By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Less than a third of registered voters are inclined to reelect their representatives in Congress--the lowest level since the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress--according to a new ABC News-Washington Post poll. In the old days, most voters couldn’t stand Congress as a whole, but they loved their particular representative. Well, as Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau would say, “Not any more.” (Actual quote at starts 3:10 but you really should watch the whole thing.)
It doesn’t take Inspector Clouseau to figure out why voters are ready to throw the bums out: it’s anti-establishment anger. Today’s Washington Post reports that Republicans are “well within striking distance” of winning President Obama’s old Senate seat in Illinois, along with Vice President Biden’s former seat in Delaware, and Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid’s in Nevada. “I call them the trophy seats,” Sen. John Cornyn, who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told the Post. If you add Scott Brown’s election to Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, writes Karen Tumulty, “Democrats aren't safe anywhere anymore.
The Republicans who are in the most trouble lately--like Charlie Crist in the Florida Senate race, who today will likely announce he’s running as an independent, and Kay Bailey Hutchison who lost the GOP primary in the Texas governor’s race--are under fire for being too closely tied to the establishment. Today’s Politico warns of a coming “insider purge,” and quotes former National Republican Congressional Committee chair Tom Cole of Oklahoma: “This is a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of business as usual and a repudiation of politicians who ignore their own party.”
It’s a repudiation of the political establishment. That’s because most Americans are disappointed with the job “the establishment” is doing--whether we’re talking about the media, Wall Street, the Catholic Church, Congress, big car companies, you name it. And those Americans don’t feel like anyone’s listening to them. Here’s a gem buried in the ABC poll results: “In another vulnerability for the president, Americans by 56-40 percent said they preferred smaller government with fewer services--almost exactly the average the past 26 years--but by a vast 77-15 percent thought Obama prefers the opposite, larger government with more services,” reports the poll.
No wonder there’s such a disconnect in politics, especially with Democratic leadership and incumbents who have gone along with all the business-as-usual that people are so fed up with. Voters want smaller government and fewer services, and the Democratic establishment wants exactly the opposite. It’s pretty clear what’s going to happen this fall. As Inspector Clouseau would say, “Does your dog bite?”