Home / If Congressional Approval Falls Below 10%, Do We Get to Have Another Revolution?

If Congressional Approval Falls Below 10%, Do We Get to Have Another Revolution?

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The latest Zogby poll shows that only 11 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. This is contrasted with Bush's underwhelming 29% approval rating. These polls show that Americans of all political stripes are losing faith in their government. Congress' all time low (prior to this poll) is 18% approval. Do we get to disband the government and write a new Constitution if it falls below 10%? For comparison, most foreign governments suffer a coup at these approval ratings.

The partisans on both sides will likely use this poll to show how the other party is ruining America. That's what they do and most people have adopted this approach. It doesn't matter who has the most coherent policy, it just matters how you can spin things to show the other party as a moral evil. This line of thinking misses the point.

The poll shows that the average American and the average politician are simply disconnected. The concerns of the average American aren't represented inside the Beltway and it shows that what's huge news on the cable news channels and in the latest partisan shouting matches isn't what matters most to Americans. And America is fed up.

It's not about a single issue, it's about the sum total of all the issues that America cares about that go ignored or are actively worked against by our politicians. Our candidates are pre-selected by party insiders where people who aren't "team players" (i.e. party hacks) are actively discouraged from running. Sure, they'll take your money but they want yes men in office.

We have representatives from every corner of this country in D.C. Yet all issues are effectively nationalized. How does a representative vote on a particular bill? With his caucus, not with the intentions of his constituents. There are rare exceptions, some of those are honest principled men, many are just media whores who like the press image of being a "maverick". And America is fed up.

This poll shows a population that is conditioned to think that the government will fix the big problems. The sub-prime mortgage fallout (which hasn't begun fully to set in) is a great example. Sure, we had banks with overly liberal lending habits that gave money away to people not likely to repay it. They should know better considering most every economic crisis in history was started by bad lending practices. However, the people taking out those loans aren't even on the radar. People don't think that the average citizen should be responsible for making bad economic decisions, it's the government's job to bail them out. Yet, the government consistently fails at doing so.

Katrina is another great example. Governmental failures abounded at every layer of government. The mayor did not use all the assets he had to protect his people. Over two-thirds of the police department walked off the job (and got free vacations to Vegas). Gov. Blanco and the Louisiana state government were more interested in embezzling disaster money than buying the equipment they needed. When it all came to a head because the governor and mayor did everything wrong, FEMA wasn't up to the task to clean up after them. The government told the people they would protect them, but it was the people who took care of themselves who came out of Katrina unscathed.

In every direction one looks, one can find a promise of government to help and that promise being broken. Corruption is rampant in both parties and the talking points that one party is more corrupt than another are simply absurd. Looking at the field of 2008 presidential contenders, it looks like it'll be more of the same. How much lower do approval ratings need to fall until Americans insist that things change?

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About John Doe

A political activist and security expert.
  • Baronius

    John – great article. I like the way you don’t even hint at a solution. Are you just in a bad mood, or do you really think there’s no way to make things better?

  • moonraven

    There is no way to make anything better in the US–especially not in a congress that not only represents you assholes, but represents your self-loathing.

    It’s FLUSH time.

  • dee

    What are we waiting for… let’s get the ball rolling. Me need to organize. Article V convention

  • Baronius

    Then why are you still an American citizen, Moon? It seems that the only person filled with self-loathing is you.

  • “Do we get to disband the government and write a new Constitution if it falls below 10%”


  • Clavos

    Go easy on poor mr, Baronius. If you were she, wouldn’t you be full of self loathing too?

    That’s why she lives in a small Mexican peasant village; in that setting, she’s able to come to grips with her inferiority complex.

    Anybody who brags (and lies) as much as she does, obviously has low self esteem.

  • The constiuentive feature of the United States is that the ability to make both economic and political change rests with the people. If we want better politicians, we can insist on better politicians or run ourselves. If we want better businesses we can use our dollars to force the issue. We have the businesses and politicians we have because we put up with them. In this country, you get exactly as little as your willing to put up with.

    In the meantime, we watch the latest OJ developments breathlessly on cable. I suppose it’s better than talking about Britney, but not much. And we can blame the media, but again, the media is just delivering content that most Americans want to see.

