A new Public Policy Polling survey revealed Thursday that Sen. John McCain is the least popular senator in the country, with an approval rating of only 30 percent among Arizona voters.
McCain scored low with both Republicans and Democrats.
Some 44 percent of Arizona voters disapprove of McCain’s job performance and 16 percent aren’t sure, according to the left-leaning poll.
Among fellow Republicans, McCain has only a 35 percent approval rating. Among Democrats, his approval rating is only 29 percent.
Though the Republican senator isn’t up for reelection until 2016, the poll suggests his time as a congressman is up. While he hasn't announced another run, McCain said he is still considering reelection.
McCain has served in the U.S. Congress since 1982. He was elected to the Senate in 1986.
PPP conducted the poll among 870 registered Arizona voters.
Even though the White House petition to deport Justin Bieber has already met its threshold of 100,000 signatures, Sen. Mark Warner said Tuesday he wanted to add his name to the list.
Warner repetaedly insisted that he had previously not known about the petition but would be willing to add his name.
“As a dad with three daughters, is there some place I can sign?” Warner said in an interview with Rumble in the Morning.
Warner then tweeted a link to the interview, noting that he was definitely not a Belieber.
More than 240,000 people have already signed the petition to deport the Canadian pop star, who was arrested in Florida on charges of a DUI and resisting arrest.
Opposing petitions to keep Bieber in the country have yet to reach the 100,000-signature threshold.
According to a 2013 survey from Public Policy Polling, working to deport Bieber is a smart move for someone running for reelection. The survey showed that 54 percent of voting-age Americans held an unfavorable view of the pop star.
Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law student who became an instant celebrity when she was denied the opportunity to testify at a hearing on Obamacare’s contraception requirements, is strongly considering running for Congress.
“I’m flattered that I’m being discussed as a potential candidate,” Fluke said. “A number of folks I respect very deeply have reached out today and encouraged me to run. I am strongly considering running.”
Fluke would run for Henry Waxman’s House seat, as the longtime Democrat announced he would retire this year.
“A sincere thank you to liberal champion @WaxmanClimate for 40 years of service to our community in LA,” Fluke tweeted.
Democrats have received the news favorably, including strategist Hillary Rosen who expressed support on Twitter with the hashtag #RunSandraRun.
After her raise to fame, Fluke earned a speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.
Now that the State of the Union speech is out of the way, America can get down to the business of the mid-term election season. While the narrative surrounding the speech was that the President had to address his critics, the campaign trail is where Congress is going to address theirs. A recent poll from YouGov and The Huffington Post found “that most Americans don’t think that most members of Congress should be reelected.” This is great news for challengers and seems to have very little to do with their representatives’ political ties.
A recently released Gallup Poll shows similar results. For the first time since 1992, 46 percent of people polled said that their representative deserved to be reelected. Still, this is only two points lower than the previous record in 1993. Even more telling is the number of Americans who think “most members deserve re-election” which is also at a record-low of 17 percent. The previous nadir also came in 1993, but was twelve points higher than now.
These numbers are more drastic than even the 2010 mid-term election in which the Democrats lost the House of Representatives. Yet, where those mid-terms and the 2006 mid-term election in which the Democrats took the House differ from now is that the public animus closely followed party lines.
However, close to a quarter of the respondents to the YouGov poll don’t even know to which party their representative belongs. Instead, these numbers may suggest a general malaise amongst the electorate towards Congress as an entity. Voters may simply want “fresh blood” in Congress and—if a “wave” of challengers win general elections—may be sending a message to politicians that Americans are finally tired of partisan chicanery.
The largest fight in Congress has been—and still is—the implementation of the President’s health care plan, a fight that ultimately shut down the government. Each side played their expected partisan roles, but the shutdown and relative inaction from Congress may have brought about a tipping point. Earlier this summer, it seemed as if the GOP was in a good position to win back the Senate, but in these recent numbers challenge that idea.
In 2007, Congress passed the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act which was a bill aimed at limiting the gifts lobbyists could give to legislators. However, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that equated money to free speech, special interests have found a workaround to the 2007 law and are able to treat lawmakers to trips to posh vacation spots and fine food and drink.
