Source: The New Democrat
“Congress is weak because its member want it to be”: I completely agree with Yuval Levin on this, but I would put it and phrase it differently.
The last 10-20 years perhaps longer Congress’s ( both House and Senate ) approval rating has been somewhere around 10-20%. ( Depending on what poll you look at )
And the people who tend to approve of the job of Congress tend to either be Anarchists who don’t want government do to anything.
Alcoholics who don’t know what they want and believe and perhaps aren’t even sober enough to understand the question do you approve or disapprove of Congress.
Or mental patients who believe they’re being chased by flying Martians.
The rest of the country tends to be sane, sober, and in some cases even somewhat intelligent so of course they don’t approve of the job of Congress, because Congress doesn’t do a damn thing every year.
I mean, if Congress avoids a government shutdowns, that’s considered an incredible accomplishment.
If Congress passes a budget even though according to the U.S. Constitution that both Democrats and Republicans now just view as an advisory documental and suggestions for how Congress should behave and what they should do, Congress passing a budget now is considered extraordinary.
Passing all 12 appropriations are now considered to be a miracle if Congress ever does that. Even though again under law and under the Constitution, Congress is required to pass an annual budget and all 12 appropriations bills.
Imagine being a public school teacher and your department head or principal told you that if your students do their work and learn the subject matter and pass your course, that would be considered a positive thing, but it’s optional and you don’t have to teach them anything, just give it your best shot. Wait, bad example because public school teachers in many cases aren’t expected to teach their students and their students aren’t expect to learn, but give it their best effort and show up.
But imagine running a grocery store or some other business that you don’t own and your boss tells you that you’re not expected to sell the products there and make a profit, but those things would be great if you did. What kind of business manager would that person be if they knew they would have a job in the future regardless of the job that they’re doing and the success of their business. Well, that’s how Congress operates and is judged. Americans are so fed up ( to be too kind ) with Congress now and politicians in general that they don’t expect Congress to do their jobs. They just want their Representative and two Senators to repent their values and what they believe in and tell them what they want to hear. They do those things and stay out of legal trouble and avoid scandal, they’ll probably get reelected over and over again.
What other job and profession in the world outside of politics and in Congress can you get paid and be guaranteed a job just for showing up. Again, public school teachers unfortunately and there are some good public school teachers, but too many bad ones and of course the largest verbal and physical punching bag in the world our U.S. Congress that houses the House of Representatives and Senate. Where a non-leadership member and not even a committee leader makes 150,000 dollars a year plus a generous benefits and retirement package. Which would be a good compensation package for an associate at a good law firm where people there are expected to actually work and represent clients well and win cases or at the very least give their clients the best legal representation possible.
Congress is weak, because there members are weak. They’re in Washington about half a year on a good year, they’re not expected to actually pass bills and in many cases are just there working to get reelected. And working to get reelected and governing are too different things. Working to get reelected now is about raising a lot of money and having your base behind you so you don’t have to worry about getting primaried. Governing is about working with your colleagues in both parties at least when the margins are tight in both chambers ( especially in the Senate ) to pass needed legislation. And members of Congress are weak because that’s what their voters want or expect and are tired of complaining about it and campaigning and voting for people who’ll actually go to Washington to represent their state or district and work to pass good legislation.