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Archive for August 25th, 2008

Want a better Congress? Develop measures of competence

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As entertaining a diversion from the demise of the American dream the presidential contest between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain has become, what with thousands of mass media hairpieces focused intently on their every vague utterance, let’s keep in sight this equally entertaining sideshow: A third of the seats in the U.S. Senate and all of the seats in the House of Representatives are available for the public’s inspection, validation or rejection in November.

The percentage of respondents in national polls who believe Congress is doing a good job is buried in the teens, even lower than approval ratings for President Bush, now trending in the mid- to high-20s. The re-election rate for House members in 2006 was 94 percent (down from 98 percent in ’04); the rate for senators was 79 percent in 2006 (down from 96 percent in ’04), according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Incumbency rules. Many voters might argue that collectively, members of Congress are greedheads mired in the trappings of power wrapped tightly around them by corporate lobbyists paid millions of dollars to either extract largesse from the Hill or prevent lawmaking or regulatory rule-writing that would be bad for business. But
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

August 25, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized