08/22/2013 08:13 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

14 Reasons Everyone Thinks Politicians Are The Worst


It's no secret that people don't think highly of politicians. Disapproval of Congress has reached unprecedented lows -- even cockroaches and colonoscopies have gotten a higher approval rating (though nobody has polled cockroaches performing colonoscopies).

Below, 14 reasons why everyone thinks politicians are the worst:

1. They don't live by the rules they make.

If we catalogued all the emails and comments we get from readers angry at lawmakers, one of the most frequent would be fury at the gold-plated health care members of Congress get, or a general insinuation or assumption that lawmakers simply aren't submitting themselves to the laws they make the rest of us follow. A related disdain is reserved for "family values" congressmen -- almost always men -- who vote to condemn the private lives of other people, while secretly living the very life they call immoral.

Need examples? See Mark Sanford, Mark Foley, Larry Craig...

2. They just can't tell the truth.

Richard Nixon is the poster child, of course.

richard nixon

But there have been other liars in politics, including Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner and John Edwards.

James Clapper, meanwhile, flat-out lied to the Senate and public about the activities of the National Security Agency, and later sort-of apologized by saying he had given the "least untruthful' answer he could think of. Thanks!

3. They say they'll do one thing, then go and do the complete opposite.

chris christie

In April, Chris Christie recommended a ban on Barrett .50-caliber rifles. In August, Christie vetoed a ban on .50-caliber rifles.

And let's not get started on the infamous flip-flops of Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Rick Scott, Michael Bloomberg and more.

Or, of course, Barack Obama, who has flipped on Social Security cuts, surveillance, and plenty else.

4. They tell the worst jokes.

(Mitt Romney has a million of these.)

5. They vote 40 times to repeal things that won't be repealed.

6. They can't get anything done.

harry reid mitch mcconnell

The 113th Congress is on track to be the least productive in history. The 112th wasn't any better.

7. They're way rich. And a lot of them mysteriously got rich on a congressional salary.

Al Gore is reportedly worth $200 million. In May 2012, Forbes estimated Mitt Romney's net worth was $230 million. Darrell Issa is currently the wealthiest member of Congress with a net worth of $355 million.

Think that's a lot? Michael Bloomberg's net worth is a whopping $27 billion.

michael bloomberg

Harry Reid grew up in a cabin with a dirt floor and an outhouse. He's now a millionaire many times over. How's that happen???

8. They get a really long vacation, even after spending months not doing their job.

And after taking a summer recess that most people don't think they deserve, members of the House of Representatives will come back for a grueling 9-day work month in September. Sounds rough.

9. They say Congress should be judged on the number of bills it repeals, not the number it passes.

Boehner FTW.

10. They make threats but then totally forget what they're talking about.

Who could forget this classic Rick Perry moment?

And that's not Perry's only big "oops" moment.

11. They host events where tickets cost more than an entire household's yearly median income, because a regular person could totally get in on that.

12. They give out endorsements and then don't even vote.

Eliot Spitzer wrote a column called "Why I'm Voting For Barack Obama" in 2012, then failed to vote at all.

13. They take tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from campaign donors and chalk it off as a "force of circumstances."

It is hard not to accept gifts, Bob McDonnell. But you can probably do it if you try.

14. They spend all day talking to rich people.

The ever-pressing need to raise millions of dollars to run for reelection means that lawmakers spend more time calling rich people on the phone than doing anything else. Seriously. And people who can cut checks for thousands of dollars to a member of Congress are not your average people -- and that warps a lawmakers' perspective. You'd turn into a jerk too if this was your schedule:

call time2



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