According to a new Rasmussen Survey a mere 9 percent of likely U.S. Voters think it would be better for the country if most of the incumbents were reelected this fall. 72 percent think it would be better for the country if most in Congress were not reelected while 19 percent didn’t care enough to have an opinion.
With so many Congressional representatives not seeking office this fall, this survey number comes as no real surprise. With the tally now just over 50 Senators and House Representatives having announced plans to not seek reelection, not only has the American public lost faith in our elected officials, it would seem many of them are also frustrated with their current status.
It wasn’t long ago that a professional respect existed for the members of the house and senate. They understood how to work together to accomplish things both for the good of the country, for their constituents and for their party. Now it appears things have deteriorated so badly that the country would rather wipe the slate clean and start over then to go through another election cycle of this constant bickering with little accomplished.
These survey results stood in sharp contrast this week to a reflective overview of last weekends gathering at the George H.W. Bush presidential Library in College Station, Texas to mark the 25 years since he took office as our 41st President.
George H. W. Bush is rarely given credit for his accomplishments. Despite serving with a Congress firmly under the control of the opposing party, together they passed several landmark pieces of legislation. A Clean Air Act that did what it was designed to do. Americans With Disabilities Act that has made significant changes to our landscape and opened new opportunities to those so impaired. He was also responsible for passing a Civil Rights Act that he was forced to veto in order to get it right before signing into law.
Governing doesn’t mean you get everything your way or you won’t play. During 41’s time the President reached out to Congress and together they managed to get things done that made a difference for the American public. They were able to share the successes and failures.
The 1990 Budget Deal…you know the one made famous by the President’s one liner about reading his lips regarding no new taxes. President Bush clearly understood going against that vow would be costly for him personally but doing so laid the groundwork for the prosperity of the 1990s and he firmly believed it was in the best interest for the country. Proving that politicians can look beyond their own selfish interests, which is exactly what we expect, to put us first not themselves.
Comparing the first President Bush to some of our elected officials today gives us a renewed appreciation for how he conducted himself and how he understood his role as leader of the nation and the world. The whole “Kinder Gentler” thing would sure do a lot for the nation today. Setting a new tone in Washington and creating a better way of doing things in the halls of government is exactly what the American voting public is crying for in the recent Rasmussen survey.
A new Congress could accomplish much by taking a few lessons from 41. By elevating each other and thinking better of those serving the nation, President Bush demonstrated a sense of duty above self, a sense of fairness and humility. Even today he continues to demonstrate a giving personality and the joy he finds in the friendship with his successor Bill Clinton. No matter which side of the isle you rest your political convictions it’s heartwarming to see the two of them together, working on a project or just sharing their friendship.
America deserves leaders who can resolve problems and put the country first and foremost. Here’s hoping leaders like President Bush and President Clinton can show the way to resolve the issues facing the country to the entirely new 114th Congress when they are seated in 2015.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.