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
7 years 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.

[twitter-follow screen_name='jdiamond93'][twitter-follow screen_name='ericweisbrod']

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. RA

    simple – vote every one of them out this year!

    August 5, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. Tom l

    Rudy NYC says:
    August 5, 2014 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm
    Tom l

    To all the people that blame the dems or all the people that blame the repubs, you do realize that you also support a party that shares in this incessant need for for you to place blame and unquestionably share, at least in part, to this culpability???
    ——————————————————————————-
    Hypocrite. Don’t you remember how many times that you made posts blaming *both* Democrats and Republicans?

    ----

    For a guy that talks down to others and tells them they need reading comprehension, this is truly hysterical. Perhaps you should read one more time as I do blame "both" sides.

    August 5, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Hillary Inathong

    Looks like Obama, "the Great Uniter" who was supposed to usher in an "unprecedented era of cooperation" has truly failed.

    Real Presidents lead, work, bargain, and compromise (Bill Clinion, Ronald Reagan, etc.)

    This "Amatuer" Community Organizer has proven time and time again that he is beyond his capabilities.

    August 5, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. Lizzie

    yeathright, is that why Harry Reid invoked the nuclear option, so he can get whatever he wants.
    You hear day in day out from democrats and liberals, it's not our fault the republicans done it. We are innocent of all charges the republicans done it. We try, that's why we went on summer vacation, because the house under republicans stayed in DC to try to do something, and that we can't have. We follow the President blindly, but the republicans will not do that. So It's ALL the republicans fault and if we can't blame them, we make stuff up.

    August 5, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. 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.

    August 5, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. John

    And yet, for some unexplainable reason, they will be re-elected!! It boggles the mind.

    August 5, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. hngkngphoey

    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. Can Silence clarify when those comments were made? Seems to me that Obama got what he wanted during his 1st term. Just an observation based on a little thing called facts.

    PS. If you are going to try and snipe my comments, make sure you use facts. Mine are spot on, are yours?

    August 5, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. hngkngphoey

    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. Can Silence clarify when those comments were made? Seems to me that Obama got what he wanted during his 1st term. Just an observation based on a little thing called facts.

    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?

    August 5, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. 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%.

    August 5, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Francis Underwood

    This was according to my plan...

    August 5, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    @Hillary Inathong
    This "Amatuer" Community Organizer has proven time and time again that he is beyond his capabilities.
    --------------
    AND at the same time conservative ranters call him a total controlling dictator that ha pulled off the most perfect cover-ups and take over in history. You do know that is the opposite, right?

    August 5, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. peick

    Congress represents us. We elected people who will support our own pet interests. We only pay attention to the ones who have reached us with their message. It takes money to do that. We vote on sound bites. We want to shut out the other side and win the culture war.

    When you blame your elected officials, don't forget to point the finger homeward at the same time.

    August 5, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. 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.

    August 5, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oh look, we get to cuss-out Congress critters with CNN's blessings....yawn.
    We need to VOTE.
    Our vote is the biggest slap in the face we can deliver to these country-hating, indolent moochers.

    August 5, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. 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.

    August 5, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. Bill

    @Johnson

    If you are going to post, try not to exaggerate your ignorance. You convieniently omit the fact that this country was brought to the brink of economic collapse by a Republican president and his policies; remember financial crisis in 2008 – – worst economic downturn since Great Depression. 700,000+ jobs a month lost for the first few months of that debacle. Not to mention the stock market bottoming out around 6400. And, the GOP controlled House has done nothing to improve economic conditions in this country. Despite their obstruction at every turn, jobs are returning and things are improving. Apparently you think shutting down the government was a useful exercise. And all you bible-beating red-staters are the biggest recipients of government largess, i.e. unemployment, food and housing assistance, but want to get the government out of peoples lives. Maybe we should start there?

    August 5, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. T.W.A

    Hey CNN , Republicans have put a stack of bills on the desk of Harry Reid and this nonfunctional senate, that get shot down , not even read , so the senate is just as guilty at not working with the house, where do you go and get these polls , low information voters that has no idea what goes on in Washington, but what these Obama liberals tell them !

    August 5, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Michael McB

    When the Declaration of Independence was written, the Founders understood that for Liberty to thrive a "decent respect for the opinions of others (sic)" was required. Without it we are screwed. I think we're screwed.

    August 5, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  19. caeser

    immature,immoral,blowhard,petulant,impious,feeble minded,feckless,buffoons,bunglers,traitors,

    August 5, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. emskadittle

    its time for the do nothings republicans in the congress to be voted out!

    August 5, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  21. Kevin

    Divided Congress = Divided Country. We put them there. They vote yay or nay on bills based on whether they will get re-elected. This is why we need longer but limited terms. Do a 6 year term for the President and 3 years for Congressmen, with the option for re-election once for Congressmen. 6 years is all the President gets.

    August 5, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  22. Flexman

    Can't believe 15% approve of the job Congress is doing....where do this people live.

    August 5, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. rs

    Well, let's see: Congressional Approval at an all-time low. The House of Representative s has been firmly in the hands of Mr. Boehner (R), and his anti-American TEA Party members.
    Score 1 for the GOP.

    The Senate while technically populated with more Democrats, cannot over-ride the GOP's demand of a supermajority to pass anything. Thus Mr. McConnell has set a historic record for the most filibusters (500+) in 4 years. Just to make things better, 37 of our embassies around the world (including our in Russia) are essentially unmanned because along with the filibusters, the GOPpers in the Senate have placed holds on all of those presidential appointments- likewise with federal judgeships, and agency heads. Thus, while the GOP does not technically control the Senate, they have largely made it inoperative, and they have gotten to damage Executive agencies and the Judicial branch collaterally. Score 2 for the GOP

    Congress is massively unpopular- and the GOP made that possible. I bet they are very proud of their accomplishment.

    August 5, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. readerpan

    hngkngphoey
    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
    +++++++++++++++
    Sorry hng-
    but The House changed hands in 2010.

    August 5, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. American Worker

    Not our representation.

    Until we stop giving our blind trust to the party oligarchs, Congress will not be our.

    August 5, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
1 2 3 4