Rich Galen

I thought that the best thing - maybe the only good thing - about 2013 is that it is a prime number.

It is not. There are three prime number factors of 2013: 3, 11, and 61. So, it didn't even have that.

So many people, groups, organizations, and institutions have failed this year that it is difficult to find one that is held by Americans in anything other than what Winston Churchill called "minimum high regard."

In a Gallup poll taken mid-year only three institutions - the military (76%), small business (65%), and the police (57%) - got marks higher than 50% on the question: How much confidence to you have in the following institutions?

Organized religion got a 48, "the presidency" scored 36, and Congress limped in last of the 17 choices with 10 percent.

And that was before September's strategically ill-advised and tactically ill-conducted shutdown fight by Congressional Republicans, or the ill-conceived, designed, and implemented roll-out of Obamacare by the Administration.

House Republicans need to get someone smart to help voters understand that the "Congress" at whom they are so cranky is half run by Republicans (House) and half by Democrats (Senate).

If Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) doesn't want to get down into the mud pit with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) then he should deputize someone with standing - like Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) - to take the cross-Rotunda fight to Reid.

According to the U.S. Treasury's website, the national debt at the start of the year was $16,433,000,000,000 (read that aloud as "16-point-433 trillion.") According to the national debt as of yesterday at half time of the early games was $17,266,000,000.

That, in spite of all the floor time, all the TV time, all the webpage and print space devoted to dealing with the debt, that is still a five percent increase in 2013. This is not going in the right direction.

Neither did President Barack Obama have the best of years.

According to Gallup's never-ending tracking survey of Presidential performance, this week one year ago Obama approve/disapprove was 56-39. As of yesterday it was 44-49. And, that's a major improvement from a low of 39-54 in mid-November.

A great deal of comment has been made about how hard it is for second term Presidents to recover their polling numbers once they sink into the low forty's or worse. Looks easy to me: Have the President spend more time in Hawaii.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at