    We get exactly as little as we are willing to put up with.

  • We get the government we deserve.

    Certainly most of the politicians have violated their trust, but who put them there, and who permits it?

    It’s the fruits of partisanship over principles, and it’s our fault for falling for it.

  • Yes, but the name we apply to people who put principles above politics is “ideologue” and its not a compliment.

  • you wanna change it all John..ya gotta start at the root

    pass a Law stating all registered lobbyists MUST only have contact with any elected official or their staff in their offices…then put in a provision where either the entire time in that office is either streamed live to the net, OR a member of the opposition party (or staffer) are present at all times that any lobbyist is there

    no blind earmarks

    the budget MUST balance

    NO bundling of campaign contributions, ALL contributions entered live on the net, full public disclosure

    now that you have closed off a huge percentage of corruptive influences…you can begin honest Reform

    until and unless measure of that nature are taken and enforced we are all straight fucked

    woe is U.S.

    the good news is that the Citizens in this nation do sometimes shake off the *sleepy* disinterest, and shit changes…it works for a while because the politicians and lobbyists are startled yet do what they can to minimize any real Reform…they wait, bide their time…..then the Cycle starts again

    usually every 20-25 years or so it seems to happen, some larger than others, some subtle, some not

    we are overdue, imo


  • Lumpy

    ROTFL. An article V convention. Let’s have a new constitution which guarantees a college education and a CEO’s job to aborted fetuses and illegal immigrants and makes it legal to hunt the French for food. You have GOT to be kidding. The constitutiion is the only thing holding back the tide of suicidal idiocy.

  • gotta go with Lumpy’s position, but not the line of “reasoning”…

    until you show me something substantially better than the masterpiece of our Constitution, i’m gonna side with the “defend and uphold” ideal

    it ain’t the Constitution/Declaration/Bill of Rights that are fucked up

    it’s the elected Representatives and their gangs…and what they have done over the years

    your mileage may vary…


  • John, I like the way you [for once] don’t pin this all on the Democrats. Since the Congress is still 46% or so Republican, my guess is the public doesn’t intend the low rating as a partisan statement.

    However, the standoff between the executive and legislative branches has been the poisonous root of the problem, since at least 1995, and probably back to the Reagan years. People get mad when nothing gets done except bloviation.

    Although, paradoxically, much of the public likes a divided government, at least in theory. Rigid ideologues on both sides have shown occasional signs of letting pragmatists and centrists step in and actually accomplish something.

    The election of several ‘blue dog’ centrist Democrats last year was one indication of this. But several Republican centrists lost last year, and some are being targeted for next year…by Democrats.

    And the fun continues.

  • Clavos

    “it ain’t the Constitution/Declaration/Bill of Rights that are fucked up

    it’s the elected Representatives and their gangs…and what they have done over the years”

    True, but it’s the people, too. Too many of them habitually look to the government for the solution of problems, even the most personal and micro ones.

    Perhaps, here too, the elected representatives are largely to blame, because in their quest for votes they’ve conditioned the people to stop fending for themselves and seek out the government teat instead.

  • ah Clavos…now you delve into far deeper waters…

    it ain’t government that has gotten a portion of the population looking for “fairy godmother” answers to small problems…

    it’s Advertising, imo…marketing

    this little *pill* solves everything from a flaccid dick to the heartbreak of psoriasis to that great 30 year rate and gold card benefits…but wait, there’s more!

    folks are allowed to make unReasonable demands, the theoretical *adults* whom we elects to Represent us are supposed to weigh the variables, debate and compromise…and do what they can to make tomorrow a little better than yesterday based on our Constitution and the Rule of Law…

    so yes, the Electorate holds some of the blame, but deliberate deceit and corruption of and by those we Elect is the proper place to start while the micro-political goal should be getting school boards to put Civics class back on the mandatory schedule in order to instruct and inform for Reform from the grass roots upward

    could just be me…


  • RJ

    Great article. And gonzo and Limpy both make solid points.

    But the question remains: At what point do the American people simply rise up and throw these idiots out of office, by force?

    10%? 5%? 1%? Or just, never, under any circumstances?

