reagan and his 11th commandment, the divisiveness was between the legislative branch and executive branch.

Normal Free...Pro Human Rights Thug...And liking it!

August 28th, 2012
2:40 pm

“Why Congress has become so dysfunctional, discredited”

Because they pass laws, and then Obama refuses to enforce them?

http://cheezburger.com/6103106304

Jay

August 28th, 2012
2:40 pm

“Maybe 0bama and Reid should try introducing something else into Congress – something a little less “left”. (Won’t happen – it’s not in their DNA.)

I know. Maybe they should introduce a health care plan invented by Republicans, pushed by Republicans and even implemented by the GOP nominee at the state level. Do you think that would work?

Or maybe they should give states more flexibility in how they administer welfare work requirements to make the program more effective, just as Republican governors have requested? Would that do it?

Reagans ghost

August 28th, 2012
2:40 pm

Lack of leadership from the white house with an agenda set on historical give and take. That is gone with Obama.

Thomas Heyward Jr.

August 28th, 2012
2:40 pm

When or if Mitt Romney is finally crowned the GOP nominee for president during the Republican National Convention this evening , then it’s official.
Any vestige of liberty will be firmly wiped away from the ballot box come this November.
.
The only option then will be to join the majority of decent Americans and to peacefully withdraw consent from the gang of 525. It’s the only way to beat them.
I already have.
.
Remember……….when you vote for one of those two monsters(ORomba)…..you are sanctioning murder, violence, and lawlessness.
.
Good luck trying to sleep with that on your conscience.
(of course sociapaths won’t have that problem).

Paul

August 28th, 2012
2:40 pm

““Why Congress has become so dysfunctional, discredited”

Because they pass laws, and then Obama refuses to enforce them?”

Time to demonstrate that top 2% thinking, Ben

Doggone/GA

August 28th, 2012
2:40 pm

“With Congress in such historically low regard, one has to wonder why Republicans picked the House Majority Leader to spotlight in opening the Republican convention”

Because there’s a lot of truth to “the only poll that matters is the election” and since they more or less keep getting re-elected, why should they care that a mere poll shows them to be in low regard?

Jay

August 28th, 2012
2:41 pm

Oh I know: What if Obama requested creation of a presidential commission on the deficit, just as several Republican senators had demanded? I mean, it’s not as if those senators would withdraw their support as soon as Obama endorsed it.

Would they?

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
2:41 pm

Peter,

To be fair, three of the biggest benefactors of pork creating individual weath…look no further that Pelosi, Reid and Hastert..only bipartisan activity in DC is utter disrepect for our money..that is more often than not used for individual gain…heck, hastert began his DC career with net worth of 170K and left office worth 11 million..Pelosi…VISA preferred IPO postion and Pelosi and Reid benefitting from pork that enhanced materially real estate they owned..insider trading..throw them all out!

Paul

August 28th, 2012
2:43 pm

Don’t Tread

“So now we’ve added “Blame Gingrich” to “Blame Bush”?”

I believe you are the first here to question whether or not Pres Bush was responsible for a dysfunctional Congress. Why do you think he was?

Paul

August 28th, 2012
2:44 pm

Don’t Tread

Misread your post. Please disregard my 2:43.

Gordon

August 28th, 2012
2:45 pm

Congress does have the redeeming quality of slowing government down when it is in the opposite hands of the party controlling the White House. Gridlock is not always a bad thing.

I think what Jay wrote is true, but another big problem is simply the lack of people in elected office who think of themselves as public service. They see holding political office as a career, and want to do as well as they can for as long as they can in that career, public good be damned. This country needs more people who are willing to serve someone or something other than themselves. The ones who are out there don’t see the political arena as the best place to do it, and I can hardly blame them.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
2:45 pm

THOMAS,

Yeah it seems to me that any vote is condoning business as usual in DC which is systematically broken of course…George Carlin once said that if you vote, you have no right to complain cuz you own it…those who don’t vote retain every right to complain..

King of Everything

August 28th, 2012
2:46 pm

Another part of the issue is that once they are elected they no longer represent the people who elected them but instead represent the lobbyist who bank roll their campaigns.

