Mike Hughes: Congress represents a divided country

Jan. 27, 2013 @ 03:45 AM

Congress has had low approval ratings for a long time. A few years back liberals were quick to blame it all on President Bush, but approval ratings for Congress are now at an all-time low under President Obama.
Gallup’s approval polling shows a declining trend throughout the 2000s, with an uptick in 2009 when Obama took office. That uptick quickly disappeared as more and more people learned that despite the grandiose campaign promises, despite the fawning mainstream media and despite delusions of hope and change, Congress under Obama was just more of the same.
A recent poll by Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling found that cockroaches, Brussels sprouts, traffic jams and used car salesmen are more popular than Congress. On a more serious note, the writer of a recent guest column said, “Congress no longer works for either its citizens or the nation as a whole.” I’m not so sure about that.
It’s easy to stick Congress at the tail-end of a joke, but Congress is a fairly accurate representation of the electorate. We have a divided Congress — and federal government — because we have a divided electorate. Most politicians win elections by promising to represent one side or the other, and once in office they largely do so. Most politicians are predictable, and that’s the way we like them.
I’m not a big fan of public polling because it’s too easy to get people to say whatever pollsters want them to say, and I rarely see polls that are definitive. Most people agree that Congress deserves a low approval rating, but how many people agree on the reasons why? A large number of people think that Congress should expand government and spend more. A large number of people think the opposite. The approval rating alone is almost meaningless.
The polls that really matter are held on Election Day. Judging from the results of our last election, it would seem that half of the electorate wants to expand government and spend more. But I’m not so sure about that either, because there are so many voters who are uninformed or misinformed. If more people understood history and macro-economics, we wouldn’t be $16 trillion in debt, we wouldn’t be printing money and Obama would’ve been a one-term proposition.
But life isn’t that easy. Divided government is here to stay until one side or the other has enough power to make the other side politically irrelevant. Some liberals think they’re almost there. This prompted the political director of CBS News to say that Obama should “declare war on the Republican Party,” “go for the throat” and “pulverize.” Apparently, this news director is one of the misinformed.
It may seem like the left has been gaining ground, but Obama was re-elected with a smaller margin and fewer votes than in 2008. Actually, he wouldn’t have stood a chance if not for corrupt news organizations like CBS.
It’s easy to say that Congress no longer works for the people, but the House is currently the only entity standing in the way of the progressive dream. That fact alone is enough to say that the House is working for me.

Mike Hughes is a Navy veteran who lives in High Point. His column appears here every other Sunday. To comment, visit www.hpe.com and click on local commentary. E-mail him at mrmike27282@gmail.com. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.