    Hell, we are the most heavily-armed people on the planet. We certainly could “rise up” but we don’t. Maybe we don’t need to, but what if we did? What would be the catalyst, the tipping-point?

  • RJ

    Uh, Lumpy* … sorry. :-/

  • Doug Hunter

    The government is a reflection of the people. Their words are what you must judge them by and they say what you want to hear.

    You worship celebrities; they announce candidacies on late night comedy shows.

    You feel entitled to great things without contributing great things; they promises great things without actually doing them.

    You spend far beyond your means, they spend far beyond theirs.

    You cheat on your taxes; they cheat with your taxes.

    You help a friend get a job; they help a friend get a billion dollar no-bid contract.

    They are us.

  • Clavos

    Point(s) taken, gonzo.

    But the electorate has shown a propensity to elect (and. especially, RE-elect), those representatives who most bring home the prok. (or the pork) :>)

    I think we more agree than disagree on this

  • Clavos

    Oops, wrong thread (how the hell did I do THAT???)

    Sorry, folks carry on….

  • Clavos

    Umm it’s late…disregard my #20.

    Brain fart.

  • it’s ok Clav….all that sun hanging out with the luxury yachts (pronounced “throat warbler mangrove”)

    might have addled ya a bit…



  • in #16 RJ asks…
    “What would be the catalyst, the tipping-point?”

    something like more of these incidents

    too much of it and folks will get pissed that the politicians can’t even competently lie and steal from U.S. so we will find some more honest crooks who can!

    now if ya Ask me..i’d be prone to suggest that there are three cyclical curves which when becoming synchronous appears to indicate a large socio-political axial shift

    1 – economic cycle
    2 – generational/demographic shift
    3 – foreign war lasting longer than a senatorial term

    any two of those happen together and you get stuff like the Summer of 1968…

    all three? it could happen as the kids born during Clinton hit college in a few years…should be “interesting times” , as the Chinese curse goes…

    but i digress


  • You’re dreaming, Gonzo. We’ve got enough people taking bribes from Norman Hsu to actually WIN a vote in Congress and no one cares. No one cared about Abramoff. No one cares about Cunningham. Bribery isn’t even a blip on the radar.

    If we want a revolution we need something a LOT more shocking and extreme. I’m betting on gun-toting DEA agents massacring the dope smoking residents of an old folks home.


  • Anon

    Does anyone recall what one of the founders of the nation once said?

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
    -Thomas Jefferson

  • troll

    theory – it’s not the polls that need to fall below 10% to spur a change…it’s voter turn out

    boycott federal elections

    ’68 – ?

    Ginsberg’s got nothing on us – we’ve seen the best minds of our generation become…real estate agents

  • moonraven


    Not that it is any of your business, but I keep my US citizenship to avoid having trouble receiving the pensions to which I am entitled.

    So, as usual, [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor] clavos is wrong. [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • Baronius

    Moon, for what it’s worth, I assume that you don’t really exist. My bet is that you’re a junior at UC-Santa Barbara, majoring in hotel management. It really doesn’t matter if I’m right. It’s just that US citizenship doesn’t fit the persona you present.

  • RJ

    Hey, what’s wrong with hotel management? :-/

  • Baronius

    Actually RJ, that wasn’t meant as an insult.

  • Joel S. Hirschhorn

    For those who want a solution come on over to http://www.foavc.org and join our effort to get the nation’s first Article V convention – remember that Congress has refused to obey the Constitution and give us a convention.

  • moonraven

    Congress is only interested in giving its members pork.

  • For those who want a solution come on over to http://www.foavc.org and join our effort to…

    …destroy the document which provides our only protection from despotism and replace it with a free 9/11 comemorative tinfoil hat.


  • Alec

    John, an interesting and provocative article. But let me immediately disagree with you on a couple of statements that you made:

    RE: FEMA wasn’t up to the task to clean up after them.

    Sorry. This is just plain wrong. FEMA was a nest of incompetence and cronyism. What exactly, were “Brownie’s” qualifications to run FEMA? Exactly none. This is not to minimize the failures of state and local government, but people cannot try to cover themselves with the cloak of “first responder” crap to evade the central issue that in a number of critical areas, the Bush Administration has no grasp of the concept of competence and fails back on some bizarre notion of country-club secret society cronyism and loyalty to run departments which could demonstrate competence if properly organized.

