Why we hate Congress

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

(Editor’s note: With today’s entry, this blog will now appear daily. There’s just too much going on in our industry right now for me to sit back and weigh in once or twice a week. Now whether’s that’s good news or bad is an entirely different issue.)

I know it’s not just me – at least not this time. Most of us hate Congress – typically much more than we hate the president – unless you’re a rodeo clown from my home state, of course. According to the latest poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, a staggering 83 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Congress does (or doesn’t do) its job. Who says we can’t agree on anything?

But my favorite part of the poll? An all-time high six out of 10 voters said they "would vote to defeat and replace every single member of Congress” if such an item were actually on the ballot.

But why do we hate them so much? I have a few theories. The following list is by no means definitive, just a few things that spring to mind. Please add your own additions to my list in the comments section.

 

Members of Congress walk down the steps of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill as they leave for a five-week recess. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

All that recess.

For starters, both chambers of Congress aren’t in session at the same time much more than half the calendar year, which makes for a pretty light workload. Add to that the lack of people actually showing up to work – oh, and that European vacation in August – and it makes it pretty hard for the average hard-working American to relate. Which brings me to…

The U.S. Depository in Ft. Knox, KY. is opened for inspection for members of Congress. (AP Photo/Barry Thumma, FILE)

They’re loaded.

According to some number crunching from the nonpartisan, nonoprofit Center for Repsonsive Politics, the 113th Congress is the richest on record – largely because of the latest batch of freshman – with the median net worth sitting at $1,066,515. Or almost exactly $1 million more than the average voter.

Additionally, more than half are worth at least a cool mil each, according to the study. Hardly representative of the people, huh? Speaking of which...

From left, Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y.; Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.; and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., talk on the steps of the House of Representatives on Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Obamacare exemption

Did I mention Congress and its staff – not mention the union representing thousands of federal employees – are exempt from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? So what’s good enough for us isn’t nearly good enough for them. ’Nuff said.

And we know about this because...

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., center, flanked by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., left, and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Because we see it all. In real time.

We live in a world, where every vote, quote and foible is spread worldwide in seconds. Before 24-hour news cycles, social media and satellites, freshmen members of Congress enjoyed more slack – both professionally and personally – than they do today. 

If you screw up your first day on the job – whether its a questionable selfie on Twitter or an innocent misstatement to a hometown television reporter – its headline news.

But if you make every House vote or Senate subcommittee hearing, represent your constituents faithfully and stay off the Sunday morning talk shows, your reward (if you’re lucky) is crickets.

And despite all of this...

Members of Congress arrive at the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, for the last vote before leaving for a five-week recess. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

We keep electing them. 

Talk about the devil you know. The success rate of incumbents running for re-election is a numbing 90 percent. Which begs the question: Do we hate them because they’re so successful? 

Either way, I guess its true that we get the government we deserve.

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