Thulsa Doom

August 28th, 2012
2:46 pm

“The result, sadly, is a system of governance rapidly losing credibility with its people.”

I think people still have faith in our system of govt. They just don’t have any faith in the people in the system. Why should they when the nation is being systematically bankrupted by the political class?

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
2:48 pm

JAY,

I hear you but I like what Simpson and Bowles proposed…weren’t they independent commission…of course they were ignored due to lack of political spine….heck, someone may have lost some votes or cash commiting to such…

Peter

August 28th, 2012
2:49 pm

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am… You are living with a myth.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_hidden_brain/2010/12/smart_republicans_stupid_democrats.html

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
2:49 pm

KING,

Very true…hrumf hrumf

Jefferson

August 28th, 2012
2:50 pm

They should have to cut off fingers if they don’t get something done. You get a so called super committee together and they fail. They should be wearing less fingers. Jagger said it right, you don’t always get what you want, you get what you need.

King of Everything

August 28th, 2012
2:51 pm

For most of our history, that system functioned more than adequately. So what has changed?

New Gingrich. He enforced vote along party lines and is probably the worst person to ever set foot in Washington DC.

Jay

August 28th, 2012
2:53 pm

Stevie Ray, Obama appointed both Simpson and Bowles on his own, as a presidential commission, after Republicans retreated from a commitment to appoint such a commission through Congress.

Jefferson

August 28th, 2012
2:53 pm

We didn’t have spending problems until taxes go cut.

Don't Tread

August 28th, 2012
2:53 pm

“maybe they should give states more flexibility in how they administer welfare work requirements to make the program more effective”

Why don’t we give parolees more flexibility in reporting to their probation officers by removing the requirement altogether? Sounds like a plan to make it more effective.

Stonethrower

August 28th, 2012
2:54 pm

So, do we fear our elected officials or do they fear us?

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
2:54 pm

PETER,

I have no idea what you are talking about…if you are disputing the conflict of interest our elected scoundrels have between representing us versus lobbyist and themselves…I contest your suggestion that I reside in fantasy land.

Jerome Horwitz

August 28th, 2012
2:55 pm

YOu can look no farther than the state of Georgia on why this problem exists. When Chabliss joined the “Gang of Six” to work out a compromise on budgets/taxes the GA repubs were up in arms. Called for a primary candidate to replace the RINO. Since when is being a statesman/legislator such a problem.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
2:55 pm

JAY,

Why didn’t Obama et al make any attempt at implementing what they asked for….that always confused me and I don’t recall either party remotely jumping on that particular bandwagon…

Unhappy Vet

August 28th, 2012
2:57 pm

The problem is the left’s insistence on moving towards larger government and more control over our lives. Sorry Jay but you are distorting Republican involvement in Obamacare and the Welfare end around will only result in the loss of work requirements (the intention). Republicans are not perfect and many have fallen into the lure of increased government along with the larger control over our money that it entails. Whining about past errors on our part does not cover up the stupendous errors on the part of liberals. Socialists like Obama have been undercutting our society with lies and distortions for at least 60 years (probably since the fall of the Tsars – wonder if there’s a connection?) and we need to buckle down and fight or our country will be lost.

Kamchak - "Socialism" is just a code word for "fear," the monster under you bed ~ Kamchak

August 28th, 2012
2:57 pm

So, do we fear our elected officials or do they fear us?

Why does fear even have to enter into it?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

Jerome — 3 wins, 9 points and sitting alone at the top of the table. Woo-hoo!

independent thinker

August 28th, 2012
2:57 pm

How about abolishing the seventeenth amendment and we go back to the following:

“”"”"”"”"”"”The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"
No special interests other than the legislature and governor of each state; no campaign finance bribery; Put strict limits on campaign financing for House of representatives and term limits and no overseas fact finding trips (where they go skinny dipping in front of kids).
Maybe then all the chicanery with special interests

imjustsayin

August 28th, 2012
2:57 pm

I would have to add Rush Limbaugh’s influence as well. He reaches the masses everyday and was significantly responsible in waking up the conservative voter. Folks on the right apparently need his constant repetitive instruction on how to think politically which is why conservative talk shows succeed whereas liberal talk shows fail. Liberals “get it” hearing (the political matter at hand) once and don’t need the constant reinforcement from the media – in short, they have better things to do with their time. Unfortunately, like the Tea Party activist who was quoted protesting big government said, “Keep your hands off my Medicare”, most on the political right love the rights ideology yet are clueless what the rollback of Democratic reforms would actually do to their lives.

