This week, Rasmussen Reports announced that for the first time in the poll’s history, Congress’ approval rating has sunk into the single digits. As of Tuesday, just 9 percent of Americans thought that Congress was doing an excellent or even a good job. That makes Congress less popular than airport security, the phrase “happy holidays,” and alarm clocks.
These dismal numbers did not, of course, stop the legislative body from passing the FISA bill that immunizes telecommunications companies from prosecution for their complicity in the Bush administration’s lawbreaking. We’ve covered the nuts and bolts of this legislation extensively, so I’ll stick to the big question: Who exactly are the Democrats trying to impress?
Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold recently theorized that Democrats are held in check by a “constantly pulsating fear of being accused of being soft on terrorism.” That’s almost certainly true, but with these latest numbers, you have to wonder who they’re worried is going to accuse them. A few of their Republican colleagues? So what? 91 percent of the country hates them too.
The Democrats have almost nothing to lose by taking a stand, so why not use the freedom of total disapproval to let loose a little bit? Throw a party on the Senate floor; conduct all debates with puppets. Or at least propose so much progressive legislation that the Republicans cave and pass something. I’m sure Jesse Helms would approve.
Photo used under a Creative Commons license from mahalie.