By Lou Dobbs
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Editor's Note: Lou Dobbs' commentary appears weekly on CNN.com.
NEW YORK (CNN) -- President Bush isn't the only lame duck in our nation's capital. All 435 congressmen are up for re-election next year, and so are 34 of our senators. That's a total of 469 lame ducks, the way I see it.
There are a lot more "lame ducks" in the nation's capital than in previous years, according to Lou Dobbs.
For the record, there are 245 Democratic and 224 Republican lame ducks in Washington. And with the rising registration of Independents across the country, next year may be a bad season for lame ducks.
With the electorate asserting a strong impulse to be independent, and with populism exerting a significant influence in the 2006 midterm elections, there is a possibility that all of those incumbents in the House and Senate may have to consider the possibility of actually having to represent their constituents and the popular will, rather than corporate America, socio-ethnic special interest groups and the tens of thousands of lobbyists who represent every interest but that of the common good and the nation.
But unless the registration of independents continues to build, history still favors incumbents of both political parties. The success rate of incumbents in the 2006 midterms did decline significantly from the 2004 and 2002 elections. But even so, the incumbent re-election rate was 93.5 percent, down from 98 percent in both 2002 and 2004.
I'm an Independent populist, so I look at the incumbent success rate as something akin to a recidivism rate. I'm hopeful that the electorate will be the ones who learn from the mistakes of their elected officials. It's probably too much to hope that our elected officials will learn from the errors of their ways, failing in so many ways to represent the people they will be asking to return them to office.
Also, the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates may begin to take a greater interest in dealing with real issues confronting this country and less interest in the partisan nonsense that now passes for political discourse. We can only hope.
President Bush's approval rating has reached a new low for his presidency. The latest USA Today Gallup poll reveals a new high in opposition to the Iraq war and the President's role in the immigration debate as the reasons for the loss of confidence in him. The poll shows only 29 percent of Americans approve of the president's job performance, which means that during his presidency, George W. Bush now has both the highest presidential rating in Gallup's polling history, at 90 percent, and one of the lowest. Only Harry Truman, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter had lower approval ratings.
But again, President Bush isn't alone. The American public has the lowest confidence in Congress since Gallup began asking this question in 1973. A recent USA Today Gallup poll shows just 14 percent of Americans have confidence in the job Congress is doing.
It's beginning to look like the American people may finally have had a bellyful of elected officials who do little more than shill for lobbyists, ignore the interests of America's citizens and perpetuate rather than solve the problems facing this nation.
Could it be that we are seeing the awakening of the American people to the political charade that has been perpetrated for too many years by both political parties in Washington? We must do more than hope.