By Jennifer Harper
Oh, woe is Congress: A paltry 13 percent of Americans approve of the job lawmakers are doing, “the lowest Gallup has measured this late in an election year,” says Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones. This is not too comforting for Capitol Hill, where all House seats and roughly a third of Senate seats will be decided in November.
“Voters may continue to take out their frustrations on members of the institution, which has resulted in considerable turnover in congressional membership or party composition in each of the last three election years,” Mr. Jones observes.
THE TROPHY LIFE
Life imitates art, and art imitates media these days. Such is the case with one Melissi Ichiuji, an artist who has created a series of “trophy heads” based on the excruciating collision of partisan politics and shrill press. President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Mitt Romney, Ann Romney, Sarah Palin and. Rep. Paul Ryan are among the disconcerting but intricately crafted assemblages of fabrics, wire, disturbing doodads and thready bindings, each mounted taxidermy-style on wooden panels, emphasizing the “destructive erosion of media spin and public scrutiny,” the artist says.
Birds peek from Mr. Obama’s head, Mrs. Palin sports moose antlers and Mr. Romney is adorned with gadgetry; Mrs. Ichiuji saw fit, in fact, to invite the president to the weekend opening of “Fair Game,” a showing of her work at Galerie LaReuse on Pennsylvania Avenue, just blocks from the White House. Needless to say, Mr. Obama was a no-show.
“I wondered what a political portrait based on current media coverage might look like,” Mrs. Ichiuji muses. “The title ‘Fair Game’ refers to two things. First, the position a public personality willingly accepts as part of their job — and the brutality with which opponents and the media will hunt down, embellish and exploit a weakness or transgression and display it like a trophy.”
FAR FLUNG TEAM
From the Who’s-Minding-the-Store Desk: If it’s Monday, the White House must be campaigning. Where will they be during the 24-hour period? President Obama journeys to Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; first lady Michelle Obama is in Tallahassee and Gainesville, Fla., and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. appears in Burlington, Iowa.
(FILL-IN-THE-BLANK) FOR MITT
President Obama has the support of many diverse voting blocs; 19 group are officially recognized by the president’s campaign. But Mitt Romney is not far behind. The Republican challenger now has 16 separate “communities” on his side, among them “Farmers and Ranchers for Romney,” “Romney Voters for Free Enterprise” and “Former Obama Supporters for Romney” — where the latest mantra goes like this: “The president is running away from reality. And reality has a way of catching up with people.”
“We will occupy Wall Street with nonviolent civil disobedience and flood the area around it with a roving carnival of resistance,” explain organizers for Occupy Wall Street, which celebrates its one-year anniversary on Monday in Manhattan, complete with Polar Bears on Bikes, the Solar Panel and Rising Sea Level Swimmer Brigade, who will gather at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to protest “Wall Street’s debt to Mother Earth.” Or something like that.
The contingent says there will be “solidarity” events in 30 cities, including Moscow, where the motto is ” a fight for freedom for the citizens of the planet.”
“This is a time of reflection and renewal, when those of the Jewish faith will celebrate the rich traditions that have endured not just for generations but for millennia. Americans of all faiths share in the hopes for a brighter, better year ahead. At this time, we are especially mindful of those marking the new year in Israel. In a time of confusion and conflict, it is more critical than ever that we here in America stand in an unbreakable alliance with our friends in Israel.”
“America draws its strength from faith and family, and we are reminded of that today. We pray for peace at home and abroad — and we wish those of the Jewish faith a happy and healthy New Year. L’shanah tovah.”
(Rosh Hoshanah message from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Co-Chairwoman Sharon Day.
Monday is Constitution Day, marking the 225th anniversary of the founding document, and a growing sense that history and heritage have been left by the wayside.
“When the Constitutional Convention ended, Benjamin Franklin wisely said that ours is ‘a Republic, if you can keep it,’ ” says Tom Walker, founder of the nonprofit American Village. “America is facing a growing national amnesia.”
The Alabama-based educational group convenes a summit on the subject Monday complete with a 56-page report; download it here: www.americanvillage.org. The group also has a noteworthy champion.
“The Constitution we celebrate unites us to ‘form a more perfect Union’ and to ‘secure the blessings of liberty’ for ourselves and our posterity.’ The truth is: liberty is hard work, and it’s our work right now,” says honorary chairwoman Laura Bush.
POLL DU JOUR
• 69 percent of Americans say the U.S. Constitution is an “enduring” document that remains relevant; 28 percent say it is “outdated” and should be modernized.
• 58 percent say the U.S. government does a good job ensuring Americans feel safe, secure and free; 29 percent say the government does a poor job.
• 52 percent say the U.S. government does a good job ensuring Americans are free to pursue their happiness; 33 percent say the government does a poor job.
• 51 percent say the U.S. government does a good job ensuring Americans are treated equally; 38 percent say the government does a poor job.
• 23 percent say the federal government should have the power to require all Americans to buy health insurance; 74 percent disagree.
Source: An Associated Press/National Constitution Center Poll of 1,006 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 16 to 20 and released Saturday.
• Squawks, bleats and roars to firstname.lastname@example.org.