Today’s L.A. Times has an article that confirms what we all know: Congress is sophomoric. There has, indeed, been a noticeable “dumbing down.”
What? You’re surprised? No way, no how, no you are not, stop that! Not after all that GOP obstruction and tea tantruming about big bad Obama “taking away our guns,” screaming about the dreaded, non-existent “death panels” and the endless and renewed jaw-clenching birth certificate blather. In fact, how have we EVER managed to survive President Obama’s evil presidency?
New research is showing that all that head-butting and speechifying has devolved to eighth grade levels, and no, that’s not hyperbole:
Discourse in the House and Senate has dropped a full grade level — to the equivalent of high school sophomore, according to a new study. [...]
“Congress is changing as an institution, and what you see is more and more members gearing their speeches as sound bites or YouTube clips,” said Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which compiled the study released Monday. [...]
In an analysis of floor debates over the last several years, the study found that newer lawmakers tended to speak at a lower grade level than the veterans of congressional speechifying.
Guess who scored the lowest! Go ahead, guess. I’ll wait.
[I]t should come as no surprise that the lawmakers at the bottom of the list, speaking at the lowest grade level, are among the most ardent tea party Republicans in the freshman class. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Rep. Robert Woodall of Georgia and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky were the bottom three — speaking at about an eighth-grade level, the study found.
Californians ranked among the better spoken overall, and the No. 2 slot went to Rep.Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-East Los Angeles), at almost a 16th-grade level.
And because we try to be even-handed here at TPC, it’s only fair to point out that it was Republican Rep. Dan Lungren who made it to number one with the highest level of speech. Kudos to him.
Communicating clearly and accurately, using proper language, and articulating carefully and meaningfully are all so important, especially in an era of 140-character tweets and rushed text messages. Can we at least expect our elected representatives to strive for the ability to do that at ninth grade levels?
Oh, but I kid. I meant tenth.
Now if you’ll excuse me, Twitter calls.