Grumpy. Nervous. Fearful.
That’s not how members of Congress look in TV interviews.
But if their attitudes matched their job approval ratings that’s how they should look, right?
A recent Rasmussen Reports poll found that a mere 7 percent of likely U.S. voters “think Congress is doing a good or excellent job.” The national telephone survey shows 65 percent of American voters marking Congress as doing a poor job. Real Clear Politics, averaging out the polling of a number of different researchers, asking slightly different questions, places the job approval by Congress at 13.6 percent, with disapproval at a whopping 78 percent.
And yet, Congress remains unfazed.
A joint study by the Congressional Management Foundation and the Society for Human Resource Management, “Life in Congress: The Member Perspective,” shows how unfazed folks in Congress are. We learn how these public servants spend their time, how they prioritize their activities, what they see as their challenges, and, indeed, how they feel about their job performance.
They think they’re doing a bang-up job.
So why the differing evaluations? The report hands us the general view of the membership: Congress blames the media — because of the media, We, the People, misperceive what Congress does.
Another possible explanation, not aired by the report, goes like this: Congress and the citizenry have radically different views of what “doing a good job” is, and these differences may be the result of that most ancient of class divides, between the rulers and the ruled.
We modern folk tell ourselves that this ancient divide is passé, in a democracy. Not possible. “We are the government.”
But we certainly aren’t Congress.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.