By Adam Bitely — Can anyone remember a time when Congress had a decent approval rating? Didn’t think so.
Every couple of election cycles or so, a wave of frustration at Congress sweeps the nation and voters change the partisan makeup of the House and Senate. Within a relatively short time, the electorate becomes frustrated again with the “partisan grid-lock” in Washington and sends the other party to power.
This seems like a never-ending cycle. You can almost set your watch to this changing of the guard that happens so routinely in D.C.
But what surprises me most about these changes of political power is the politicians that sweep the washed up politicians out of office and the grand promises they make.
Just think back a year ago at this time. The Tea Party Movement seemed like it was going to take D.C. by storm and reform Congress forever. At least that was how the media portrayed it. And the candidates on the trail did nothing to dial back these expectations should they be elected.
Yet here we are after the supposed tidal wave that hit Congress last November that would forever transform the way politicians do business in Washington. Guess what happened? Nothing really changed other than the nameplates on the doors.
Out-of-control spending continues. Obamacare remains the law of the land. And budgets continue to grow.
Oh, and guess how many of the freshmen “tea partiers” joined the Tea Party Caucus in Congress? Just 15 of the 80 House Republican freshman have publicly allied themselves with the only tea party group in Congress!
It’s safe to say that it’s business as usual in Washington, D.C.
Political theater is at an all time high in Washington. Conservatives try to act like conservatives for their political bases while voting for legislation that increases the size of government or maintains the status quo. Where is the outrage from the grassroots over the failure of this new Congress to put forth serious attempts to rein in the Obama administration?
Last February 92 House Republicans actually voted against proposed spending cuts that would keep with their pledge (almost, but not quite) to cut government spending by $100 billion. Then, almost like clockwork, the government almost shutdown over the relatively miniscule cuts that the House Republicans had actually passed. Even these unnoticeable cuts eventually faded away as House Republicans compromised with Obama and Reid on a plan in April that would reduce the spending for the fiscal year by only $352 million.
How’s that for new leadership on stopping the out of control spending?
Politicians promising change are a dime a dozen. Running a political campaign on change is running a campaign on empty rhetoric if the change isn’t change at all.
Thus, it’s no surprise that the electorate almost always holds Congress in ill regard as nothing has really changed with the way business is conducted there. And it is no surprise that the new members of Congress that were going to reform Washington forever have found it quite comfortable to act just like all of the people that have occupied their Capitol Hill offices before them.