Blame Your Favorite Scapegoat for Dysfunctional Politics

<em>National Journal</em> readers blame Washington failures on pimps, supposed-Marxists, and deities.

A member of the Tea Party movement holds posters of U.S. President Barack Obama depicted as Adolph Hitler during a protest outside the Fairmont Hotel before President Obama arrives for a fundraiser May 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California. 
National Journal
Matt Berman
Oct. 4, 2013, 9:50 a.m.

Every­one is to blame for the cur­rent de­crep­it state of be­ing in our na­tion’s cap­it­al. There’s a reas­on to as­sign guilt to and find the roots of dys­func­tion in every Wash­ing­ton res­id­ent in­sti­tu­tion. And, yes, ac­cord­ing to our read­ers, that in­cludes Na­tion­al Journ­al.

The hun­dreds of read­er re­sponses to Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s “Who Broke Wash­ing­ton” series run a full gamut of fin­ger-point­ing. Harry Re­id’s a “PIMP and the PROS­TUTE [sic]” writes one read­er. “The Marx­ist in the White House” is to blame, an­oth­er read­er writes. Or maybe it’s Karl Rove, who’s been “the sole own­er of driv­ing the wedge between polit­ic­al parties.” The Amer­ic­an people are to blame for not “de­cis­ively choos­ing between the two parties,” writes an­oth­er. It’s the D.C. me­dia’s fault “for suck­ing up to Wash­ing­ton’s power­ful.” It’s Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s fault, be­cause, as one read­er wrote, “I think you know.”

No joke, two re­spon­ders even left the blame at the feet of Je­sus, com­pared with one vote for Satan.

This is ob­vi­ously not sci­entif­ic. People who com­ment on on­line stor­ies (and we love you guys — keep do­ing your thing) are not rep­res­ent­at­ive of Amer­ica as a whole. But polling backs up a “blame every­one” sen­ti­ment. A Pew sur­vey from the end of last month found that 77 per­cent of Amer­ic­ans felt either angry at or frus­trated with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment as a whole. And they are also not big fans of journ­al­ists and the me­dia. A new CBS News poll finds that Amer­ic­ans are largely split in whom they blame for the gov­ern­ment shut­down, with 44 per­cent blam­ing con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans and 35 per­cent blam­ing Demo­crats and the pres­id­ent. Amer­ic­ans also don’t trust, well, polls.

In his “Who Broke Wash­ing­ton” piece today, Ron Fourni­er places blame on former House Re­pub­lic­an Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Tom DeLay, a man who “checks every sleazy box,” from re­dis­trict­ing to a polit­ic­al “my-way-or-the-high­way mind-set.” The thing is though — and Fourni­er gets at this point — this kind of ag­gress­ive polit­ic­al sort­ing is rampant among every­one. That, of course, in­cludes our won­der­ful com­menters.

Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s read­ers may be onto something when they blame a wide swath of Amer­ica (and deit­ies), polit­ic­al and oth­er­wise, for our cur­rent polit­ic­al troubles. Large num­bers of Amer­ic­ans don’t trust any­thing, and some re­sort to polit­ic­al dem­agoguery with ease. Wash­ing­ton isn’t go­ing to get fixed by re­treat­ing to spe­cial­ized out­rage net­works and call­ing each oth­er “PROS­TUTES.” The prac­tice of as­sign­ing blame it­self can be­come a crutch that keeps things broken. We may not have all “broken” Wash­ing­ton, but we may all de­serve some of the blame for keep­ing it this way.

What We're Following See More »
SHE’LL HAVE A ROLE WITH CLINTON CAMP
Wasserman Schultz to Resign at Week’s End
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

"After hours of private talks," Debbie Wasserman Schultz agreed to step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee after the convention ends. In the wake of the convention intrigue, Hillary Clinton announced she's making Wasserman Schultz "the honorary chair of her campaign's 50-state program."

Source:
MARCIA FUDGE TO PRESIDE
Wasserman Schultz Stripped of Convention Duties
13 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."

Source:
EARLY BUMP FOR TRUMP?
New Round of Polls Show a Tight Race
2 days ago
THE LATEST
  • A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
  • A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
  • And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
BELLWETHER?
Candidates Deadlocked in Ohio
3 days ago
THE LATEST
17-POINT EDGE AMONG MILLENNIALS
Clinton Dominates Among Younger Voters
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.

Source:
×