ByteMe - Political thug

August 28th, 2012
2:57 pm

Compromise is impossible if you don’t get to know the people on the other side of the table/aisle. And the schedule a congressperson is on now blocks them from doing that. Between the 4-day work week (so that congress can go back home for the weekend), endless money-raising meetings and dinners, and numerous caucus meetings, who gets time to relax over a beer with someone from the other side of the room and do some serious horsetrading?

Brosephus™

August 28th, 2012
2:58 pm

Well, when you have an ideology that preaches that government is the problem, what do you think will eventually happen?

I won’t go as far to say that Newt is the most responsible for the current dysfunction. He is, however, responsible for allowing it to fester and grow. There may be culpability on both sides of the aisle, but when candidates can win a primary election within a party based on the campaign promise of “no compromise”, then the problem isn’t with the candidates. It’s with the people doing the voting.

When you look at the number of people who actively vote vs the number of people who are eligible to vote, it should be a damn insult to each and every person who considers themselves to be an American. People all around the world are giving up their lives just to have the ability to do something we treat worse than chewing gum under a school desk.

The ultimate reason why Congress has become so dysfunctional is because that’s what we’ve voted for. It’s not the politician’s fault because they can’t put themselves into office. It’s the fault of the jackasses who vote for the jackasses. Based on the historical re-election rates of Congress, it’s safe to say that this country is full of jackasses.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
2:58 pm

Thomas Heyward Jr.

August 28th, 2012
2:59 pm

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am…

August 28th, 2012
2:45 pm

THOMAS,

Yeah it seems to me that any vote is condoning business as usual in DC which is systematically broken of course…George Carlin once said that if you vote, you have no right to complain cuz you own it…those who don’t vote retain every right to complain..
————————————————————————————————————————
.
The blood will not be on my hands.
And I sleep good at night.
.
This will be the last federal election that I will take part in.
I will write Ron Paul in to stick a finger in Karl Rove and the lying Republican’s eyes and also just to cancel Bookman’s vote for Obama out.

lynnie gal

August 28th, 2012
2:59 pm

Congress is broken because one of our major parties (R) has become so radicalized that they can no longer be reasoned with. These authoritarian neo-fascists filibuster everything in the Senate and pass inane and destructive bills in the House. God help us if they win a majority in November.

ByteMe - Political thug

August 28th, 2012
2:59 pm

Oh, and spouses who stay in the home district instead of coming up to Washington to live during the session. Add that to the list. The spouses getting together often contributed to Congress doing a better job at resolving issues.

They BOTH suck

August 28th, 2012
2:59 pm

“The problem is the left’s insistence on moving towards larger government and more control over our lives.”

Except for the government growing under Reagan, Bush Sr and Jr, you make such an eloquent point

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
3:03 pm

BRO,

Agreed but regardless of which well intentioned enthusiastic office seeking individual, they ultimately succomb to private money which defeats any hope of truly doing whats right for us….every single decision they make is more influenced by thoughts of re-election than doing what we elected them to do in the first place..Congress spends 30% of their time fund raising…heck congress and the president are simply not governing at present…

jms

August 28th, 2012
3:04 pm

The short answer is not enough moderates in either party.

Kamchak - "Socialism" is just a code word for "fear," the monster under you bed ~ Kamchak

August 28th, 2012
3:05 pm

Oh, and spouses who stay in the home district instead of coming up to Washington to live during the session. Add that to the list.

Maintaining two residences has to be a major expense for congressmen/women.

I say build dormitories for ‘em and make ‘em live together.

