David Stokes

Congressional job approval continues to tank, with now more than 70% of Americans decidedly less than enamored of the men and women who were once at least popular enough to win an election or two, or—if you’re Charlie Rangel—nineteen. People regularly use terms such as “dysfunctional,” “corrupt,” “self-serving,” “inept,” “confused,” “incompetent,” “ineffective” and “lazy” to characterize members of the House and Senate in general.

Therefore, all signs point toward a major house-cleaning this November. Some are predicting a Republican retaking of the House of Representatives and significant gains in the Senate. But it’s not just incumbent Democrats at risk—even some long-standing GOP members are running scared.

But there is one thing that needs to be noted now and remembered after the mid-term elections this fall. Americans—especially those who are on the verge of voting for authentic change—will be watching carefully, closely, and even impatiently for a new group of promise makers to actually follow through.

Last month, a contributor to the Christian Science Monitor expressed confusion that Congress is so unpopular in light of the fact that the current session has been “one of its most productive in decades.” The writer just couldn’t figure out how Americans were so disaffected when “Congress succeeded in passing sweeping reforms in the health care and financial industries.” The conclusion drawn in that piece of brilliant, yet clueless prose was that “the public has not felt the effects of any of those reforms passed by Congress yet.” Our problem, it turns out is “instant gratification.”

Yep. We’re a bunch of ungrateful babies and we’re not giving the wise and wonderful people in charge sufficient time for their really neat ideas and all the money being thrown around to actually work. Of course, the problem is that there will never be enough time or money to turn lead into gold—all governmental attempts at political alchemy notwithstanding.

Recently, Terry McAuliffe, former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and failed candidate for his party’s Virginia gubernatorial nomination last year, talked about one congressional district and race of particular importance. He went so far as to predict that if the Democrats cannot hang on to the seat in Virginia’s 11th Congressional District, “we will lose the House.”

Worth watching.

The current occupant of that pivotal seat is Democrat Gerry Connolly, former Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Prior to his election in the Obama sweep of November 2008, Republican Tom Davis had represented the district since 1995. In both 2000 and 2008, the 11th voted (barely) for George W. Bush.


David Stokes

David R. Stokes is a best-selling author, pastor, columnist, and broadcaster. His latest book is a novel: CAPITOL LIMITED: A Story about John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Based on a true story, it's about a unique moment in 1947, when Kennedy and Nixon shared