First the stats. According to the latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll, just 38 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing; 52 percent disapprove. The rest don't know.
Also, in a recent Rasmussen Poll, just 23 percent of Americans believe the press is telling the truth about the economy.
So what we have here is the folks saying they cannot trust those in power. Very bad for America.
While President Obama's popularity remains high, it is just a matter of time before the president sees his approval rating fall, because his own party, the Democrats, is having a tough time.
Even in liberal precincts like Harvard University, disenchantment is setting in. A few days ago, Congressman Barney Frank spoke at the Kennedy School of Government and was challenged by a student who asked him exactly what I asked Frank: What is your responsibility in the economic decline:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BARNEY FRANK, D-MASS.: What is it you think I should have done beginning in January 31 of 2007, which was when I became chairman, that I didn't do?
JOEL POLLAK, HARVARD LAW STUDENT: Well, first of all, you pushed a stimulus bill through the Congress that included several provisions that you later attacked as profoundly wasteful and so on.
FRANK: Who did? Not me. You're talking about the subprime crisis. You're talking about a bill in 2008 or...
POLLAK: And in 2008, in October, you accused critics of a stimulus plan of being racist and so on.
FRANK: Excuse me.
POLLAK: I'm still waiting for a very...
FRANK: And I'm waiting for you to tell me what you think I should have done. I didn't...
POLLAK: No, you're a public representative. I'm a student. I'm asking you how...
FRANK: Oh, which allows you to say things that you don't back up.
POLLAK: I didn't accuse you of anything. I'm asking you how much responsibility...
POLLAK: ...if any, you can say none, that's fine.
FRANK: I think you're being disingenuous if you say you didn't make an accusation. You're saying it happened on my watch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So here's the problem. Barney Frank and most other politicians simply will not take any responsibility when things go bad, and the folks are sick of it. We still don't know who was responsible when Iraq went south.
Look, governing is a tough business. Mistakes will be made. But when our leaders fail to admit their misjudgments and blame the other party, it gets nauseating. I mean, are you not tired of hearing the Obama crew blame the Bush crew for everything that is going wrong now?
The truth is that Barney Frank made big mistakes. So did Senator Chris Dodd, President George Bush, former SEC boss Chris Cox and many other big shots in Washington. Just the other day, President Obama made a mistake with his greeting of the Saudi king.
But we rarely hear any straight talk about this stuff. It's always evasion, spin, blame the other guy.
That is why Americans are losing faith in both political parties. The folks are simply getting fed up with excuse-making, incompetence, media corruption and crazy ideology at the expense of the public good.
The kid at Harvard was right to challenge Barney Frank, just as I did. All of us should begin challenging those with power over us. Only then will the nonsense diminish.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
We were pleased to attend a benefit Tuesday night honoring actor Kirk Douglas. The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, CASA, featured Mr. Douglas because of his son's struggle with addiction.
The center is run by my friend Joseph Califano, who has done an amazing amount of good work combating the terrible problem of substance abuse in America. So both Mr. Douglas and Mr. Califano are patriots.
On the pinhead front, it is hard to believe but the wife of swindler Bernie Madoff wants to keep about $75 million in assets. Ruth Madoff is fighting the seizure of her homes, cash and other assets, saying they are rightfully hers.
Of course, that is baloney. The woman is a bookkeeper and could have never amassed that kind of wealth legally.
Ruth Madoff is a pinhead, and in my opinion should be prosecuted.