It’s almost as though Congress has dropped out of sight, or maybe the leadership has followed its own advice to the troops in Iraq and led both Houses over the horizon.
One wag suggested we be prepared to order some 500-plus milk carton photos.
At best, Congress has not been doing its job and the public knows it.
Congressional public approval dropped to 14 percent in June, the lowest since the Gallup organization started taking polls. Polls in August showed a slight increase to 18 percent.
The Gallup News Service reported on Sept. 21, "Americans remain deeply dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed today, fueled in large part by the negative sentiments of Democrats and Independents. The current level of satisfaction is the lowest it has been this decade, and is as low as at any other point at which the question was asked since September 1973.
"There is no indication that Democrats have become more pleased with governance as a result of their takeover of Congress after last November's election."
Gallup continues: "There is a deep divide in the response to this governance question by partisanship. While more than six out of 10 Republicans (63 percent) say they are satisfied with the way the nation is being governed, only 18 percent of Independents and Democrats agree. While this partisan rift as been evident in each poll conducted since 2001, it has become more exaggerated in recent years.
"For example, there was a gap of 29 percentage points between the satisfaction level of Republicans and Democrats in September 2001, compared to a 45-point gap today. One might have expected that Democrats' satisfaction with the way things are being governed in the nation would have improved this year, given that Democrats took control of the House and Senate at the beginning of 2007. But this did not occur — Democrats are as negative now as they have been in the past two years."
And therein lies the tale!
The Democrats' low opinion of themselves is a result of their own negative intellectual and political policies.
While they were expending their energies in a hate-George-Bush campaign over the previous two years, they were energizing Republican resistance with their hate rhetoric.
This may explain the 45-point gap today in the satisfaction level between Republicans and Democrats.
In actuality, the Democrats had no campaign platform. They advanced no causes or issues of any consequence during the campaign. This is the stuff that makes up platforms.
Therefore, in January 2007, when the 110th Congress was organized, the Democrats discovered they had nothing on their plate.
It could be argued that their hate Bush campaign was largely responsible for the massive defeat of Republicans in the last election.
It could be argued as well that hate itself has a debilitating effect on the intellect. Enthusiasm for the Democrat victory was therefore diminished, depriving the victors of the expected euphoria at winning control of both houses of Congress. This has led to the Democrats' low opinion of their ability to govern the United States.
The first female Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., heralded the "First 100 Days" of reform legislation. The momentum generated by the publicity surrounding the First 100 Days sputtered out. In its place were scores of oversight hearings.
WashingtonPost.com reported early on that the 110th Congress has made it "clear that revelation, not legislation, is going to be its real product. Within a matter of weeks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer held a news conference to celebrate the fact that the House already had conducted more than 100 oversight hearings on executive agencies."
As reported in the New York Times on Aug. 26, in the first eight months the House has held 605 oversight hearings while the Senate has held 308.
The House has passed only 90 substantive measures and 363 symbolic. The Senate has passed only 32 substantive measures and 235 symbolic.
By August recess, finger pointing on both sides reached a high with at least the blogger community rating the 110th Congress performance as an F.
President George Bush pointed out this week that Congress has not passed next year's budget which is due Oct. 1. The 2007 farm bill also goes lagging.
The very worst part of the 110th Congress' inability to act centers around two crisis issues in the United States.
Those issues are illegal immigration and energy independence.
Illegal immigration is steadily eroding our nation's culture, increasing crime rates and creating unassimilable population pockets in the nation.
Lack of a viable energy program is threatening the very survival of America's present robust economy.
With respect to these two vital issues, it is as though there is no government.
Continued non-governance of the nation will lead to one solution only — a national emergency will have to be declared by the President of the United States to address the most pressing of the issues: energy independence.
A serious threat or a substantial reduction in imported oil, now representing 75 percent of total petroleum used daily in the United States will eventually require such an action.
Prudence dictates that the President act sooner rather than later.
Ralph Hostetter, a prominent businessman and agricultural publisher, also is a national and local award-winning columnist. He welcomes email comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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