How sick and desperate and unbelievably hopeless is the current Congress? One leading scholar told Matt Taibbi — author of this issue's cover story, "The Worst Congress Ever" — that the 109th Congress is so bad, "It makes you wonder if democracy is a failed experiment." Before you are convinced thusly by Taibbi's unbelievable report, preview the five ways our lawmakers have become a stable of thieves and perverts.
RULE BY IRON FIST
Republicans are so brazen that when Democrats attempted to keep a meeting going longer than was convenient for House Judiciary chair James Sensenbrenner Jr., he simply picked up his gavel and left the room, disconnecting the microphones and turning off the lights.
DO AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE
House members will collect their $165,000 paychecks for only three months of actual work. On nine "workdays" this year, the House held not a single vote — meeting for less than eleven minutes. The Senate beat them with three workdays this year that lasted less than one minute.
LET BUSH DO WHATEVER HE WANTS
During perhaps the most significant hearing in advance of invading Iraq, the Senate Armed Services Committee's venerable and powerful chairman, Sen. John Warner, went in deep and asked if the Army could fight in both North Korea and Iraq — at the same time. The presiding general said yes. And that was about as sophisticated as it got.
SPEND AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
This year, more than sixty-five percent of all the money borrrowed in the entire world will be borrowed by America — a statistic fueled by the speed junkie spending habits of our supposedly fiscally-conservative Congress.
POCKET AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
This is Congress in a nutshell: A guy like Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who took $2 million in bribes, is too dumb to know that he's guilty.
Find out just how dumb Cunningham is Wednesday when we debut the full article, plus our picks for the 10 Worst Congressmen. (Not registered to vote? Register here and see a quick list of deadlines here.)