    RE: The government told the people they would protect them, but it was the people who took care of themselves who came out of Katrina unscathed.

    The people organize governments in order to get some things done. The government is not separate from, or independent of, the will of the people. The government is what stands between society and anarchy (Ayn Rand delusions notwithstanding).

    Now, having said that,

    The paradox is that even though voters might detest Congress, they generally approve of the work of their own representatives, sometimes even when that representative is corrupt or is pigging out excessively on pork for the sake of his constituents.

    Also, here in California (and in other states as well) you find that the two major political parties have carved out safe districts which guarantee incumbents are re-elected even though it also keeps Republicans in the minority. We have term limits, but politicians jump into commissions, appointed posts and safe available seats in local, state and federal offices in order to maintain the status quo.

    Non-voters and independents throw up their hands in disgust, and even committed Democrats and Republicans often are lulled into submission by their parties’ insistence that loyalty, even if you are getting screwed, is more important than demanding that your representatives be more responsive.

    By the way, it is interesting to see how the Republicans in power, even more than the Democrats, attempt to negate a possible resurgence of the Perot phenomenon by insisting that the political landscape can only be divided into liberal/conservative or Republican/Democrat. Independents have no place at the table. And even though there are still some people who claim to be libertarians, they are allowed a place at the GOP table only if they shut up when it comes to government intrusion into their private lives.

    In the past, many libertarians have been in favor (theoretically) of a repeal of laws against drugs, prostitution, etc. And yet it amazes me when I go to blog sites and see total silence, or blind acceptance, from libertarians when the Bush Administration bans online gambling, tries to regulate adult content on the Web, issues insane FCC fines and regulations in the face of trivial offences, and let’s the drug companies write regulations preventing people from deducting the cost of Canadian drugs as a medical expense on their tax returns.

    Despite all this, we got people talkin’ bout revolution. But when the smoke clears, what is it that you want? And what are you willing to do to make it happen?

  • Moonraven

    Left the little battleground to the MUCH bigger, hemispheric one.

    Buy yourself a plane ticket to someplace and join the REAL world.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • and once again, you prove yourself clueless as you clean the spew off your beak

    for all your rantings, you know shit about me, who i am, and what i do/have done

    stick to what you know….

    carrion eater


  • Otis B. Driftwood

    “Nobody who posts on this site, apart from Les and she who is typing this, are willing to do squat about anything.”

    you mean the same Les who protested the Jena 6 incident hundreds of miles away in the city of Detroit? Color me unimpressed.

  • Baronius

    Comments Editor: Seriously, what does a person have to do to get banned around here? Half the time I check the ‘latest comments’ list, there are obscenities and personal attacks from the same person.

  • I just keep either editing or deleting comments that go too far, Baronius. Some people just seem to develop a type of Tourette Syndrome on the web, independent of their political orientation. We have several of them here, which keeps me busy if nothing else.

  • Clavos


    I respectfully disagree with you in re banning anyone.

    Not only does banning someone diss the Bill of Rights, it plays into the banned person’s hands–that’s exactly what she WANTS to happen, to justify her viewpoint.

    A far better way to deal with people like that is for everybody to ignore them.

    That said, I’ll admit that I don’t always follow my own principle in this case.

  • moonraven

    Have you EVER?

    Supercilious sod.

  • Delicious cod? Mmmm. Who’s up for seafood tonight?

  • Baronius

    Clav, there’s a right to free speech, but there’s no right to make noise. There’s certainly no right to free speech on every internet site.

    I don’t care if banning makes a person feel vindicated. When someone removes himself from the ground rules of civil discourse, it becomes impossible to restore balance while taking his feelings into account. That’s not my fault.

  • Guys, seriously. The First Amendment and Free Speech apply as a protection of private individuals against **government** action. Other private individuals owe you exactly nothing.

    If BlogCritics today decided to not publish any conservative commentary or comments, it’s not a free speech issue. BlogCritics is under no obligation of law or the constitution, nor could you file a suit to compel us, to carry anything we don’t want to. In practice, we are organized around non-ideological grounds, but that’s certainly not because we are bound to.

