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The Paradox…It Burns

The above poster has nothing to do with this post.  However, now that I have your attention…

I just posted about the obstructionism of the GOP and how the Dems should start fighting.  It appears that perhaps their quiet approach has had its accomplishments.  Norman Ornstein, writing in the Washington Post notes:

A Very Productive Congress, Despite What the Approval Ratings Say

When President Obama urged lawmakers during his State of the Union speech to work with him on “restoring the public trust,” he was hardly going out on a limb. The Congress he was addressing is one of the least popular in decades. Barely a quarter of Americans approve of the job it’s doing, according to the latest Gallup/USA Today poll, while 58 percent said it was below average or one of the worst ever, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey last month.

And I won’t get into why I think this dismal approval rating is what it is, here is the interesting thing:

There seems to be little to endear citizens to their legislature or to the president trying to influence it. It’s too bad, because even with the wrench thrown in by Republican Scott Brown’s election in Massachusetts, this Democratic Congress is on a path to become one of the most productive since the Great Society 89th Congress in 1965-66, and Obama already has the most legislative success of any modern president — and that includes Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson. The deep dysfunction of our politics may have produced public disdain, but it has also delivered record accomplishment.

The piece goes on to recount some of the legislation that has been  passed and the challenges that went with them.  I should note, too, that Norman Ornstein is with the right wing think tank The American Enterprise Institute.  I got to get a sense of him as he was a frequent guest on Al Franken’s Air America show.  You can read the piece to get a sense of what has been accomplished and keep it in perspective as you hear the rhetoric against this administration.  Mr. Ornstein points out also:

Most of this has been accomplished without any support from Republicans in either the House or the Senate — an especially striking fact, since many of the initiatives of the New Deal and the Great Society, including Social Security and Medicare, attracted significant backing from the minority Republicans.

The GOP, try as they might to be an anchor dragging this administration, has had no positive input into any of the successful passages of legislation.  And finally, Mr. Ornstein notes:

If the midterm elections in November turn out to be more like 1994, when Democrats got hammered, than 1982, when Republicans suffered a less costly blow, the GOP will probably be emboldened to double down on its opposition to everything, trying to bring the Obama presidency to its knees on the way to 2012. That would mean real gridlock in the face of a serious crisis. Given the precarious coalitions in our otherwise dysfunctional politics, we could go quickly from one of the most productive Congresses in our lifetimes to the most obstructionist.

And voters would probably like that even less.

The Dems.  Not the greatest.  But by far doing more for the country than the Republicans ever will.

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