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
5 months 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. Phil in KC

    I'm not on Facebook or Twitter. But my one word would be "conflicted". There's too much conflict and not enough cooperation. Of course, to one extent or another, we voters created a lot of that. We have chosen candidates that are more polar in their viewpoints.

    August 5, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. rs

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    When Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, the Senate and House were controlled by Democrats. When he was re-elected in 2012, that is when the House went Republican and the Senate remained Democrat.

    PS. If you are going to try and trash (apparently using the word sn.ipe gets me flagged for moderation) my comments, make sure you use facts. Mine are spot on, are yours?
    -----------------–
    Hmm.
    I thought the House went Republican in 2010.
    But hey, you got your comment posted, for whatever that's worth, evidently not much what with your lack of FACTS and all.
    ____________________
    yeah, it was 2010- they promised "laser-like" focus on jobs and the economy...... Who would think the GOP had a sense of humor? What we got were lazy, do-for-nothing welfare queens from the Right.

    August 5, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. Meta Shepherd

    The "great unifier" could have done the job had not the Republicans vowed to make him fail, even before his term began.

    August 5, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. Ol' Yeller

    @Lizzie

    Ol'Yeller, is that why Haim Saban and Tom Steyer publicly stated they will spend as much money as it takes to by the senate WH for the democrats.

    Uh, I don't know.... I don't think I watch the same channel as you. But, I would venture to guess that it is maybe because the SCOTUS told them this was okay.
    I'm sure they tried to interpret the law to be where only republicants could buy (you wrote by, but I assume you meant buy... if not, I may be way off here...) Senators and other political offices, but after their little fiasco where they elected dubya with their 'one time' decision (bush v. Gore- where the SCOTUS rammed bush down our throats... that decision was only good for that particular case. In other words, if it happens again and the roles are reversed, they can choose the other way and still ram a republicant down our throats).
    So that would be my guess.... the 5 members making up the right wing reactionary majority in the SCOTUS in their zeal to help republicants destroy America and hasten their plan of slavery for you and your army of dittoheads opened the door for everyone to spend their money in the political spectrum with no limits or accountability.
    I didn't really like that decision, but your side went nuts for it... I would assume you would be happy.

    Never fear though... the Dems won the last election despite the crazy amount of money rove and his confederacy of dunces had to spend, so your side could still win if you had enough people to vote for yo.... (oh yeah, you don;t have a lot of actual people to vote for you guys, just some people with a lot of money... might ought stick with that disenfranchising the poor, minorities, women, students, and LGBT etc.... that might work in the short run).

    August 5, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. keltie1

    The sad part here is that polls like this don't even seem to phase them! Nothing changes so, as one person said, term limits and being held accountable are the best options to help make them see the light!!

    August 5, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. rs

    RussInSpokane

    Harry Reid has not allowed any GOP sponsored bill, or budget, come to a vote in 6 years. It does not matter if the GOP has tried to stall the Obama agenda, the Senator from Nevada will not allow the senate to vote for or against it anyway. If anyone is the problem it's Harry Reid. Get rid of that fossil if you want the country to move forward.
    ___________________________
    And you know that Mr. McConnell resorted to filibustering HIS OWN Bills rather than let them go to a vote in the Senate and be passed, right?

    You really want to screw things up? Elect a Republican to higher office.

    August 5, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Sigh

    "This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders." – George Carlin

    August 5, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Lizzie

    Bill, yes lets start with those so-called red states, first would be DC who get $5.25 for every dollar contributed.
    You conveniently forgot that the Economic collapse was thanks to the democrats running the country since 2006

    August 5, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Rob

    Ask the same question of Obama. I dare you

    August 5, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. Thugvon

    OLD!....Quit voting in these lifers!