    You could talk about whether it is socially right or wrong, but please stop misusing the First Amendment. Rights against government infringement do not prevent private organizations from governing their own mediums that they pay for in a manner that they see fit.

  • Clavos

    Baronius, John.

    Language is everything, and I pick mine very carefully, especially when writing.

    Both of you please note that I did NOT say that speech on Blogcritics is protected speech. I know full well the protection extended by the first amendment, both as to WHAT is protected and from WHOM it’s protected.

    That is why I said that banning someone from a quasi-public site such as BC (and yes, I know EO owns this site and consequently has the right to censor, ban, or even shut the whole site down if he wishes) “disses” (rather than “violates”) the first amendment.

    The chief thing I admire about BC (and Eric) is that its stated (and practiced) policy allows a wide range of speech, which is very much in keeping with one of the fundamental principles of this nation, even though it (and he) doesn’t have to.

    That policy also makes BC one of the few discussion sites currently available on the internet which isn’t completely partisan to one side or the other, which also makes it far more interesting than say, The Drudge Report, The DailyKos, or Powerline.

    Hence, I support the policy not to ban anyone except under the most egregious circumstances.

    [climbs down from soapbox]

  • John, great article. Gonzo et al–still going through the comments–you guys are terrific.

    Remember the 60s? Same stuff, different day. But back then there was the draft to consider, and that took it to another level. That was your ass, not some abstraction on the tube (for some) and people protested.

    So what will be the final straw this time? Another 9/11 or worse?

    We’re quite possibly doomed–and our gov’t is appallingly inept, indifferent, greedy, hypocritical, self-serving…etc ad infinitum. Always was, but never on this gargantuan scope. Who isn’t jaded and cynical anymore? It’s like a national disease…

    I like Gonzo’s ideas though…some of this is already happening thanks in part to the democratic power of the internet.

    Or we could be extinct in 50 years so it might all be moot anyway.

  • STM

    If you’d never had a revolution in the first place, none of this stuff would be an issue.

    The last thing you need is a second revolution, if the chaos and uncertainty 200 years on is any indication.

    Look to Down Under for clues on how to be part of a free and fair country without continually tearing yourselves to shreds ๐Ÿ™‚

    My tip: give Buck House a call, and ask Liz if you can come back to the fold and get an executive branch of government that won’t interfere in rule of law, elected government or affairs of state.

    Alternatively, start small and become a citizen of the Dominion of British West Florida (google it for more info), and see whether you can expand that to encompass the whole of the United States.

    It’s never too late, especially for a prodigal son.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I wonder if Her Maj prefers presidents who are given to shoulder-massaging their fellow heads of state (a la Bush) to premiers who like to manhandle monarchs across rooms (a la Paul Keating)?

  • STM

    Ah, Paul Keating, now THERE was a statesman. Rough as guts, ego-driven, disembowelling his opponents on the floor of Parliament (his favourite term: the scumbags on the Opposition benches), many of them never to recover … but on the world stage, a statesman. Oh yes, the Her Maj incident. I think he was trying to point her in the right direction.

    I notice the Poms went bananas over it (well, The Daily Mail did), but putting a gentle hand on someone’s shoulder to guide them across a room is not politically incorrect in Australia, even if it’s The Queen.

    Shoulder massaging, however, should be illegal. Only acceptable when it’s your wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend/son/daughter/best friend of the opposite sex – otherwise, you need to pay to get it done.

    Geez Doc, we’re straying though. These Yanks, I dunno, you reap what you sow eh? Once a revolutionary, always a revolutionary. Well, kind of …

  • Dr Dreadful

    All right, then, back to topic. It’s not one of Selwyn’s threads, after all… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    John, though he is fond of tilting occasionally at legal windmills, put it most succinctly in comment 44. Private rules apply on private property (including virtual property like a website) – unless they conflict with a legal statute.

    For instance, occasional comments on BC do sail pretty close to the wind – threatening remarks against another commenter, for example. Even so, in most cases a judicious slap on the wrist from Uncle Chris probably deals with the problem more effectively and neatly than calling in the Feds.

