Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Don't Give Up

The good people at Media Matters for America and elsewhere have, to my mind anyway, thoroughly made the case that our corporate media has been skewed to favor the Republicans and business interests and lambaste Democrats /progressives /liberals in the process (I’m not going to bother to rehash this aside from stating it because it’s patently obvious; the work of Jamison Foser at Media Matters, among other people, have nailed this).

I had this in the back of my mind as I read this Bloomberg News article about comments by pollster John Zogby of Zogby International, who at one time was providing compelling data showing a growing number of Americans supporting the impeachment of Bush. Now, however, Zobgy apparently doesn’t want to touch that topic with the proverbial ten foot pole.

The headline, of course, is a jab at the Democrats even though they are not the party in power at the moment (giving the Repugs yet another pass for their gross mismanagement of our government to favor their corporate friends, part of which is the worst fiscal “stewardship” this country has ever seen). In the article, though, is this information (a variation of which I’ve heard many, many times before).

Forty-nine percent of respondents gave their own representative in Congress a positive job rating. In districts represented by Republicans, 53 percent gave them a positive rating and 42 percent a negative rating. In districts Democrats represent, 51 percent gave their incumbents a positive rating and 48 percent gave a negative rating.

Just 21 percent gave Congress in general a positive job approval rating.
The good news?

Forty-three percent said the nation would be better off if Democrats win control of Congress, 25 percent said it would be worse off and 25 percent said it would make no difference.
Assuming these numbers are reliable, I’d like to point out that it makes no sense that only 21 percent of those polled approve of Congress, but over half of registered Republicans (53 percent) and Democrats (51 percent) approve of the performance of their elected officials.

I’m inclined to beat up on Zogby for numbers that apparently are nonsense, but I won’t. And here’s why.

How many times have you spoken with someone about politics on either the local or national level and the general consensus is, “Oh, they’re lousy,” or “they stink,” but then you ask this person about their elected official, and that person says, “Well, I guess he or she is OK”?

I don’t know about you, but I talk to A LOT of people who feel that way, and that would explain the Zogby numbers (especially that ridiculous "25 percent don't care" number). The problem, though, is that these people frequently don’t know what they’re talking about. Their “arguments” are tissue paper that can’t stand up in the face of a stiff wind. And I used to call them on this, but I got tired of their sarcasm and derision in response, so I decided to save my energy for the higher-stakes battles that could really change things.

THIS is the biggest political problem facing our country. It’s not the Repugs and their ongoing attempt to turn this country into a corporate playpen (bad as that is). It’s not chicken Dems like Joe Lieberman or people like Ben Nelson who should just make it official and become Republicans.

It’s the fact that the vast majority of the people in this country don’t think this stuff is important (Bill Maher, among other people, understands this when he rightly keeps telling Democrats not to court these so-called “values voters” who will never vote Democratic anyway and “fish in another pond” instead, though I believe Dr. Dean grasps this very well).

What to do? Persevere. Persuade. Cajole. All that stuff. You never know.

But when you come across someone making a totally brainless statement in support of the Republican Party, someone who has NO INTEREST in a discussion or dialogue, just walk away and save your energy for another day.

It may take longer for things to turn our way than we’d like, but the nature of events, beliefs and attitudes are moving inexorably in a favorable direction. And helping that along is more beneficial than engaging in a shouting match with people whose numbers, whether they know it or not, are shrinking anyway.

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