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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
CITES CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Lieberman Withdraws from Consideration for FBI Job
2 days ago
THE LATEST
MINIMUM 2 PERCENT GDP
Trump Tells NATO Countries To Pay Up
2 days ago
BREAKING
MANAFORT AND FLYNN
Russians Discussed Influencing Trump Through Aides
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Source:
BUT WHITE HOUSE MAY USE AGAINST HIM ANYWAY
Ethics Cops Clear Mueller to Work on Trump Case
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."

Source:
BUSINESSES CAN’T PLEAD FIFTH
Senate Intel to Subpoena Two of Flynn’s Businesses
4 days ago
THE LATEST

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login