• http://www.scienceaddiction.com Devan

    The text of your blog post is correct, but the title is not. This poll isn’t an ‘approval rating’ poll.

    from Lessig: Thanks, Devan.

  • Marcus

    Could this have anything to do with that FISA vote last week?

  • Bribes

    This headline comes courtesy of Matt Drudge. That should trigger an alarm bell. Looking a little closer, and you see that the alarm bell is justified:

    “Rasmussen didn’t ask respondents whether they approved or disapproved of Congress; it asked respondents to rank Congress’ job performance as excellent, good, fair or poor. Just 2 percent rated the performance as excellent, and 7 percent rated it as good. Add those up, and you get 9 percent. But 36 percent of Rasmussen’s respondents said they consider Congress’ job performance to be fair. Is that approval or disapproval?”

    . . .

    “Pew’s Michael Dimock said asking respondents — as Rasmussen did — to say whether Congress is doing an excellent job or a good job amounts to setting a higher bar. ‘You have to actively think they are doing a good job, and not many people ever have that view of Congress,’ Dimock said. “

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0708/11617.html

  • Joe Buck

    This message took a lot of chutzpah on your part after your recent posting complaining of “hysteria” on the part of those that criticized Obama for backing capitulation to George Bush. Democrats approve of Congress less than Republicans do, and the reason has nothing to do with earmarks. It has to do with abdicating responsibility as a co-equal branch of government and allowing the creation of a presidential dictatorship. When the public expects Congress to provide a check on George Bush, and it does not, approval falls.

    And you have a plan to reduce the power of Congress even further, transferring all budgetary decisions to the executive branch. After all, what’s an earmark other than Congress, rather than the President, deciding to dedicate money to specific projects? The problem isn’t earmarks themselves, but lack of transparency and accountability in the way earmarks are allocated. If Congress gives up earmarks altogether, the executive branch will reward and punish specific senators and representatives by providing and withholding spending in their districts.

  • http://pterandon.blogspot.com Greg M. Johnson

    #declare lessig=ON;
    Let’s not get in to hysterical talk, now. People just need to be lectured on why things like the FISA vote are done in our best interest, there’s no need to change which leaders we follow.

    #declare lessig=OFF;

  • Sina Kay

    It’s a bit silly to suggest that these low polling numbers reflect concerns over FISA. There is undoubtedly a small but mobilized group of people who are unhappy with FISA. I empathize with those concerns. Unfortunately for us, much of the country currently does not care about FISA. That is a position in which we are currently a minority.
    People are understandably worried about the economy. Thousands of jobs were cut last month. There is a recession, getting worse by the week, coupled with inflationary pressures (especially increasing gas prices). People worry about an increasing cost of living that isn’t complemented by a corresponding increase in pay. At the same time, there are revelations about congressperson after congressperson getting unusually good deals on loans from banks. There are stories, propelled by McCain and Obama, about millions in earmarks here, billions there.
    These earmarks are hardly a meaningful check on executive power — Congress has much more sophisticated, ethical and agreeable means to compete with the executive. Placing more highways in W.VA or subsidizing hog farmers in North Carolina says less about executive power than it does about the ability of congresspeople to procure federal money to satisfy local interest groups.
    This narrative, unlike the FISA and executive power narrative, describes the other important polling number in the Rasmussen Reports: 72% of people think Congresspeople are just interested in furthering their own career. Or, for example, this number: only 12% of Americans think Congress has passed any legislation to improve life in the country over the past six months.

  • http://www.peerflow.net jsq

    Three quarters of the American people and even a majority of Republicans oppose Bush’s warrantless wiretaps:

    http://www.democrats.com/wiretap-poll-1

    Two thirds oppose warrantless wiretaps even for communications between U.S. citizens and overseas persons, and almost 2/3 oppose immunity for telcos:

    http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/32189leg20071016.html

    Sina Kay may think these numbers indicate a minority, but I don’t.

    Instead of standing up to Bush as the Constitution requires, Congress capitulated
    and gave the worst president in history still more powers to spy on the people.
    And the people do know about it:
    “Congress rolled over on FISA” –LA Times
    “Democrats voted for FISA out of fear” –Chicago Tribune
    “Obama gives telecoms a pass” –Hartford Courant
    “Senate approves bill to broaden wiretap powers” –NY Times
    “Senate vote backs Bush on wiretaps” –Salt Lake Tribune
    “Senate vote gives Bush what he wants on surveillance bill” –Seattle Times

    News.google.com finds 960 others much like those.

    Is the FISA bill the only reason Congress’s numbers tanked? Nope, but I don’t
    think it’s coincidence that they dropped immediately after the Senate passed that bill.

    Why isn’t Larry Lessig working to convince Obama he was wrong and getting him to fix it,
    instead of trying to put lipstick on that pig of a bill?

  • http://bertrandrussell.blogspot.com PG

    Could we remember, when speaking of the FISA bill, that it is specifically civil immunity that the telecoms effectively received? Lessig keeps comparing the telecoms’ immunity to the soldiers’ being prosecuted and imprisoned, but so far as I know, nothing in the bill precludes a federal prosecutor from going after the telecoms if she believes she can make a case for their having violated the law. To win, she would need to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas a civil suit jury would only need to see a preponderance of evidence against the telecoms on non-criminal claims. But the same was true for the convicted soldiers.

  • http://gollyg.blogspot.com Dr Zen

    People disapprove because they think they are weak-kneed, bought and paid for liars who pander to some very bad men.

    Here’s a post defending that kind of behaviour: http://lessig.org/blog/2008/07/the_immunity_hysteria.html

    Ho hum.

  • http://www.yogamadora.com Yôga

    This message took a lot of chutzpah on your part after your recent posting complaining of “hysteria” on the part of those that criticized Obama for backing capitulation to George Bush. Democrats approve of Congress less than Republicans do, and the reason has nothing to do with earmarks. It has to do with abdicating responsibility as a co-equal branch of government and allowing the creation of a presidential dictatorship. When the public expects Congress to provide a check on George Bush, and it does not, approval falls.

    This narrative, unlike the FISA and executive power narrative, describes the other important polling number in the Rasmussen Reports: 72% of people think Congresspeople are just interested in furthering their own career. Or, for example, this number: only 12% of Americans think Congress has passed any legislation to improve life in the country over the past six months.

  • http://catdancer.ws/ Cat Dancer

    I wonder if there’s a correlation between gerrymandering and low approval ratings? In the absence of high turnover, at least.

  • jess

    I keep on hearing how bad the economy is doing, it’s making me depressed. Then I do a reality check and I look at myself. Hmmm, damn I’m doing pretty good, I would love to earn more but then who doesn’t? I drive a nice car, it gets great gas mileage, I own a nice house (not a mansion like Obama’s) but it’s nice. I have good on the table when ever I want it. I come from a family of 9, none of my siblings are standing in line at the soup line. They all are working, some as teachers, others as mechanics, and still others serving in the military. I sell insurance, and did my 21 years in the military. I think the media is trying it’s best to make you feel like your suffering as bad as they suffered in the Great Depression. Certainly Obama keeps on saying the economies hasn’t been this bad since the Great Depression. I can see he did experience the Carter years, remember those? Long long gas lines, and then when you finally got to the pump “sorry folks all out”, I remember my mother struggling to keep us all fed and clothed in the 70s. I remember the lines at the soup kitchen at my Catholic Church, I don’t see those lines here in Texas or in Colorado when I visit. I think obama and the major news networks are trying the practice Marx (or was it Lenin) said would work “tell them a lie long enough and eventually they’ll begin to believe it.

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