Running Against Congress


By Patrick Appel
A tidbit from Kristol's column today:

McCain will then assert that if you don’t like the Congress in which Senator Obama serves in the majority right now, you really should be alarmed about a President Obama rubber-stamping the deeds of a Democratic Congress next year. A President McCain, on the other hand, could check Congressional appetites as well as work across the aisle with a Democratic Congress in a bipartisan spirit where appropriate.

McCain "running against congress" gets suggested regularly. I'm skeptical it would work. Namely, I'm not sure about the reasons Americans dislike congress. It may have more to do with negative feelings about the direction of American government in general. Approval of congress is at record lows, but congressional approval is usually correlated with presidential approval ratings. Gallup:

Americans' ratings of Congress are almost always lower than their ratings of the sitting president. With Bush in a period of extremely low approval, and both houses of Congress controlled by the Democratic Party, one might expect that gap to be closer today. And, in fact, it was for a short period after the Democrats first returned to power in Congress at the start of 2007. However, that honeymoon quickly ended (about last August) and since then, Congress has lagged behind the president in approval.