American Idiots: Congress Dumbs Itself Down One Full Grade Level

In more news that will take the wind out of my father's sails—Congress appears to be getting collectively dumber.

The Sunlight foundation analyzed Congressional speech and found that over the past seven years they've gone from talking like high school juniors to sophomores. While many factors account for the full-grade level drop off, the study found that the 2010 freshman class of Tea Party Republicans are partly responsible for spreading the stupid. As NPR points out: "Of the 10 members speaking at the lowest grade level, all but two are freshmen, and every one is a Republican."

While the Sunlight foundation uses some fancy algorithm to figure out the grade level of Congressional speeches, I used my trusted thinking cap to figure out what these guys were saying.

Here we have a sample from the cunning linguist of the group: California Republican Rep. Dan Lungren, coming in at a 16th grade level:

This Justice Department, in my judgment, based on the experience I've had here in this Congress, 18 years, my years as the chief legal officer of the state of California and 35 or 40 years as a practicing attorney tells me that this administration has fundamentally failed in its obligation to attempt to faithfully carry out the laws of the United States.

Real Talk: Sounds like a backdoor brag followed by a major diss.

For the dummies, we have second-to-last place Georgia Republican Rep. Rob Woodall at an 8th grade level:

What do they say about socialism, Mr. Speaker? It's a great plan until you run out of other people's money. Guess what? We've run out of other people's money. I just want to show you a chart.

Real Talk: It's probably a pie chart. Nobody who knows what they're talking about answers their own rhetorical questions.

Holding down last place at 7.9 is Mick Mulvaney—a Republican Representative from South Carolina:

We can and will, obviously, over the course of this day, say a lot about this budget—a lot of bad things about this budget. I prefer to focus on one positive thing above all others—one thing. This budget actually balances. The budget actually balances. Five years it takes to do that. It's not easy. In fact, it's very, very hard to do that.

Real Talk: Isn't he soooo pretty?

One thing is certain here—whether they're hiding behind big words or mumbling monosyllables—the dudes don't need any help sounding stupid.

[NPR, image via Getty]