If anyone needs an explanation for why public approval of Congress has plummeted to an all-time low, reporter and blogger Michael Grunwald gives an excellent account in his new book, "The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era."
Grunwald has been making the case for some time that President Obama has actually made good on his promise of bringing the hope and change he promised in his 2008 campaign. He has initiated far-reaching transformational changes that will over time benefit most Americans, Grunwald says.
For example, he says, despite the right-wing media machine's distortions about the stimulus bill, the facts show it was one of this administration's biggest successes. Before Obama took office, Grunwald writes, hundreds of thousands of Americans were losing their jobs at an unprecedented pace. But the stimulus reversed that trend and stabilized the country long enough for a recovery to begin.
The disturbing part of the book is Grunwald's depiction of how Republicans in Congress planned to sabotage Obama even before he took office. This is not some sweeping conspiracy theory. Americans watched the plotting and scheming unfold in an almost Shakespearean manner, while the economy teetered in the balance.
Grunwald cites Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's cynical call for all-out resistance, and his secret meetings with House GOP Whip Eric Cantor.
Grunwald's interviews with both Republicans and Democrats in Washington expose just how far the Republican Party is willing to go to destroy Obama and regain power and control. After sweeping the 2010 elections, Republicans have proven themselves ineffectual, Grunwald writes.
The party that was going to shrink government and usher in jobs has spent most of its time passing personhood bills and voter ID laws.
Obstruction at any cost?
It's hard to put a price on trust because once it's lost, it's nearly impossible to regain. And a 12 percent approval rating, if the most recent polls are credible, says there's frighteningly little faith in this Congress.
As one reporter noted recently, even Castro is more popular in Cuba than this Congress is here.