Granny Godzilla - Union Thugette

August 28th, 2012
3:05 pm

Unhappy Vet

August 28th, 2012
2:57 pm
The problem is the left’s insistence on moving towards larger government and more control over our lives.
.
.
.
.Got A Uterus?

Then talk to us about more control over YOUR life.

joe

August 28th, 2012
3:05 pm

Real Headline:

Why has Obama & his administration become so dysfunctional and discredited.

Answer: Cause he’s heck bent on turning the USA into some eurotrash socialist/marxist state

Brosephus™

August 28th, 2012
3:05 pm

I think people still have faith in our system of govt. They just don’t have any faith in the people in the system. Why should they when the nation is being systematically bankrupted by the political class?

Yet, Congress is re-elected at rates between 80%-85% historically… I’d say that disproves that people don’t have faith in the people in the system. They may not have faith with people other than their representatives, but if people didn’t have faith in the people in the system, re-election rates would be far lower.

Reagans ghost

August 28th, 2012
3:06 pm

Term limits. This career thing tainted and on the take is not working. New President, new rep’s of the people.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

August 28th, 2012
3:06 pm

Put another way, if you take a system that is designed to run on compromise, and you deny it access to compromise, it cannot operate.

Well put Jay…. and unfortunately it seem like many fail to see the issue as evidenced by the posts.

ByteMe - Political thug

August 28th, 2012
3:07 pm

Maintaining two residences has to be a major expense for congressmen/women.

I say build dormitories for ‘em and make ‘em live together.

It is now, didn’t used to be as bad. But I like the idea of Congress dorms… or maybe Congress Housing Projects (read: slums). But really, if you can get the women to move up there with the kids for 9 months of the year, they’ll socialize with each other and start to come up with solutions that make sense.

deegee

August 28th, 2012
3:07 pm

What kind of jobs legislation are people expecting out of Washington? The only thing that Congress can do to create jobs is to pass some big public works bill like the WPA. That’s not going to happen. History has shown us that tax cuts don’t create jobs. We can’t force businesses that are sitting on trillions of dollars worth of cash to create jobs in the US. So please tell me what Mitt Romney or Barack Obama are going to do to create jobs. If you tell me that Mitt will create jobs by repealing Obamacare and dismantling Dodd-Frank then I think you might be wishful thinking.

Jay

August 28th, 2012
3:07 pm

Term limits accomplish nothing.

California has term limits. How’s that working for ‘em?

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
3:07 pm

Thomas,

I’m with you..I read three books (one right, one left and the other moderate) discussing our “Republic Lost’…”Throw Them all Out” Schweitzer/ Liberty and Justice for A Few/Greenwald and Republic Lost by Lawrence Lessing…eye opening stuff…

Bernie

August 28th, 2012
3:07 pm

This can ALL be summed by the actions or in-actions of (2) Two Groups – the Republican and Tea Party Members! Period….

Come November the Women of America will let them BOTH KNOW of their DISSATISFACTION of it TOO!

The Next SHIP to Mars…will be BOARDING in January 2013. Still Plenty of SEATS Available!

Granny Godzilla - Union Thugette

August 28th, 2012
3:08 pm

eurotrash socialist/marxist state

more “otherism” garbage

Brosephus™

August 28th, 2012
3:09 pm

they ultimately succomb to private money which defeats any hope of truly doing whats right for us….every single decision they make is more influenced by thoughts of re-election than doing what we elected them to do in the first place

That’s a cop-out, plain and simple. A candidate can raise enough campaign funds to pay the entire national debt in one payment but still not get elected to office if nobody votes for him.

I agree with you somewhat on the money thing, but until candidates are actually caught paying cash directly for votes, the matter ultimately comes down to the actions in the voting booth. And in that instance, America fails miserably.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
3:10 pm

JAY,

I’m from Missouri and term limits as well but the days of the professional politician need to be numbered IMO..If we could only get the old and tired constitution amended eliminate corporate money and these PACS from the equation, using only public money in the form of tax return $1 thingy and limit other donations to $250 or so..nothing will change…

ITS ALL BUSHS FAULT

August 28th, 2012
3:10 pm

Real Headline

Why is Joe such a mooron ?

