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Americans, all opinion polls say emphatically, think Congress is a partisan swamp where nothing is done.
Changes, those same polls say, must come. It’s time to throw the bums out and put in fresh blood. Even incumbent Senator John McCain admits that support for Congress is “down to paid staffers and blood relatives.”
But, like the campaign promises that spew out of the mouths of candidates for Congress, the talk is just verbal diarrhea and come election day the voters will march into the voting booth and return the vast majority goons, buffoons and loons to office.
The Associated Press is reporting today that surveys and an analysis of pre-election polls shows at least 15 of the 22 senators seeking re-election will win and 330 of the 435 House members will keep their jobs.
How? It’s the system, stupid.
Reports the AP:
When the results are counted this Tuesday, Americans will have resoundingly rehired a big majority of the House and Senate despite railing for months about an ineffective, bitterly divided Congress.
Help from the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional districts is one reason so many lawmakers will return to Washington. The first election after that politically driven process is typically a high point for those in office. But redistricting is hardly the only reason. The power of incumbency, with its name recognition and cash advantages, also is responsible.
The system protects its own and those already in office are the system. When a seat is open, the political parties work to put someone into office who will support the system, not rock the boat.
So, in an election year when — once again — the talk is all about change, don’t look for changes. Voters will re-elect the status quo even as they leave the voting booth and decry the current state of Congress and government.
Why so much hypocrisy in the voting booth?
Part of it is familiarity along with a feeling that while Congress the institution is so bad, the man or woman who represents them is not the problem.
An informal survey of 1,000 Capitol Hill Blue readers found that they think many members of Congress should be tossed out on their butts but don’t lump their representative or senator into that group. As a result, 73 percent say they will vote for the incumbent or — in cases where the seat is open — the candidate from the political party of the incumbent leaving office.
Most members of Congress put pork barrel for their state or district ahead of national interests and work to keep their constituents back home fat and happy off government money.
Heavy use of pork barrel cuts across party lines and philosophical beliefs. Even those who decry government spending look the other way when it comes to loading up their districts with federal lard.
And, in the end, that’s the only results that voters back home seem to care about too.