In an excellent bit of reporting by Eric Lipton in The New York Times, the loophole is explained, “Political campaigns and so-called leadership PACs controlled by the lawmakers now pay the expenses for the catering and the lawmakers’ lodging at these events — so they are not gifts — with money collected from the corporate executives and lobbyists, who are still indirectly footing the bill.” So rather than pay directly for the legislators’ travel and accommodations, the special interest groups donate the money to Political Action Committee instead.
These are often profitable ventures for lawmakers. Lipton suggests that an event that cost $25,000 will often net the PAC or reelection campaign three times as much. This is a practice that transcends party lines. Extra-liberal Democrats and the most down-home Tea Partier are both equally likely to be found in a penthouse suite on some beach or a ski resort on snow-capped mountains glad-handing special interest lobbyists.
Members of Congress spend many hours of each day fund-raising for reelection and these trips offer the opportunity for a significant deposit into campaign coffers. Perhaps that is the saddest part of this whole story, not that this practice is legal but that it is necessary if a legislator wants to have any real chance at reelection. Also, since this is part of the established system, what chance does the legislator’s constituency have to be heard when their representative’s attention comes at such a high price?
Local television news outlets have taken a bit of a metaphorical beating in the national (non-news) media lately. First, late-night host Conan O’Brien released another of a series of videos which shows local news anchors from across the country reading identical scripts. More recently, radio hosts Opie & Anthony excoriated the news for the “frozen t-shirt experiment” so many of them did during the recent cold weather that gripped the nation. However, some news stations take time between gimmicky news stories to do some real reporting, like WSAV in Georgia.
Their local Congressman, Jack Kingston, caused some controversy when at a meeting of the Jackson County Republican Party he suggested children pay five- or ten-cents “to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch.” A few days later, while appearing on CNN, Kingston backtracked, saying that he did not mean to unfairly target low-income children, but that it would be “good for all children” even though children not on the taxpayer-funded lunch program already pay for theirs with money.
WSAV pored over “thousands of pages” of documents, trying “to estimate just how many ‘free lunches’ a Congressman like Jack Kingston and his staff might receive.” Their investigation discovered that for the past three years Jack Kingston’s office has put $4,182 of meals on his expense reports. Also, while traveling abroad, Kingston received $24,313 in per diem expenses, essentially “walking around money.”
In an interview with WSAV, Kingston dismissed these claims, saying “It’s hard in today’s society to have a discussion where you wanna challenge the status quo because of the ‘I gotcha’ politics.” When asked about his own “work ethic,” especially since this is the least productive Congress on-record, Kingston suggested that keeping Congress closed down is doing the people’s business.
However, Kingston’s remarks showcase an attitude in the current Republican party that suggests that the poor are poor because they are lazy. Yet, rather than a serious social critique, perhaps this represents how out-of-touch representatives are with average Americans. A recent report from the Center for Responsive Politics found that—for the first time—the majority of those in Congress are millionaires, although the number of millionaires has hovered near 50 percent for some time. Kingston’s personal net worth is estimated to be between $2.4 million to $3.3 million.
“American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken is considering running for office in North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district in the U.S. House, according to two Democrats familiar with his plans.
The anonymous sources reported that Aiken had made phone calls to gauge support and met with political figures in Raleigh. He is currently working with political strategist Betsy Conti, who’s worked for former North Carolina Gov. Bev Purdue and Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore, to explore a run.
A second Democratic source said Aiken met with pollsters at Hart Research Associates last month to examine polling data.
Though it is uncertain when Aiken might make a formal announcement, sources say that he is “sounding and acting” like a candidate.
Since winning “American Idol”, Aiken has had a successful Broadway and music career. According to Forbes, he made $1.5 million in 2010.
Aiken has also used his fame to promote LGBT activism. In 2010, the singer appeared on Capitol Hill to urge for the passing of the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
Although the idea of impeaching President Barack Obama has been mentioned often in right-wing media outlets and amongst the President’s more conservative constituents, the issue has not been seriously proposed by members of Congress.
