Pols misread polls, spin wrong message from Weiner

The calls for Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to resign his House seat, in the wake of admitting his bad personal behavior and the subsequent web of lies, have come from all sides, including some important Democrats. Of all the possible reasons that are given to get him to go – abusing trust, allegedly misusing federal offices and buildings, disrespecting his constituents – the one making the rounds today makes the least sense at all.

Several Republicans have been on television today, claiming that the voting public has a bad view of Congress particularly because of lying politicians. After all, a Rasmussen poll, that came out just before the Weiner scandal broke, showed public approval of our legislative branch in single digits. That’s right, “just nine percent (9%) of Likely Voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job,” Rasmussen reported on May 23. That’s barely more than all 535 members of Congress, their families and friends.

Even Democrats have picked up this meme. “The drip, drip, drip of this unseemly behavior adds to the low public approval of Congress,” Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) told Politico.

“His actions have disgraced the Congress,” echoed Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN).

But that’s not why people are upset with Congress. The Rasmussen poll says, “An overwhelming majority (80%) believe members of Congress are more interested in their own careers than helping people.”

Few would call anything that Weiner did a “career move,” other than the lies to save his seat. But the pollsters say the poll result refers more to people who think Congress is untrustworthy because of things like corruption and bribery – not lying to cover up questionable moral behavior.

This line of argument, then, is a red herring. Either members of Congress think that their business-as-usual mentality, in passing and blocking legislation, is not a direct contributor to the public’s low opinion of them, or this is totally a witch hunt, from all sides, afraid of some fictional, moral blowback at the polls.

They can be having orgies in the cafeteria, but that doesn’t matter, if they are being effective legislators. There is no question that they are not, at least not for the average American voter. They are slaves to the election cycle, appealing to the money, not the rest of us. They perform for corporations, and we are left to clean the stage.


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