Congress recently received an overall grade of C-minus from 40 top academic experts who make it a habit to study that legislative body.

In the old days a C was considered average, so a C-minus would be slightly below average. And “slightly below average” is simply too high a grade for the poor-to-failing effort of the Congress in 2011.

The grade came from a survey conducted by the Center on Congress at Indiana University.

Comments by Ted Carmines, an IU political scientist who was lead author on the survey, suggested he thought the overall grade was too high with this blunt criticism of Congress:

“Congress came close this year to total failure in its main functions of making laws and being a governing branch,” he said. “That view wasn’t shared by all the experts, but, overall, the grades are quite low. This was a severe assessment of Congress.”

The grade inflation came in part because the experts gave Congress good grades on “making its workings and activities open to the public” and “making a good effort to be accessible to their constituents.” In other words, they were good at showing people how inept they were and in meeting with people to try to explain themselves.

 

— The Herald-Times,

Bloomington, Ind., Feb. 12


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