- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How low can Congress go? Alas, voters have a more favorable opinion of the IRS, jury duty, hipsters, potholes, cockroaches, mothers-in-law, toenail fungus, public radio fundraising drives, motor vehicle departments, hemorrhoids and even “dog poop” than they do of Congress. These are serious findings from a Public Policy Polling survey of 502 registered U.S. voters released Tuesday, for better or worse.

Lawmakers, who only achieved an 8 percent favorability rating, did beat a few other public figures, though. But not many. Majorities of the voters have a higher opinion of Congress than of former New York City mayoral hopeful Anthony D. Weiner. The lawmakers also found more favor than Russia President Vladimir Putin, reality TV tot Honey Boo Boo, raucous singer Miley Cyrus and twerking — her dance of choice.

Congress having an 8 percent approval rating tells us one thing about how unhappy voters are,” says Dean Debnam, president of the polling group. “But it’s even more telling that voters have a lower opinion of it than annoyances like the DMV and jury duty, and health issues like hemorrhoids.”


It is the ultimate challenge for powerful men in the nation’s capital who know the value of a flawlessly shaved cheek and a haircut to be reckoned with: “Don’t let the shutdown hinder your handsomeness,” say those who purvey the tools of the trade.

“The government may be shut down in Washington, but the business of handsomeness shouldn’t be compromised,” notes an urgent outreach from the Grooming Lounge, an upscale retailer where manly fare from the likes of Molton Brown and Aqua de Parma is the norm. There are two shops in the area, one about six blocks from the White House.

The company is now offering a 15 percent discount for federal employees languishing under the shutdown.

“The purveyors of handsomeness at Grooming Lounge are doing their part by keeping the furloughed relaxed and looking their best at a price they can afford. The only exception? The deal doesn’t apply to members of Congress just yet — they have work to do and can receive their discount after the government is back up and running,” the company advises.


President Obama drew some creative criticism following his one-hour news conference on everything and nothing Tuesday.

“The most powerful man on earth, the leader of the free world, lashed out at conservatives in Congress whom he labeled as ‘extremists,’ accusing them of ‘ransom’ and ‘extortion,’ even comparing them to a ‘deadbeat’ who doesn’t pay the mortgage,” declares Nile Gardiner, a columnist based in Washington for Britain’s Daily Telegraph.

“This was a childish, as well as unpleasant, display of petulance by Mr. Obama, who treats elected officials as though they were puppets who should dance to his tune,” Mr. Gardiner notes. “It was followed by an embarrassing set of hand-picked questions from a largely subservient liberal-dominated media, none of which seriously challenged the president’s policies or his handling of the shutdown.”

He adds, “In the U.K., a British prime minister would never get away with this kind of performance without a barrage of relentlessly tough questioning.”

His American counterparts are onto that, though.

“ObamaCare received scant mention at President Obama’s press conference, despite sustained problems with the law’s online enrollment portal,” points out Elise Viebeck, who covers health policy issues for The Hill.

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