The Occupy Wall Street protests highlight what everyone suspected and the polls reflected; that there is a lot of public resentment towards our current climate on Capital Hill and its apparent collusion with corporate America. With polls showing record lows for congressional approval (around 12%) some of the resounding complaints have been ‘Throw them all out!’ referring to both Democrats and Republicans. A congressional enema, if you will. There are a couple of problems with this strategy.
First, it presumes that all politicians of any stripe are so corrupt and owned by a system that is so broken to be beyond redemption. It presumes that politicians make decisions not based on the best interests of the populace but rather on how much corporate campaign money they can get to keep their jobs and presumably comfortable lifestyles. While there are certainly people with that motivation in office, it’s hard to imagine that all of them operate under such motives. Many politicians run for office with truly altruistic goals in mind. All politicians do; however, have to operate within the system that is currently in place. Regardless of what objections one has with that system; Citizens United for example, dumping every single member of the House of Representatives , the Senate and the Executive branch is unlikely to change any of that.
Secondly, such a strategy presumes there are likely candidates to replace everyone. Running for political office is a time consuming process and we have a year before the 2012 elections. Even if there were a lot of candidates willing to undertake such an endeavour, one year is not a lot of time to campaign nor is it a lot of time for the public to vet unknown or little known candidates. Getting rid of the entire congress is not realistically feasible under these circumstances.
Fianlly, and most importantly, it assumes that the entire congress and Obama administration has failed the nation. This is a perception that a particular party would like for the public to have. Whether it’s actually true or not is beside the point; it’s working. The Obama administration has actually accomplished quite a lot. Granted he has been unable to deliver on several of his campaign promises and much of what he has accomplished has been triage under difficult circumstances. (details of these accomplishments are numerous and have been detailed elsewhere on this blog and on other websites on the Internet) But when you think about it, one half of the congress has been AWOL since 2010 and achieving anything requires their participation.
So while the public’s dissatisfaction with the economy and the political system is genuine and needs to be addressed, the anger towards the entirety of congress is misplaced. There is only one real set of bums on Capitol Hill that needs to be tossed. Republicans have repeatedly shown that they will not cooperate with the Obama administration with the sole purpose to create the perception of an ineffective presidency. They have repeatedly rejected legislation that would cause their corporate cronies to pay equitable share of taxes. They have repeatedly refused pass legislation that would benefit all Americans unless they got considerations for the wealthy and corporations. They are currently changing laws and regulations at the state level to do away with unions and make it more difficult for minorities and younger people to vote (these are typically Democratic demographs).
How much more damage will it take before Americans recognize that it is one party; the Republican Party, that is undermining the government that this nation has had for over 200 years and forking over control to the industrial complex that has only one interest in mind; profit margins?
It’s a brilliant strategy really. Republicans don’t have to win, they just have to wait for Democrats to lose.