Is it any wonder that Congress has such a low approval rating? Well, no, it is not even slightly puzzling after the atrocious behavior during the debt limit "crisis". The opposing ideas are so far apart, the inability to compromise so intransigent and the underlying philosophy of publicity full of fear mongering that it was a miracle they parties ever moved at all!
What does this usually mean when a society moves to extreme positions? Where are we headed? How do we change the conversation? Why, at this particular time, has this come about? Where did civility go? There are plenty of related questions but the solutions seem elusive.
From the Huffington Post there have been a string of articles about the slide down the polls for most members of Congress. "65 percent say they want their own House representative tossed out in 2012, compared with 53 percent of respondents generally." In other words, there is more specificity on ones own Representative than for the body as a whole. The headline for the following day was that 87% disapprove of Congress altogether. This may be unprecedented. The Tea Party has lost much of its support due to its rancorous reactionary conduct during the debt limit debate. In fact, it appears that most of the focus of these polls is figure out what sort of influence the Tea Party is likely to have during the 2012 elections. There is clearly a shift toward raising taxes so it appears that perhaps the Tea Party negotiating tactic of not budging an inch during discussions is working against their agenda. The coupling of the tactical blunder of non-negotiation and the steadfast refusal to raise taxes is cratering the Right wing argument that we can cut our way to prosperity. In fact, one of the sounds bights that is gaining traction has become, "would you rather have cuts and austerity or peace and prosperity?" This saying does not connect all the dots but the contrast contained in it does get the label for each party clearly stated. The lessons of history seem to have gotten fogged over as well. When FDR faced the same sliding economy he spent money on public works and pumped money into the economy. In 1937, under pressure for conservatives (Republicans), he relented for a time and the U.S. went from creating jobs to sliding back down the razor blade. He reversed himself and went back to spending to get the economy growing again. What we will never know for sure is whether this tactic would have eventually led to a fully recovered economy without the intervention of World War II or not. Clearly though as history has gone full cycle we are at the nexus of the same choices. What FDR did not have was a Congress of Tea Partiers to hinder the progress. It seems their sole objective is to ruin the economy and try to say that it is all President Obama's fault. That is a weak argument but the tactic has been to repeat and repeat the same message until a few begin to believe it.
Huffington Post article one.
Huffington Post article two.