Tea Party and the Right  
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10 Dumbest Members of Congress

A new study finds that Congress speaks at almost a full grade level lower than it did seven years ago. Meet the 10 conservatives dragging down their collective intelligence.

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5. Tim Griffin, R-AR: A few years ago there was a scandal in Bush’s Justice Department when it was revealed that they fired several U.S. Attorneys for political reasons. Then, to make matters worse, they filled the vacancies with cronies and partisan patrons. One of those terminated was the U.S. Attorney in Arkansas. His hand-picked replacement was a Karl Rove protege named Tim Griffin.

6. Todd Akin, R-MO: Last year Akin appeared on the radio program of Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. That would ordinarily be enough to dismiss him as a fringe-dweller, but Akin took the opportunity to broadcast his opinion that, “The heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God.” Akin was also the sponsor of a bill to prohibit courts from hearing legal challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance – an ironic attempt to unconstitutionally elevate Congress over the judiciary in order to suppress “liberty and justice for all.”

7. Vicky Hartzler, R-MO: Like many Tea Party Republicans, Hartzler has expressed doubts about Obama’s citizenship. When questioned about the birth certificate the president released she said, “You know, I have a lot of doubts about all that. But I don’t know, I haven’t seen it.” She also opposes same-sex marriage with the old slippery slope argument that associates it with polygamy and pedophilia. She asks, “Why not allow one man and two women or three women to marry? [...] Why not allow a 50-year-old man to marry a 12-year-old girl if they love each other and they are committed?”

8. Tom Graves, R-GA: Graves’ obsession with limiting government is so severe that he voted against bills that would provide organizations that work with children easier access to a federal database so they could screen job applicants for criminal records. But then his grasp of legislation is somewhat faulty. With regard to funding for oil subsidies, he declared them to be a “manipulation of the marketplace” shortly after voting twice to extend them.

9. David Schweikert, R-AZ: Perhaps the poster child for this list is Rep. Schweikert, who was asked a question about the health insurance mandate provision in the Affordable Care Act, and whether he thought it was fair that prior to the ACA someone could incur medical expenses but not pay for them, raising the cost of health care for everyone else. He responded, “You have the right as an American to be dumb.” And he is fully exercising his rights.

10. Ron Johnson, R-WI: Johnson has been a harsh critic of the government stimulus bills. But somehow that didn’t stop him from seeking stimulus funds for renovations to the Grand Opera House when he was president of the venue’s board. His explanation when asked to justify the apparent hypocrisy was that “he may have asked a question or two, but that doesn’t mean he supports the stimulus effort or even wanted the money.” Of course not. He was just curious to see if they would hand over the cash, which he would have promptly returned.

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The question of whether or not a low score is indicative of low intelligence is still open. Republican pollster and word doctor Frank Luntz spins the results by contending, “It’s not an issue of dumbing it down; it’s an issue of cleaning it up.” But that interpretation only seems to be applicable for Republicans who score poorly. It's also pure Luntzian meme surgery from the man who calls clear-cutting, "healthy forests."

These 10 members of Congress, who grace the bottom of the list, were rated as speaking at seventh- to eighth-grade levels (scoring between 7.95 and 8.62). Eight of them are first-term Tea Partiers. Is it a coincidence that their work in office reflects the arrogance, selfishness and resistance to compromise and teamwork that sometimes accompanies the immaturity of youth?  

Full disclosure: This article scored 10.35 on the Flesch-Kincaid scale.

 
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