  • Baronius

    Doc, I’m not calling for governmental intervention. It’s just that we keep talking about most cases, and all but the worst occurances. I think that someone who posts thousands of abusive comments and drives away real discussion is pretty close to the worst case.

  • but Baronius…Vox is an editor….!


    ok..i know ya don’t mean him, was Jesting

    but i have to go with Clavos on this one, EO has made this site an open forum, with very few restrictions…if ya can keep it between those lines, then anything goes

    which is as it should be, imo

    far better to see the idiots and extremists out in the open, and have the chance to show how wrong and silly they are, just as publicly

    much better than to set aside “protest zones” off the trial where no one can see, eh?

    your mileage may vary…


  • Dr Dreadful

    I agree, Baronius, and to those who worry that the banned person will just go away and whine all over the net that their rights have been infringed by Der Fรผhrer Olsen and his Rosengestapo ๐Ÿ˜‰ , one good answer is: who cares?

    It’s essentially no different from a theatre expelling a persistently disruptive heckler. Except that in that case, the bannee experiences the double whammy of forfeiting their ticket money.

    That said, it should be an absolute last resort. Although the person under discussion (I assume we’re both talking about the same individual) is particularly effective at hijacking threads, that person does also engage in purposeful debate. I think the site owners have been lenient for that reason.

  • Baronius

    Doc: re “purposeful debate”

    Yes, that person takes sides a lot of the time, and sometimes presents an argument. There’s never any debate, though. There are two possibilities: presentation followed by abuse, and just abuse.

    But I know what you mean. Some people never do anything but spam, and they get removed from most sites. This person seems to have a point of view, so the instinct is to give her time on the soapbox. I tried to engage her several times. What do you think this person’s ratio is, though? Including the postings that are removed entirely? Maybe 2% of the comments contain substance. Another 5% assert agreement or disagreement with the article. Well over 90% is valueless.

  • Baronius

    Oh, hey, Moon….

    I think the idea that we fear you is hilarious. How could anyone fear letters on a screen? I’m the first guy to engage in debate – I mean, this is the Politics section. I don’t fear discussion. I just don’t want to be bored.

    Life can be dull. Work, traffic, customer service representitives. We’re surrounded by dumb people who can barely disguise their hostility. The internet can be a path to something more. This site was something more. It’s not any longer.

  • Clavos

    Yeah, it is Baronius.

    Just push the IGNORE button.

    Nothing pisses off a troll more.

    (with apologies to our friend the farrier)

  • troll

    no apologies necessary Clavos – though I think that you misunderstand trolls

    and on a personal note – sadly – having failed to recover completely from a (botched) surgery a few years back I recently hung up my hammers and cannot call myself a farrier any longer…I’m keeping my hand in the equine trade by doing as much trimming and booting as my body will permit while I figure out what’s next in the adventure

    …my latest notion is to restring the ol’ banjo grab a street corner in some big city back east and belt out white boy blues for shots of booze or smack…whichever

    I figure that I’d communicate better through the music than this commenting shite anyway

  • Clavos

    Really sorry to hear that, troll.

    Dealing, as I do, on a daily basis with my wife’s disabilities, I’m very conscious of how life-changing infirmities can be.

    I think you communicate just fine (and a lot better than some) in these threads.

    I hope you find something to do that’s both satisfying and as lucrative as you want (or need) it to be.

  • Silver Surfer

    Got a crook back, troll? If you do, sorry to hear it mate. Bummer when you can’t do the stuff you love the way you used to. I’ll give you five free hits at me on these threads as some small compensation, and I promise I won’t argue back (much).

    And good mornin’ to you and yours Clav ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Clavos

    Evenin’, SS.

    Workin’ the graveyard again, are we?

  • Silver Surfer

    No, the wife and youngest have flown up to Queensland for the long weekend to see the family, which means I can do whatever I want … stay up late, look things up on the computer, rev up the dog at midnight, order in pizza, watch action movies. All of which I’ve done, and more ๐Ÿ™‚

    Graveyard shift is Saturday nights. It is early Saturday here now (the future IS now). I am living your tomorrow already …