Amazingly Non-Surprising News

You know liberals, and only liberals, were “surprised” every single solitary week of 2010 when the unemployment figures came out and the fictitious “Obama Boom” persisted in not ever actually happening? Well, here’s some other news that should come as a complete lack of surprise to you:

AOL News — When the Republican House leadership decided to start the 112th Congress with a reading of the U.S. Constitution, the decision raised complaints in some quarters that it was little more than a political stunt. The New York Times even called it a “presumptuous and self-righteous act.” That might be true, if you could be sure that elected officials actually know something about the Constitution. But it turns out that many don’t. In fact, elected officials tend to know even less about key provisions of the Constitution than the general public. For five years now, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute has been conducting a national survey to gauge the quality of civic education in the country. We’ve surveyed more than 30,000 Americans, most of them college students, but also a random sample of adults from all educational and demographic backgrounds. … But those elected officials who took the test scored an average 5 percentage points lower than the national average (49 percent vs. 54 percent), with ordinary citizens outscoring these elected officials on each constitutional question. Examples:

  • Only 49 percent of elected officials could name all three branches of government, compared with 50 percent of the general public.
  • Only 46 percent knew that Congress, not the president, has the power to declare war — 54 percent of the general public knows that.
  • Just 15 percent answered correctly that the phrase “wall of separation” appears in Thomas Jefferson’s letters — not in the U.S. Constitution — compared with 19 percent of the general public.
  • And only 57 percent of those who’ve held elective office know what the Electoral College does, while 66 percent of the public got that answer right. (Of elected officials, 20 percent thought the Electoral College was a school for “training those aspiring for higher political office.”)

Overall, our sample of elected officials averaged a failing 44 percent on the entire 33-question test, 5 percentage points lower than the national average of 49 percent. (H/T: Weasel Zippers)

The test is available here if you’d like to test yourself against our elected officials. (I got all of them right. RoboMonkey in 2012!)

It’s not clear from the article which elected officials from which Congress (the 111th, which just ended; or the 112th, which just began) took the test; but since the majority of the members of the 111th Congress are still seated in the 112th, clearly there’s still still quite a lot of educating to be done and/or quite a lot of bums to be thrown out. (I say “both”.) I’ll end this post with a repeat of the poster from this post from last year:

November 2010: Let’s elect a Congress who can READ!

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