Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Congress, Democrats, Bush, Iraq
- Growing frustration with the performance of the Democratic Congress, combined with widespread public pessimism over President Bush's temporary troop buildup in Iraq, has left satisfaction with the overall direction of the country at its lowest point in more than a decade, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
- Almost six in 10 Americans said they do not think the additional troops sent to Iraq since the beginning of the year will help restore civil order there, and 53 percent -- a new high in Post-ABC News polls -- said they do not believe that the war has contributed to the long-term security of the United States.
- Disapproval of Bush's performance in office remains high, but the poll highlighted growing disapproval of the new Democratic majority in Congress. Just 39 percent said they approve of the job Congress is doing, down from 44 percent in April, when the new Congress was about 100 days into its term. More significant, approval of congressional Democrats dropped 10 percentage points over that same period, from 54 percent to 44 percent.
- Much of that drop was fueled by lower approval ratings of the Democrats in Congress among strong opponents of the war, independents and liberal Democrats. While independents were evenly split on the Democrats in Congress in April (49 percent approved, 48 percent disapproved), now 37 percent said they approved and 54 percent disapproved. Among liberal Democrats, approval of congressional Democrats dropped 18 points.
- Bush's overall job-approval rating stands at 35 percent, unchanged from April.
- Many Democratic activists have complained that the 2006 midterm election results represented a call for a course change in Iraq and that so far the Democratic-controlled Congress has failed to deliver.
Among the nearly three-quarters of Americans expressing a pessimistic viewpoint, about one in five blamed the war for their negative outlook, and about the same ratio mentioned the economy, gas prices, jobs or debt as the main reason for their dissatisfaction with the country's direction. Eleven percent cited "problems with Bush," and another 11 percent said "everything" led them to their negative opinion.
The Congressman Who kept $90,000 in his home freezer
Democratic Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana has been indicted on bribery charges. From what is known, he followed the path of some Republican lawmakers who are now paying for their venality. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are reported to be "strongly" supportive of Rep. Jefferson.
- If convicted on all counts, Jefferson could face more than 200 years in prison, but under federal sentencing guidelines the term would probably be much less. The 94-page indictment details 11 alleged bribery and fraud schemes involving his business interests in at least seven West African countries, including telecommunications deals in Nigeria and Ghana, oil concessions in Equatorial Guinea, waste-recycling systems in Nigeria and the Nigerian sugar plant for which he sought Export-Import Bank financing.