View From Lodi, CA Pittsburgh, PA: If 83% Of Americans Think Country In "Bad Shape", Why Was 95.6% Of Congress Re-Elected?
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What other word is there? Three weeks ago, I asked how annoyed Americans are with our political leaders? I said we'd find out on November 4th.

And we did.

The sad answer is that despite our bluster and considering that Congress has only 10 percent approval rating, it turns out that Americans aren't angry at all.

Supposedly, our ire would send us to the polls in record numbers.

This was true for Democrats who actually showed up. But Republicans, sensing disaster, stayed home. The net result was that 62 percent of Americans registered cast a vote versus 60 percent four years ago.

Like lambs to the slaughter, voters too often re-elected the same politicians who led them into a needless and costly war in Iraq, slept while bankers destroyed America's financial system, applauded as free trade bills robbed the nation of its jobs, promoted amnesty, approved more non-immigrant visas for foreign-born workers , and signed off on a series of massive spending bills that brought the U.S. national debt to over $10 trillion, up from seven trillion when I wrote about it in January 2004.

A few of the most stunning returns: 

In California's 11th district that includes Lodi, Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney survived his challenge from Dean Andal, a well-known and widely respected Republican.

Even though McNerney voted before Election Day for both federal bailout packages, largely unpopular with voters, he easily defeated Andal, a fiscal conservative. [McNerney with Strong Win Over Andal, by David Siders, The Record, November 5, 2008]

As of today, no one knows where the $700 billion urgently disbursed to the banks has been spent. Instead of stemming the crisis, the bailout McNerey supported accelerated the consumer catastrophe but allowed some banks to acquire its weaker sisters.

During the painful, endless presidential campaign John McCain and Obama took advantage of the uninformed electorate and the wimpy MainStream Media by playing to the lowest common denominator.

Confident that their audience is clueless, the candidates went from city to city, promising jobs and prosperity but rarely fielding a question about how the jobs or prosperity would be created.

That I am aware of, not one reporter said to McCain: "Sir, the free trade agreements that you voted for in Congress are the reason that there are no jobs in the first place."

The anti-incumbency movement, about which I have written before, is dead. In fact, it never was alive.

The 2008 results prove that Americans are delighted with the status quo despite their protestations to the contrary.

Here's the "throw the bums out" dismal final tally.

The Congressional retention rate remained the same as it has been since 1855, 95.6 percent overall.

As usual, no third-party congressional candidate was elected. A handful reached the 20 percent level while in the vast majority of cases they stayed in low single digits. 

In the presidential vote category, about just 1.6 million people voted for third-party candidates, compared to 1.2 million in 2004, an insignificant increase.

I'll end my bleak column with a good laugh for you.

In a CNN poll released on Monday, less than one week after the election, 83 percent of Americans said that the country is in "bad shape."

Yet on the Tuesday preceding the poll, they voted overwhelmingly to keep in office the very individuals who put the nation in the sad state it finds itself.

Give me a break! What's in "bad shape" is the public's awareness level that I rate as terrifyingly low.

Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.

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