Answer, cause he is a right wing minion

Jefferson

August 28th, 2012
3:11 pm

Joe is full.

MiltonMan

August 28th, 2012
3:12 pm

Jay you really believe in these polls do you not??? Polls are useless. Case in point your poll reference states that only 10% of Americans approve of Congress; yet 85+% of federally elected representatives and senators are re-elected each election.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
3:12 pm

BRO,

94% of elections are won by the fool with the most money..speaks volumes and is testament for the only real issue…no cop out there…

Common Sense

August 28th, 2012
3:12 pm

If you are the majority party, and you still cannot get your way, then it is you that must be willing to compromise, if that is your game. But don’t expect the minority to sacrifice their principles to compromise with you.

Either get more votes or compromise your principles.

Don’t demand that the others do so that you can have your way.

But don’t get near the finish, come up short, and then blame the other side.

Jay

August 28th, 2012
3:12 pm

Professional politicians are a necessity, and politics is a craft and a skill that should not be underestimated. Why would you want to put the future of the country into the hands of amateurs? Is there any other field in which that would be true?

Mick

August 28th, 2012
3:12 pm

What we really need is another defining moment that brings us together, the last time this happened we were told to keep shopping and then proceeded to attack a country for a war of choice, a completely blown opportunity that divided instead of united. Those decision points tore this country asunder culminating in a global economic crisis in sept 08. Why would anyone who live through that trust republicans with power in the legislative or executive? They have lost our trust – completely…

getalife

August 28th, 2012
3:14 pm

We need congress reform with a choice to dissolve corrupt congress then reform it.

Common Sense

August 28th, 2012
3:15 pm

“Term limits accomplish nothing.”

The root of evil in Congress is seniority.

No senator or congressman should wield more power because they have been there the longest.

Eliminate the perks of seniority, from office assignments, to committee assignments, and things would change for the better almost instantly.

Kamchak - "Socialism" is just a code word for "fear," the monster under you bed ~ Kamchak

August 28th, 2012
3:15 pm

Case in point your poll reference states that only 10% of Americans approve of Congress; yet 85+% of federally elected representatives and senators are re-elected each election.

Case in point, when Americans are asked about Congress, they are not thinking of their own elected official.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
3:15 pm

Jay,

No but there comes a point in time where diminishing returns render that particular elected individual ineffective and in it for the power and prestige..there has to be some remedy to address this issue…

Rickster

August 28th, 2012
3:15 pm

I think a lot of it had to do with the 17th Amendment to the Constitution which allowed for the election of Senators – rather than having them be appointed by the legislatures of the states.

Instead of trying to prove their worth to legislators chosen by the people, they now had to pander to / seek votes from the population in general, who willingly accepted the largess they started handing out. I doubt much of FDR’s legislation would have been enacted if Senators were not responsible to voters.

jconservative

August 28th, 2012
3:16 pm

“We didn’t have spending problems until taxes go cut.”

Sometimes the truth emerges, even if through the back door.

In 1981 we decided to lower government revenue and increase government spending in the expectation that deficit spending would end.

As silly as it may sound that was not that terrible an idea. The terrible part was when we decided it was working and kept doing it for the next 31 years, except of course the last 3 years under Clinton and a Republican congress when we screwed up amd actually balanced spending and revenue.

And the proposal from both parties is that we do the same for the next 4 year.

“Four more years, four more years, four more……………..”

Brosephus™

August 28th, 2012
3:16 pm

94% of elections are won by the fool with the most money..speaks volumes and is testament for the only real issue…no cop out there…

Are those candidates paying voters X number of dollars for each vote? Is it a requirement or law that states that the candidate with the most money raised has to be the one voted for?

THAT’s why I say it’s a cop-out. If Americans got their sorry asses off their couches and actually researched anything, they would realize how we’re all getting screwed over 10 times over each election. However, when you simply listen to what that talking box tells you or what that fancy little colorful mailer says, then you get the f**k ups you vote for.

If I can research candidates independently of any glossy ad, then so can every other single voter.

