Voter dissatisfaction with the United States Congress was already dropping like a rock prior to the revelation that Rep. Bob Filner (D-California) had been charged with assault and battery for allegedly shoving a female airline attendant when his luggage didn't come out fast enough.
Of course it's probably a good thing Filner's bag was merely delayed (and not lost) or else we could have had the makings of another Rambo or Die Hard film on our hands.
Sadly, Filner's fury is only the latest manifestation of a growing Congressional contempt for the citizens it represents. And while it may not be as egregious an example as the $90,000 in cash federal agents found last year in the freezer of recently-indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D-Louisiana) or the far-reaching abuses unearthed during the Abramoff lobbying scandal, it is nonetheless symbolic of the same "do as I say, not as I do" mentality that has Congressional approval ratings at an all-time low.
Thankfully, however, there appears to be a limit to the arrogance and contempt a system can dish out to its subjects before it begins receive a little bit of the same in return.
Which is precisely what we're seeing now, as the summer months have brought with them a fresh batch of political scandals – most notably the saga of powerful Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), whose home was raided in July as part of an FBI investigation into yet another bribery scam.
According to the results of a Gallup poll conducted from August 16-19, only 18% of Americans currently approve of the job Congress is doing – the lowest rating since Gallup began tracking Congressional approval in 1974 during the Watergate scandal.
Even President Bush's anemic job approval rating – which now sits at 32% – looks positively robust compared to Congress' abysmal support among the public.
Simply put, Americans do not trust their government anymore. Leaders of both parties have lost the confidence of those they were elected to serve, having repeatedly sacrificed their ethics and the best interests of the taxpayers for personal gain and the expansion of their own political power.
Cash in the freezer. FBI raids. Shoving airline attendants. Honestly, who are we dealing with here? The Mafia or a democratically-elected government?
William Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government. He has spent his career working in political strategy and public affairs for various causes and organizations.
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