Maybe Congress and the President are less popular than telemarketers because the voters feel like they continually have to defend themselves from assaults from Washington.
This year has been a graduate course in the evils of big government. While the country suffers numerous perils, Washington proposes every lame brained idea imaginable in an effort to appear relevant. Of course these ideas are proposed by the highly paid lobbyists of various special interests. The end result is a government that claims the ability to solve every problem while being truly impotent. Voters gullible enough to believe in an infallible terrestrial institution are left frustrated by a lack of progress while those fortunate enough to be cynical realize these proposals are working as intended by the interests that created them. The question is, have the political leaders figured it out?
The politicians are really not to blame. You can’t blame a puppy for watering the carpet and politicians can’t help themselves from making promises they don’t have a prayer of keeping. It is really our fault for believing them and letting them ride roughshod over us. It could probably go on indefinitely if the politicians would listen to the electorate every now and then.
Of course that isn’t going to happen. That is because Washington is not full of voters. It is full of former legislators that are paid handsomely to convince their former colleagues to adopt questionable policies that will generally make a few people rich and the rest of us poorer and less free. Every now and then Congress embraces enough of this nonsense that the electorate notices that they have a government and it is not doing what they want. This year, Congress and the president are doing everything in their power to get noticed.
First, Congress promised a confrontation with the president over Iraq. Congress then proved that they can be bought off with enough tax payer money as it pushed through a bunch of pork barrel projects while placing no new constrains on the Bush administration. Then the Senate engaged in a text book definition backroom deal to overhaul the immigration system in a manner that will provide more of what the voters hate about the current system while expanding things taxpayers already can’t believe they are paying for. The final straw is an energy bill so bad the major media can’t be bothered to cover it lest the voters might object like they did the immigration bill.
The energy bill is a great example of compromise, a word which has its roots in Latin that means I’ll vote for your harebrained idea if you vote for mine. The bill combines three completely ludicrous ideas into a perfect recipe for failure. The essentials are that we would combine increases in CAFÉ standards (that have lead to higher demand in the past ala Jevons paradox), with increased production of ethanol (which requires more oil to produce than it can replace while increasing food prices), and anti-gouging laws (otherwise known as price controls which led to decreased production and gas lines in the 1970s). Congress once again proves that no problem is difficult and unwieldy enough that it cannot be made worse given enough special interest money.
If Congress wants to increase its approval rating, it should stop assaulting voters with these bad ideas and go back to naming national song birds and commemorating fallen heroes.