    August 5, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. olepoopy

    one word – constipated

    August 5, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. Longtimer

    Republicans in Congress are little better than treasonous curs. If al Qaeda (or any other non-domestic group) did half the damage to the U.S. that the GOP has actually accomplished we'd be in frenzy to go to war with them. The GOP and their foreign owned news organization spews lies and propaganda daily, completely unfettered by facts or morality. Shameful.

    August 5, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. John In CA

    In it for a minute.....selfish

    August 5, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. Tony Phillips

    Congress, be it Republicans or Democrats are going to cause a revolution in this country one way or another. They are simply overpaid and take way too many bribes to be effective representatives of the people.

    August 5, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  15. karen Mccleskey

    they are like kids with the latest video game. nothing seems to matter except winning for their point of view. congress forgets that they are playing withREAL PEOPLES LIVES in their games.

    August 5, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. Ol' Yeller

    @Johnson

    Better to pass no laws than Obama's socialist agenda.

    If the democrats still controlled the House, the DOW would be stalled at 5,000 and Unemployment would be 16%.

    Appropriate handle there, I believe.... johnson
    I don't get your reasoning though.... since the House has done nada, zilch, zero, to work with the President (just like they promised) and the President still manages to create jobs, cut the deficit, and keep the markets strong.... what makes you think we wouldn't be trucking right along if the leadership in Congress helped?
    They are standing on the brakes and he has still managed to get us out of the ditch facing the worst and most hateful opposition I have witnessed in my lifetime (but it isn't because he is black!), yet you seem to reason out that if he had assistance in moving his agenda forward this would somehow result in a worse case scenario...???

    Wait... I think I get it! Because when your 'non-socialist' neo con buddies were in total control and moving the country in the direction the republicants actually want it to go... well, you dam near got those results,,,, didn't you?
    When your agenda is to destroy to America, you republicants have an excellent plan. We saw it the last time we allowed you to drive and I for one do not wish to see it again.
    Anyone else want to go back to the 'good old days'?

    August 5, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. Tampa Tim

    143 bills have passed the house. Most are about repealing ACA and women's rights. Republicans are unfit to govern.

    August 5, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. bertimus

    No One Used the Right Words. CRIMINALLY CORRUPT PAID GANGSTERS!

    August 5, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. Mark

    Now that corporations are "people", this will only get worse

    August 5, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  20. rick

    The only comments I could make.. Would be unprintable because there are ladies present. But this is the truth. Greatest invention was the mute button on the remote. Thats what is wore out the fastest on mine. The only thing any of them are good for is spending money thats not theirs..

    August 5, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. Chris..E.Al

    All of you good ppl will be poor like these leftist on here if you support the dems as they do ? Its alriight you can come out now the public library is closed .

    August 5, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. Tampa Tim

    And wingnuts think putting an orange drunk in charge of the house was a good idea.

    August 5, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. OBAMA - THE OPEN BORDERS PRESIDENT

    No doubt about it and all of those words apply to Obama also.

    August 5, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  24. Chris..E.Al

    All of you good ppl will be poor like these leftist on here if you support the dems as they do ? Its alriight you can come out now the public library is closed . ?

    August 5, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. Ol' Yeller

    @Mama
    " When he was re-elected in 2012, that is when the House went Republican and the Senate remained Democrat.

    PS. If you are going to try and trash (apparently using the word sn.ipe gets me flagged for moderation) my comments, make sure you use facts. Mine are spot on, are yours?
    -----––
    Hmm.
    I thought the House went Republican in 2010.
    But hey, you got your comment posted, for whatever that's worth, evidently not much what with your lack of FACTS and all."

    Hahahahahaahahahahahaahahahahaaha.... spot on 'facts'. Hahahahahaahahahahahaahahahahaaha.... What a ruuube!?!?
    Hahahahahaahahahahahaahahahahaaha.... Love those faux news 'facts'!!!!
    And you got him moderated.... Hahahahahaahahahahahaahahahahaaha.... shame, shame....
    Whew... tears to my eyes, I tell you....
    spot on!

    August 5, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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