The American People Aren’t Against This Congress; They Are Against Any Congress

I’m normally sympathetic to South Dakota Politics, but their defense of President Bush’s low job approval numbers (36.5% for, 60.3% against) by comparing them to the low job approval fo Congress (35.0% for, 55.8% against) misses the mark.

SDP blogger Ken Blanchard writes:

I anxiously await Chad [of left-wing South Dakotan blog Clean Cut Kid] telling me why the bad news only counts when its bad for Republicans.

The reason: the American people are opposed to Congress as an institution, but are not so opposed to the President. Political science research (see, for instance, Congress as Pulbic Enemy or Stealth Democracy) shows that Americans are opposed to the idea of a body that is dedicated to political compromise making decisions for us. We would rather our government be in the hands of experts, or people who are able to ignore politics and get things done.

It is not surprising that the public has a low view of the Congress. But as long as abolition of Article I is not on the ballot, that really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the American people don’t think highly of Bush. And it’s pretty clear where he lost them (staying too large and too long in Iraq) and where he lost conservatives (Harriet Miers).

However, in Blanchard’s defense, Bush is not running again. He can’t. Therefore this back-and-forth about Bush is somewhat philosophical. The post-presidency has long since begun.