Statistic of the Day

Number of lawmakers in the 112th Congress who’ve resigned: Four.

Number of jobs bills voted on in the 112th Congress: Zero.

It’s possible voters had high hopes after last year’s midterm elections. There would be a new House majority with new leaders; there was significant turnover in both chambers; and Washington would get a new chance to focus on issues that matter.

Six months in, I’m afraid this Congress isn’t working out especially well. We’ve seen gridlock, hostage strategies, threats of government shutdowns, culture-war disputes, and as of this afternoon, four resignations.

The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll put Congress’ approval rating at 18%, about a third as high President Obama’s support. Given how little has been, and will be, done in this session, I’m rather surprised it’s as high as it is.

Postscript: Quick quiz: can you name all four resignations? I’ll put the answer after the jump for those who want to play along.

Two Democrats have resigned. California Rep. Jane Harman left to become the head of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and New York Rep. Anthony Weiner stepped down from a sex scandal.

Two Republicans have also resigned. New York Rep. Chris Lee and Nevada Sen. John Ensign both gave up their seats, both as a result of sex scandals.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.