Radar’s Ten Dumbest Congressmen

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Radar has fun detailing “America’s Dumbest Congressmen.” Readers of Mother Jones‘ regular feature “The Diddly Award” will know many of the names and anecdotes already but when it comes to the antics of wise legislators such as Jim Bunning, Katherine Harris, and Patrick Kennedy, is it possible for familiarity to breed even more contempt?

Update, May 26, 2010: Hi Huffington Post readers! That Radar link (to their 2006 feature on America’s “dumbest” members of Congress) doesn’t work anymore, probably because of Radar’s complicated history. I’ve reproduced the list here for your convenience (minus Radar’s commentary, which I can’t find in a complete form is available on the internet archive—thanks, Anon.):

10. Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)
9. Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)
8. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT)
7. Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)
6. Representative Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
5. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
4. Representative J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)
3. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)
2. Representative Donald Young (R-AK)
1. Representative Katherine Harris (R-FL)

A lot of these folks are no longer in Congress. Burns (8) lost to Jon Tester in 2006. McKinney (7) lost to Hank Johnson (of “Guam capsizing” fame) in a Democratic primary the same year. J.D. Hayworth is no longer a member of the House, but he’s running against John McCain in the GOP senate primary in Arizona. Harris (1) ran for Senate in 2006 and lost. Vern Buchanan now holds her House seat. Bunning (10) and Kennedy (9) are retiring this year. That leaves Schmidt (6), Boxer (5), Inhofe (3), and Young (2) still in Congress. None of those four seem particularly “dumb” to me, although I disagree with some of them on the issues. Anyway, here’s Mother Jones being mean about some of these very same folks back in 2006. 

—Nick Baumann

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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