Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Poll: Voters Blame Both Parties for Congressional Gridlock

While Democrats and Republicans running for Congress have blamed the opposing party for the gridlock in Washington, a majority of voters (55 percent) said both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are equally to blame for the stalemate, according to the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll.
However, nearly double the number of voters said Republicans in Congress are more to blame (30 percent) than Democrats (14 percent). . . (click to continue). Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 1.0 percentage points. For full results and methodology, click here

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Congressional Gridlock Now A Matter of Life and Death. . .

HOUSTON (Aug. 29, 2016) – House Republicans are playing with our lives when they play political games and refuse to fund Zika virus treatment and research.
Last year, we learned the Zika virus was on its way to America. In February, the President asked Congress for $1.9 billion in emergency funding for mosquito control, treatment, and development of a vaccine. House Republicans slashed that request by almost 50%, to $1.1 billion, and then, in August, left for a month-long vacation without passing the requested legislation or approving any funds for this critical effort. Not a penny!
An important aspect of this request is that, not only are Houston and Texas as a whole going to be hard-hit by Zika, but America’s leading Zika vaccine research is happening right here in our Texas Medical Center. Medically and financially, Houston has an enormous stake in this Congressional action (and inaction).
While the political blame game plays out in the papers and on TV, there are over 90 confirmed Zika cases in Texas, 30 in Harris County, and 2 dead babies—one here in Harris County.
The fact is that House Republicans, including John Culberson, control Congress and will not allow a vote on a “clean” Zika bill, without any adding unrelated provisions addressing displays of the confederate flag, amendments to the Clean Water Act, or unpopular restrictions on Planned Parenthood.
It is crystal clear which party puts political games ahead of our health and our babies’ health.
I am running for Congress because I am tired of our do-nothing Congress.
I am tired of watching the Republican House leadership play political games while mothers and their babies suffer and die from this terrible disease.

When political gridlock in faraway Washington, DC, threatens the lives of Houstonians right here and now, it’s no laughing matter and it’s not a game. It’s a matter of our elected officials not being responsible to the people who elected them. And, now, it’s also a matter of life and death.
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AND SO IT GOES. . . (See my post: Unrelated Amendments & Riders -- Tricks of the Political Trade)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

RIGHT TRACK - WRONG TRACK: It's All About Gridlock

I heard a respected political pundit the other day expressing confusion over the fact that the latest "Right Trak - Wrong Track" poll indicating widespread belief that the country was on the wrong track, in spite of the indications that the President's approval ratings continue to rank over 50% -- which is always a milestone for any President.

"Uhmmm," I said to myself, "it make perfect sense to me. I wonder why it's not obvious to him (the pundit)."

I decided to do a little research and found a recent July 17, 2016, article reporting on this perceived conundrum. According to the report on the lates Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. . . 
"Some 73% in the new survey say things have gone off-course, with only 18% saying the nation is headed in the right direction. . . For the third straight month, 51% of voters say they approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance, his highest marks sincetaking the oath of office for a second time, in early 2013."
"Together, the two indicators mark a rare occurrence: Usually presidents and their party take the blame when Americans are unhappy. But while the nation is unified in dissatisfaction, many don’t see the party in power as its cause." July17, 2016 WSJ
The latest Bloomberg Politics Poll conducted by Selzer & Company, Aug. 5-8, 2016, indicates 68% wrong trak; 25% right direction; 7% unsure. During the first half of August, President Obama's approval rating has averaged 53.5% according to 4 separate polls.

I'm a political wonk so I watch and read a lot about the current Presidential campaign. I hear Donald Trump and his Republican surrogates constantly emphasizing the fact that nearly three-fourths of American's think the contry is on the wrong track. Thus, they imply -- it is obvious the people want a change in leadership at the top. When they're promoting their party or Presidential nominee, they rarely point out President Obama's high approval ratings. 

But wait a minute, why are people so dissatisfied with the direction of the country if the President's approval ratings are so high? Well, you have to look at couple of other poll numbers.

How about this one -- 14% approve of the job Congress is doing; 78% disapprove; and 9% are unsure. Monmouth U. RV poll 8/4/16. The highest figure this year for Congressional approval was 19%. Further, Democrats in Congress garnered a modest 37% approval while Republicans saw only a 20% approval.

It seems clear to me that people are not upset with the direction of the country because of President Obama – why would his approval rating be over 50%?. It doesn't even seem to be a highly partisan dissatisfaction – 37% approval is only moderately better than 20%, and not really anything to be terribly proud of. What’s so revealing is the combined Democrat-Republican rating of 14%.

You should be hearing bells and whistles about now. It’s not the leadership at the top that has the country so upset – it’s because of the complete and utter inaction and dysfunction in the U.S. Congress – it’s called Congressional gridlock and it is the root of the publics’ belief that the country is headed in the wrong direction (and that's what this blog is all about).

Timely related article in Real Clear Politics: "Will Right-Track/Wrong-Direction Numbers Help Trump?", By David Byler, August 18, 2016. Also, check out the revealing comments.