Elected Officials Score Lower on Civics Tests Than Average Citizens (Who Score Lower than Basic Condiments)

220px-constitution_pg1of4_acAmerican elected officials showed a shocking lack of knowledge about government, history, and basic constitutional principles in a national survey. They scored a failing grade of just 44 percent on a basic test of knowledge of our nation in a quiz by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). Average citizens scored 49 percent. Note: many of these people scored less than a random or blind selection of answers — quite an achievement.

How did these people inherit the government formed by such geniuses as James Madison and Thomas Jefferson?” (For any elected officials reading this blog, those guys were framers who lived a long long time ago).

Thirty-one percent of the respondents could not correctly identify who we fought in World War II with some listing Britain, China, Russia, Canada, Mexico and Spain.

Some 20 percent of elected officials believe that the electoral college as established to “supervise the first televised presidential debates.”

This would certainly explain much of the failure of Congress and elected officials to defend the constitution in the last eight years. Our elected officials have clearly decided not to be burdened themselves with knowledge in learning much about the system that we are fighting around the globe to defend. After all, this is what our boys died for in their defeat of Mexico and Spain in World War II.

If it is any solace, our English cousins appear equally ill-informed on history, click here.

For the full story, click here.

38 thoughts on “Elected Officials Score Lower on Civics Tests Than Average Citizens (Who Score Lower than Basic Condiments)”

  1. I scored a 79, missing only the stupid economic questions, which I answered correctly from the “liberal” Kugman point-of-view. I don’t worship at the Free Market altar!

  2. Buddha and Rafflaw,

    I think you have squashed the bug!

    If I may amend the record: I failed to mention Bob esq, rcampbell, Mike Spindell, Sally, Gyges and still many more; I enjoy reading your (and all those named above) comments!

  3. I find the whole topic of what “everyone knows” interesting. There was a point in this country’s history where everyone had to know how to hunt, build a fire, that sort of thing. Now those are pretty esoteric fields, but everyone is expected to know how to drive a car.

    When you factor in the changing technology, and astronomical increase in raw knowledge the task of deciding what the base line of knowledge for functioning in society becomes incredibly complicated. Should we all know the significance of The Magna Carta? Or is it more important to understand basic chemistry? Are those both moot next to being able to do basic home repairs?

    That being said, if you’re in the business of governing you should damn well know the theory and practice of government that this country uses.

  4. Buddha,
    you hit the nail on the head again. CEJ was also correct that most of the regulars here are respectful to those with views different from ours, but we try to discuss the subjects with the best facts available to us. Bug is merely repeating, or to use Buddha’s word, “parroting” what he hears from Fox News and others like them. The facts are a nuisance to Fox and to its listeners.

  5. bug

    I don’t think Buddha is laughing; you seem like a sore loser!

    Just for the record I find the people who are regulars here; like Buddha, Rafflaw, Jill, Patty c, FFLeo, Messpo, MASkeptic, and many more whose names I am unable to recall right at this minute (but I know them when I see them) are like our host JT: Intelligent, open, reasonable, respectful, engaging, funny, often hilarious but never mean spirited!

  6. You got anything else, Parrot? Or is that the best you got? If so, you are way out of the shallow end of the pool, sport. I could savage you at this point, but given your weak response, it would be like beating a child. A maladapted, socially inept and severely retarded child at that.

    Look, unless you have some (1) facts and (2) some argument skills beyond ad hominem attacks (you know, what Aristotle called “the last resort of the desperate”), I suggest you move along now. Many if not most of us here have argued or still argue for a LIVING. We are TRAINED. Better than you I might add. In my case, trained by the Jesuits. Very well trained. You are out gunned and besides making yourself look dumber and dumber, you accomplish nothing but sounding like an angry loser. Oh wait, maybe that’s because you are both angry and a loser. Avoid and attack off target, avoid and attack off target . . . tell me, is it uncomfortable to have Rove’s hand up the back of your pants? Psst. Here’s a secret. You CAN’T WIN if you AVOID THE QUESTIONS. A better screen name would be “Stupid Pathetic Angry Monkey”. SPAM for short. That’s what you write and argue like – the monkey none of the other monkeys will groom. Tell me, is it hard to hear the TV over the voices in your head? Or are the RNC’s checks still clearing the bank so you’re doing busy work?

    No matter. You’ve shown yourself a total tool and a complete fool.

  7. A Pardon to Remember

    Published: November 22, 2008

    WHEN President Bill Clinton pardoned a billionaire fugitive from justice on his last day in office, even usually loyal Democrats were dismayed. Representative Henry Waxman of California called it “bad precedent” and “an end run around the judicial process.” He said it appeared to set a double standard for the wealthy and powerful.

    The billionaire was Marc Rich, a commodities trader, and his pardon is a subject of discussion again because Eric Holder, Mr. Clinton’s deputy attorney general at the time and a key figure in the clemency process, is reported to be Barack Obama’s choice for attorney general. In the years since the Rich pardon, Mr. Holder has said he “never devoted a great deal of time to this matter.” He also told an interviewer that, in hindsight, he wished that the Justice Department had been “more fully informed” about the case. As someone who helped cover the story for The Washington Post, I think the issue is far more complicated and deserves more scrutiny if Mr. Holder is to become our top law-enforcement official.

    A little history first. In 1983, Marc Rich was indicted along with his partner, Pincus Green, and their companies on 65 counts of defrauding the I.R.S., mail fraud, tax evasion, racketeering, defrauding the Treasury and trading with the enemy. (The last of these was for an oil deal with Iran while it held American hostages.) On hearing that they were about to be prosecuted, they fled to Switzerland. For the next 17 years, Mr. Rich ducked extradition requests as well as attempts by federal marshals to arrest him in France, England, Finland and elsewhere.




  8. rafflaw and you other wacko lefty creeps:

    You strike me as ignorant obama voters.

    I would like to remind you that when you get 97% of the black vote (13% of the population) and 97% of the gay vote (5% of the population) and 65% of the stupidest of the kiddie (oops, I mean “young voter) votes, you can win almost any election in America. All it means is you are indebteded to those groups beyond anything you can ever hope to pay back.

    Funny how daily now we see Obama welching on everything he said in the campaign.

    What a rude awakening for the stupidest of the kiddie vote.

  9. Chris,
    You may be right, but if they are unable to pass the test on basic facts, isn’t that an indication that they might not have the requisite curiosity to seek the appropriate facts that you speak of?

  10. I’m not so concerned whether or not elected officials can pass a civics test while holding office, but whether they hold the requisite curiosity to seek appropriate facts and knowledge before making decisions that affect civic life. Even people who pass that test with flying colors are capable of making terrible mistakes.

  11. Jill,
    Thanks for your kind words. It does seem like “Bug” doesn’t want to actually have to use facts in his arguments. They just get in the way!

  12. rafflaw,

    I did notice that when you asked for the original source of the information all you got in response was a nasty personal attack. This does not seem like a person who is capable of presenting a reasoned argument.

    I loved your earlier comment on this thread and your explanation of couch “tater” habitat on the goat one! LOL.


  13. Well Said Buddha. Bug never did let us know the source of his alleged facts, but that is what you get from watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh.

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