Daschle’s bogus low “approval rating”

The Republican National Committee does a partisan hatchet job on Tom Daschle -- and has the chutzpah to call it a "job performance rating."

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Job performance for politicians can be calculated as a weighted average of ability to pass one’s own agenda in a tightly divided Congress and willingness to support the Republican agenda on five different scales.

Remember that formula from Statistics 101? If not, you may need a remedial class with Republican National Committee chairman Marc Racicot, who uses it in a recent press release to evaluate the job performance of Tom Daschle on his first anniversary as Senate majority leader. The conclusion, not too surprisingly, is an “underperforming” 23.8 percent.

That statistic comes in the context of a nasty yearlong attack on Daschle’s performance since becoming majority leader. Republicans have a right, of course, to criticize Daschle for not supporting their priorities. But quantifying a bogus “job performance rating” is an especially deceptive and cheap attempt to lend a veil of objectivity to a purely partisan attack.

“Job performance” is noted with a small asterisk in the Racicot release. The online version provides a link to the so-called “performance review” that, in a much more lighthearted way, gives Daschle an “unsatisfactory” performance review from “The American People”. There, the absurdity of the evaluation becomes clear, as the GOP explains that 23.8 percent rating comes from an average of percentages in six categories, including such not-quite-objective scales as passage of the “Daschle 50″ — 50 bills passed by the GOP-controlled House that haven’t been approved in the Senate — and passage of “permanent tax relief,” a Republican priority that most Democrats strongly oppose.

Few people would take such an evaluation seriously once they look at it, of course. But in the original release, the job performance rating is noted in a serious context and marked only with an asterisk. This could easily be mistaken for an actual poll or serious evaluation.



Most ironically, the “evaluation” is followed with this stern admonition: “Working Americans across the country know that if they had such a poor job performance rate, their job would be in jeopardy.” The truth, of course, is that any company that evaluated their employees with statistics this bogus would be the ones in jeopardy when workers filed suit. In politics, however, this sort of deception is apparently a growth industry.

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