Congress defined: 'Useless,' 'worthless,' a 'joke'
This word cloud represents the most frequently used words from more than 5,000 submissions on Facebook and Twitter to our #CongressInOneWord challenge.
August 5th, 2014
03:04 PM ET
1 month ago

Congress defined: 'Useless,' 'worthless,' a 'joke'

(CNN) – It can be tough to agree on a single word to describe something that affects every single American.

But when it comes to Congress, the task suddenly doesn't seem so insurmountable.

CNN asked Twitter and Facebook users to describe Congress in one word, and the most popular responses gave a clear verdict.

Congress is “useless,” “worthless,” and a “joke,” according to the most popular responses from over 5,000 respondents on social media.

Still trying to get a pulse on the most common feelings toward Congress? The other words on the top 10 list are “corrupt,” “incompetent,” “lazy,” “inept,” “idiots,” “selfish” and “dysfunctional.”

The one-word descriptions give a clear, colorful picture of the pervasive frustration over a disjointed Congress that can’t seem to break the partisan gridlock.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College poll released Monday showed that only 3% of registered voters view Congress as “productive." Only 15% of Americans approve the job that Congress is doing, according to Gallup polling.

And while dissatisfaction with Congress has faced all-time lows in recent years, a Washington Post-ABC News Poll revealed Tuesday that the disapproval is reaching members in their own districts – where individual representatives have been traditionally safe from the overall discontent.

According to that poll, 51% said they disapprove of how their own representative is “handling his or her job” – the first time that figure has cracked 50%, the Washington Post reported.

On Facebook, some of the commenters couldn’t restrict their feelings to a one-word rebuke.

David Smiley Jr. said, “There isn’t a word nasty enough to describe congress!”

And Loyd Hornsby said he needed just one additional word to characterize the legislature:
“I’ll describe Congress with two words,” he said. “Term Limits!!”

Click here for a high-resolution version of the word cloud.

- CNN's Christina Manduley contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • Politics • Polls • Social Media
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. The Duke

    ...And yet over 90% of Congress will be reelected yet again in the only poll that matters.

    August 5, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. Silence DoGood

    A group of the GOP met when Obama was inaugurated. They publicly swore to oppose whatever he asked for. Not political, just say NO. They were successful in breaking our government and now the People can see this. Hopefully the People will vote accordingly.

    August 5, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. Laverne

    Disgraceful, shameful, racist, hateful, jealous, losers, unpatriotic..........!!!!

    August 5, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Len

    If you do not vote in the mid term elections ( only 37% of registered voters voted in 2010) the 30% of ultra conservatives vote and they elect people that have un-American views and really do not like people who are not white. Vote in November of 2014 (democrats, independents, progressives, moderates). Every election has consequences. We are controlled by 35% of the population right now>>>>>> VOTE in November 2014!!!! If you do not, we will have more crazies in the House and Senate!!!! VOTE!!!!!!!

    August 5, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. ja

    They are really welfare kings and queen, they get money for nothing make corporate connections, then lobby against the masses

    August 5, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    Silence DoGood

    A group of the GOP met when Obama was inaugurated. They publicly swore to oppose whatever he asked for. Not political, just say NO. They were successful in breaking our government and now the People can see this. Hopefully the People will vote accordingly.
    ----------
    Slightly more that 50% of the house are republicans.
    Slightly more than 50% of the senate are democrats.

    But I'm CERTAIN that those derogatory terms people label congress with are directed solely at republicans, eh Silence?

    August 5, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP THE NATIONAL JOKE PARTY , WE WONT PASS ANYTHING AND STILLGET PAID

    The GOP is TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE for the breakdown in congress and will PAY THE PRICE with a MASSIVE DEFEAT in November !!!!!

    August 5, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP THE NATIONAL JOKE PARTY , WE WONT PASS ANYTHING AND STILLGET PAID

    With the likes of GOP representatives like the TEAHAGE BOCHMAN and BLACKBURN and teaparty losers like king Rubio and CRUZ, don't expect anything from these GOP OBSTRUCTIONEST !!!! Vote the WHOLE GOP OUT in November !!!!!

    August 5, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. Gurgyl

    --very incompetent, shame, disgrace, unethical, immoral republican congress. None of these pigs need to be re-elected if USA has any shame. I bow my head down with spite. The most uneducated nation. Very pathetic.

    August 5, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. E

    And this shows how useless polls are.

    How many congressman will be back for ano5 term???

    August 5, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Slightly more that 50% of the house are republicans.
    Slightly more than 50% of the senate are democrats.

    But I'm CERTAIN that those derogatory terms people label congress with are directed solely at republicans, eh Silence?
    -------------------------
    I think most people place blame on the Tea Party, Republicans and Democrats alike.

    August 5, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. Silence DoGood

    @Fair is Fair
    Silence DoGood

    A group of the GOP met when Obama was inaugurated. They publicly swore to oppose whatever he asked for. Not political, just say NO. They were successful in breaking our government and now the People can see this. Hopefully the People will vote accordingly.
    ----
    Slightly more that 50% of the house are republicans.
    Slightly more than 50% of the senate are democrats.

    But I'm CERTAIN that those derogatory terms people label congress with are directed solely at republicans, eh Silence?
    -----------
    Yes based on the evidence:

    2012 – Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). met to pledge to stop anything Obama wanted, essentially breaking the governmnet.

    What was the group of Dems who did the same thing?

