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Liberalism: Why think when you can “feel”?

Elected officials know even less about Constitution than general public does

Our government schools have done quite a job over the last several decades of degrading our kids’ knowledge of the founding legal basis of our republic.  Apparently, running for office for some of these people hasn’t helped.  Details:

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.

The survey asks 33 basic civics questions, many taken from other nationally recognized instruments like the U.S. Citizenship Exam. It also asks 10 questions related to the U.S. Constitution.

So what did we find? Well, to put it simply, the results are not pretty.

Elected officials at many levels of government, not just the federal government, swear an oath to “uphold and protect” the U.S. Constitution.

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.”)

You can take the quiz yourself — click here.

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. …

Phil Hare was unavailable for comment.

We routinely see our elected officials, especially at the federal level, ignore the Constitution.  I guess we now know why: they haven’t the first friggin’ clue what it says.

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January 14, 2011 - Posted by | Constitution, shameful

2 Comments »

  1. Sad to think since many of them are attorneys.

    Comment by Lori | January 16, 2011

  2. All the more reason people shouldn’t elect or in some cases re-elect these goons. These guys are supposed to be our betters what a joke.

    Comment by SojournerLove | January 19, 2011


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