Now, however, the idea has at least been mentioned in an official Congressional meeting.
In a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, Republican representatives mentioned the possibility of what Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) referred to as the “I-word,” according to Talking Points Memo.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) assured the rest of the members of the committee that they would not bring up the possibility unless they were certain that they wanted to consider going forward with the process, explaining that the “I-word” is “the word that we don’t like to say in this committee, and I’m not about to utter here in this particular hearings.”
The committee, however, spent the hearing questioning legal scholars as to the repercussions the President should face for crossing the boundaries of constitutional power without consulting the other branches of government. One law professor, Georgetown’s Nicholas Rosenkranz, said that the Congressmen should not “be hesitant to speak the word in this room.”
While the issues discussed in regards to Obama’s potential impeachment included boundary-crossing acts such as invading Libya without Congressional approval, one such act was “delaying implementation of some provisions of Obamacare,” The Columbus Dispatch reports.
It’s quite ironic that Republican lawmakers are seeking to punish the president for the delaying the same bill that they were attempting to stop during October’s government shutdown.
Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) compared President Obama to the nation’s first president to resign, hinting that his actions have indeed crossed the boundaries of power granted to him.
“President Obama is the first president since Richard Nixon to ignore a duly-enacted law simply because he disagrees with it,” Goodlatte said during the hearing. “In place of the checks and balances established by the Constitution, President Obama has proclaimed that, ‘I refuse to take no for an answer,’ and that ‘Where Congress won’t act, I will.’”
While the impeachment of Obama is relatively unlikely, the current batch of representatives in Congress can be unpredictable with their actions.
The majority of Americans really like the idea of drug testing members of Congress.
According to a recent poll by Huffington Post and YouGov, 64 percent of Americans believe that welfare recipients should be drug tested, while 18 percent oppose it.
However, a 78 percent to 7 percent margin agrees that members of Congress should be randomly drug tested. Regarding drug testing for congressional lawmakers, 64 percent say they are “strongly” in favor, compared to only 51 percent who said the same about welfare recipients.
Huffington Post reported that this year, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would require food stamp recipients by state to urinate in cups to prove they’re not on drugs. Republicans wanted drug testing for those seeking unemployment insurance benefits when they lost their jobs in 2012. GOP lawmakers at the state level also pushed for drug testing for different safety net programs.
Democrats have often said that if people who receive aid from the government get drug tested, then people running the government should, too. Republicans usually disagree, but voters approve. The Kansas state legislature is one recent exception, according to The Wichita Eagle.
Eighty-six percent of Republicans, 77 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents said they want members of Congress to be drug tested, according to the HuffPost/YouGov poll.
Eighty-seven percent of Republicans strongly favored drug testing of welfare recipients and only nine opposed, while 50 percent of Democrats were in favor and 28 percent opposed. Independents favored drug testing of welfare recipients by a 64 percent to 16 percent margin.
If a member of Congress is caught using illegal drugs, like cocaine, 60 percent of Americans said they should resign. Only 14 percent were in favor to let the convicted member finish out the remainder of his or her term.
According to the survey, 72 percent said they support random drug testing for those serving in the military, and 87 percent supported it for airline pilots. Seventy-one percent backed random drug testing for professional athletes.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced Monday that he is appalled by the Republican Party’s attempt to derail the Affordable Care Act.
“I think we didn't do our job as an opposition party,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich noted that Republicans should have focused on the highly publicized problems with the law’s rollout.
"The more we dig into it, I'm sort of appalled that the Republican Party ... didn't explain more carefully the things we already know about Obamacare,” Gingrich said. “when we could've kept the president on defense the whole fall campaign.”
Gingrich suggested that Republicans should have a break out, goal-oriented agenda for the next summer. That kind of Republican party, he noted, would be in much better shape than the one trapped in budget fights.
He joined Sen. John McCain in calling the actual approach a fool’s errand, convincing Americans that the party could defund Obamacare without following through on their promise.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum has also criticized the GOP for the anti-Obamacare provisions, noting that Sen. Ted Cruz caused the most harm in spearheading the decision.
Santorum condemned Cruz for having a goal, but no solid plan to reach it.