Congressional Speech Slips by a Grade Level According to a New Study

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A recent study from the Sunlight Foundation determined that congressional floor speeches have dropped in sophistication from that of a high school junior to that of a high school sophomore since 2005. I guess that means that whereas in 2005 congress was full of speeches that went, “Oh my god, seriously? You support that bill, you are a moron, son, straight up!” now they’re more like, “This bill is soooooo lame, but mom’s gonna ground me if I don’t vote for it.” (It’s a subtle difference, really.)

Maryland’s Reps. Chris Van Hollen and John Sarbanes deliver speeches at the level of a 12th grader, so I’m assuming they devote a lot of time to talking about how they “can’t wait to get out of this town” and how they’ve already got college girlfriends and how they’re smarter than half their teachers here anyway.

The group also ranked the words of each congressperson according to frequency. You may be happy to know that Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger is frequently heard to utter “Ripken” and “Orioles” from the floor of congress.



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