Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Back in October 2006, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone wrote about the Republican-led Congress in power at the time. He called it the "Worst Congress Ever."
That was then, this is now. In a must-read opinion, Ezra Klein today makes a convincing case that the "less-than-do-nothing" Tea-Publican 112th Congress is the "Worst. Congress. Ever." Worst Congress ever? 14 reasons why (excerpts):
Hating on Congress is a beloved American tradition. Hence Mark Twain’s old joke, “Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” But the 112th Congress is no ordinary congress. It’s a very bad, no good, terrible Congress. It is, in fact, one of the very worst congresses we have ever had. Here, I’ll prove it:
1. They’re not passing laws.
Let’s start with the simplest measure of congressional productivity: the number of public bills passed into law per Congress. The best data on this comes from the annual “resume of congressional activity,” which goes back to the 80th Congress — the same Congress President Harry Truman dubbed the “do-nothing Congress.” But they did a lot more than this Congress:
The 112th Congress — this Congress — is the last bar on the right. The one that’s way smaller than the other bars. To be fair, the 112th Congress remains in session, while the other congresses on the chart have completed their work. But the 112th is three-quarters done, and it’s not yet half as productive as the next least-productive congress. Plus, Congress doesn’t typically work in last-minute sprints; most bills are passed in the first half of a congressional session. As such, it’s very unlikely that the 112th will manage to pull even with anyone else on the chart.
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2. They’re hideously unpopular.
According to Gallup, the 112th Congress set a record for unpopularity in February, when only 10 percent of Americans said they approved of the job Congress was doing. The previous record was set in December of 2011, when only 11 percent approved of Congress. So this Congress is number one … in being hated by their constituents. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado made this memorable graph of all the things that are more popular than Congress:
3. They’re incredibly polarized.
The best measure of congressional polarization — which is to say, the distance between the two parties — is the DW-Nominate system developed by political scientist Keith Poole. DW-Nominate works by measuring coalitions. It looks to see who votes together and how often. And it works. Its results line up with both common sense and alternative ways of measuring ideology, like the scorecard kept by the American Conservative Union.
So what does it say about this Congress? Well, the 112th Congress is the most polarized since the end of Reconstruction[.]
Continue reading Worst Congress ever? 14 reasons why.
Ezra Kein's column should be republished in every newspaper opinion page in America.
"NO TEA-PUBLICANS IN 2012 – KICK 'EM ALL OUT!"