John Birch

August 28th, 2012
3:17 pm

Newt doesn’t make the top five on my list. I think Newt’s congress and Clinton did fine with the compromise thing.
Instead I would cite the increased influence of the media from Rachel Maddow to Rush to Jay. Okay, not so much Jay. But the TV talking heads seem to exist only for their own fame and fortune and that means ratings are everything and everyone knows controversy equals ratings. I think the media polarized the voters and that forced the pols to polarize along with their constituents.
So we went from Reagan and Clinton being expert at capturing the middle to Romney and Obama who become more extreme almost daily.

Jefferson

August 28th, 2012
3:17 pm

The GOP hates unions and senority, unless it is a political union AKA GOP. Year end is coming, can kicking in order.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

August 28th, 2012
3:17 pm

Is there any other field in which that would be true?

Jay, we live in a world where corporate america now outsources everything rather than have an expertise for the company. Why we can just outsource government, right?

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the Left of me Jokers to the Right, here I am...

August 28th, 2012
3:17 pm

GETALIFE,

Right on…we are getting totally screwed by all of them as result from the system being retardedly flawed..no respect for us as the deficit suggests and as the BS rhetoric between parties affirms..they insult our intelligence and our money.

getalife

August 28th, 2012
3:18 pm

Jack Abramoff knows how to reform congress.

Louisiana has term limits and it works.

BluesHarp

August 28th, 2012
3:18 pm

Dead-On, Jay. Those such as myself who have known Gingrich since West Georgia are familiar with his dysfunctional sociopathy, and along with George “Shrub” Bush’s Dry Drunk syndrome, we as a nation got a double dose of severely mentally ill “leadership”, in close order. There have been comparisons of this country to a victim of “beaten wife” syndrome, which I see a lot of truth in.

I think Bill Moyers has a real line on the current situation:

“An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, ask questions and be skeptical. That kind of orthodoxy can kill a democracy – or worse.” -Bill Moyers

too little time

August 28th, 2012
3:18 pm

They could and did compromise, thus allowing the system to function, but as they compromised they saw the arc of history bending against them. They saw compromise as a way to lose slowly, and they no longer wanted to play that way.

i.e. “ratchet to the left”

I have said the same thing many times in the comments of THIS blog, and everytime a proggy will go “prove it”. Yet Jay sits here and says the same thing I have said a dozen times, and no one challenges that?

YES, we have been ratcheting to the left for 100 years. But the shenanigans around passing ObamaCare took that one step too far. When Democrats did that, they (in essence) declared war.
Republicans responded with “no more”, and here we sit with a paralyzed government. The closest thing we have had to a ratchet to the right was Newt Gingrich’s congress, and that was only possible because Clinton compromised.

In order to get the national debt and budget deficit under control, the U.S. is going to have to ratchet to the right again, and this time it is Democrats saying “no way”. But anyone with basic mathematics skills can predict the future outcome of the current debt/deficit arc. Republicans are going to have to compromise a little on taxes, and Democrats are going to have to compromise a LOT on program cuts.

East Lake Ira

August 28th, 2012
3:20 pm

It’s all Nixon’s fault. He got caught and the GOP was exposed as the bullies they were and remain. Once that was out in the open – that the GOP was full of mean spirited bitter old men – the gloves came off.

It took ‘em a while to find their stride but the GOP has been on this trajectory since Nixon was caught and resigned.

MiltonMan

August 28th, 2012
3:20 pm

“Got A Uterus?

Then talk to us about more control over YOUR life.”

Then go out there & fight for “all of us” not being forced to wear a seat belt or being allowed to smoke weed because it is our body.

You and Ms. Fluke can use all the birth control you want but don’t expect the taxpayer dime to cover your chosen lifestyle.

King of Everything

August 28th, 2012
3:20 pm

The majority abandoned Lincoln and became Dixie-crats because he abolished slavery.
The majority abandoned the Democrats when they passed Civil Rights legislation. If your congressman has to obey this monster so he can get re-elected, we end up with dysfunction.

Kamchak - "Socialism" is just a code word for "fear," the monster under you bed ~ Kamchak

August 28th, 2012
3:21 pm

Tick…tick…tick….