From last month’s Harper’s Index:
Percentage of Americans who said in November that the Valerie Plame leak scandal was of â€œgreat importanceâ€: 51
Percentage who said, two months before President Nixon resigned, that Watergate was â€œvery seriousâ€: 49
Years since a White House official as senior as I. Lewis Libby had been indicted while in office: 130
Percentage approval rating of Bill Clinton the day after impeachment and George W. Bush in November, respectively: 73, 37
Percentage of Russians today who approve of the direction their country took under Stalin: 37
The Bush Administration is in serious trouble, or it would be if anyone were listening to those it represents. Even some Republicans are dissatisfied with the Administration’s conduct. Yet as Media Matters for America, among others, continues to document day in and day out, the press doesn’t seem to be interested in the now all but undeniable view that the current Administration is the least well regarded since the Civil War, and perhaps ever. I really don’t think the press can be called any sort of check on power with a straight face (though folks certainly seem to be willing to go around and around on whether or not the press has a liberal bias), and not only is Congress not leading, but they don’t even seem to be following the sentiments of those they represent.
How is this possible? This isn’t how things are supposed to work in a republic. Have we just become too affluent and comfortable to care? Have the politicians realized that they don’t have to follow polls, that opinions expressed, no matter how divergent from their own, will never translate into action?