The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 14, 2013

Increasing numbers of Americans are catching on to Congress

A new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll says 60 percent of Americans would like to fire everyone in Congress.

When I read this, my thought was: Wha'’s wrong with the other 40 percent?

It turns out, however, that the 60 percent figure may represent a watershed of sorts. Never before have pollsters recorded such a high level of discontent with Congress.

Significantly, these same surveys are indicating increasing numbers of Americans also are fed up with their own representatives.

For years now, general disgust with Congress has been commonplace. But for some odd reason, citizens have been reluctant to blame their local lawmakers for the mess.

That appears to be changing. And the gang in Washington is getting the message.

The source of all of this, of course, is the government shutdown, prompted by Congress' inability to reach a basic agreement on federal spending. Considering this is the most fundamental aspect of a lawmaker's job, it’s a pretty disgraceful outcome.

When the shutdown began, the Beltway crowd was busy pointing fingers at folks in the opposing party, trying to pin blame. Fortunately, the polls indicate the public wasn’t buying that nonsense.

So now we are treated to politicians seeking to sound serious and concerned, bemoaning the divisions in Washington and the need for negotiations and resolution.

Citizens aren't swallowing that either, because they're on to these scams. If the politicians really wanted to resolve their differences amicably and responsibly, they would have done it.

Instead, most people can plainly see that Washington has deteriorated into a morass of ideological drivel, where the national good is replaced with partisan pandering and lip service to special interests.

Voters can't escape complete responsibility for all of this, because the electoral process — particularly at the party level — has been taken over by extremists on both sides. The center in America no longer holds.

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