    August 5, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Ian's Rushtache

    Fair is Fair says:
    August 5, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm
    Silence DoGood

    A group of the GOP met when Obama was inaugurated. They publicly swore to oppose whatever he asked for. Not political, just say NO. They were successful in breaking our government and now the People can see this. Hopefully the People will vote accordingly.
    —————————-
    Slightly more that 50% of the house are republicans.
    Slightly more than 50% of the senate are democrats.

    But I’m CERTAIN that those derogatory terms people label congress with are directed solely at republicans, eh Silence?
    ______________________

    Clever use of percentages to hide the numerical difference between the two. Don't worry though,, most Muricans aren't smart enough to question your "stats".

    August 5, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. MaryM

    This is what happens when Americans dont vote. You get these extreme republican TP that want to destroy the American peoples government rather than compromise. Please Americans, vote these TP extremist out of Congress

    August 5, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. it must be said

    Every one of those words can also be applied to Obama!!

    August 5, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. yeathright

    Slightly more that 50% of the house are republicans.
    Slightly more than 50% of the senate are democrats.

    But I'm CERTAIN that those derogatory terms people label congress with are directed solely at republicans, eh Silence?
    -----–

    Slightly more than 50% of the House is all that is needed to pass/or not pass anything. Slightly more than 50% of the Senate is not enough to overcome a filibuster by the minority. It is pretty obvious where the labels should be directed.

    August 5, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Ol' Yeller

    @Fair
    "Slightly more that 50% of the house are republicans.
    Slightly more than 50% of the senate are democrats.

    But I'm CERTAIN that those derogatory terms people label congress with are directed solely at republicans, eh Silence?"

    Not sure how you turned Silence's post into this, but I'll bite...
    I totally disagree that most the derogatory terms people label Congress are directed solely at the republicants, in fact, I'd venture to say the better part of them are directed at Dems.
    It has been my experience that Dems tend to be more optimistic and idealistic in what Congress or government can/cannot do. while righties tend to be more negative and hateful (admit it, you guys run whole campaigns on how terrible our government is all the time)... so I'd say MOST the negative terms are contrubuted by righties towards the Dems in their never ceasing effort to make our Democracy fail, so they can get busy enslaving all you rubes into the corporate oligarchy.
    I have made no secret on here of my bellief that this is the righty plan... it is a fairly in your face and sad stategy which is likely doomed to failure,
    but hey... last ditch efforts usually are.

    August 5, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. Ol' Yeller

    @ja

    They are really welfare kings and queen (yes, they are called corporations), they get money for nothing make corporate connections (no, they don't make corprate connections, they are the corporations... and they get humongous amounts of corporate welfare every year and rarely have to pay any taxes because they usually get huge rebates on the backs of the poor and middle class- like you said... money for nothing), then lobby against the masses (yes, they do do that. They have an entire foreign owned propaganda network designed to solely to undermine people's faith in the government so they can end our Democracy and take over our country)

    August 5, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Rick McDaniel

    That is Reid and Obama........they are the ones preventing the Congress from functioning as they are intended to function.

    August 5, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    " ... ... . so I'd say MOST the negative terms are contrubuted by righties towards the Dems in their never ceasing effort to make our Democracy fail, so they can get busy enslaving all you rubes into the corporate oligarchy.

    I have made no secret on here of my bellief that this is the righty plan... it is a fairly in your face and sad stategy which is likely doomed to failure."
    ----------------------------------
    I made no secret of holding that belief, either. The entire "trickle down economic theory" is just a smoke screen to disguise the true objective of cutting and eliminating taxes for big money. But, you left on piece of the puzzle. In addition to creating an oligarchy, which our nation's founders revolted against, they also want to create a theocracy, something else which our nation's founders revolted against.

    August 5, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. Ol' Yeller

    it must be said

    "Every one of those words can also be applied to Obama!!"

    In your haste to criticize the President (as usual), you failed to see how wrong you are (as usual).
    I will point it out for you (as usual).
    President Obama is not a Republican(t) so that word would not apply.
    He is not what one would normally call 'right' in the political sense of the word, so you are wrong there also. You probably ain't gonna win on the word 'white' either.
    You are also wrong that the words rascist, clueless, overpaid, useless, incompetent, worthless, unproductive, or many of these words would apply to President Obama.
    I will concede good, better, work, and Democrats to fall under his description though.
    The rest are on the list of adjectives describing republicants in wikipedia, though.

    August 5, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. anonymous

    i wonder why the left wing controlled media rarely ever mentions the democrat controlled senate and all the obstruction done there by senile harry reid and the democrats? he simply refuses to vote on anything or allow republican amendments to bills and has caused a total shutdown of the senate. this then allows obama to attack congress which the left wing media has convinced many people consists only of the house. as usual the american people are being played for fools and conned by the democrats and their propaganda wing, the main street media.

    August 5, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Tony D

    Yeah but only the DEMOCRAT PARTY jammed Obamacare down our throats and then lied about it for years, along with the Liar of the Year Obama. These polls and stories are how the Democrat controlled MSM is going to try and deflect from that fact.

    August 5, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. HenryMiller

    I'd love to see the word cloud for Obama.

    August 5, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. HenryMiller

    @Silence DoGood: "A group of the GOP met when Obama was inaugurated. They publicly swore to oppose whatever he asked for. Not political, just say NO. They were successful in breaking our government..."

    And the Democrats said "Elections have consequences. We won. Screw you." thereby breaking government some more.

    August 5, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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