Friday, January 19, 2007

Fantasy Congress Update: Who's Hot and Who's Not

As I described in an earlier blog entry, I signed up for a public league in Fantasy Congress in late October 2006. Obviously, this was before the November elections, and I did my homework before selecting my team of legislators. I listened to the pundits. I walked the streets, trying to gauge public opinion. I watched C-SPAN. I called several psychic hotlines. In the end, I gambled all on the belief that the Democrats would gain control of both Houses of Congress. The gamble paid off. Well, it paid off in a figurative sense. No money changed hands, or anything like that.

It’s been almost three months since I joined the league. It’s high time to see how my team, the “Bayou Boyz” is doing.

The Top Gun

So far, my team MVP has been Rep. Mary Bono from California’s 45th District. She’s my leading scorer with 95 points. Rep. Bono co-sponsored H.R. 6429, the purpose of which is to treat payments by charitable organizations to a certain class of firefighters as exempt payments. This piece of legislation alone was worth 40 points. If/when it meets with Presidential approval, there will be plenty more points where those came from. Unfortunately, with the Dems having taken control, I may eventually have to bench Rep. Bono. Still, I will never forget her contribution.

Pulling Their Weight

Rep. Charles Rangel, of New York’s 15th District, has definitely been a solid contributor. His 85 points make him my team’s second-leading scorer. I didn’t join the league until the House of Representatives had already passed this piece of legislation, but H.R. 1472 was passed by the Senate on November 16 and signed by President Bush on December 18. This meant 80 points for the Bayou Boyz. The purpose of the bill, incidentally, was to designate the U.S. Postal Service Facility on 167 E. 124th Street in New York, New York, as the “Tito Puente Post Office Building.” It doesn’t get much better than that.

Tito Puente

Rep. Spencer Bachus, 6th District, Alabama, has chipped in with 30 points. He co-sponsored H.R. 6345, passed by the Senate on December 8. This bill’s purpose is to make a conforming amendment to the Federal Deposit Insurance Act with respect to the exemption of certain insured depository institutions.

Waiting for Them to "Heat Up"

The Junior Senator from New York, Hilary Rodham Clinton, is also on my team. I know her presidential aspirations might be a distraction, but I’m confident in her ability to multi-task. She’s scored 10 points so far, from 2 pieces of legislation addressing, respectively, nuclear terrorism and the collection of crime data relating to the occurrence of school-related crime in elementary schools and secondary schools.

Rep. Barney Frank of the 4th District of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has contributed 5 points. I’m expecting big things from Rep. Frank this legislative session.


I’m confident that the rest of my lineup, which includes the Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and seasoned veterans like Sen. Edward Kennedy, Sen. Evan Bayh, and Sen. Joe Biden, and Rep. John Murtha, will be a finely honed legislative machine.

The Bayou Boyz are currently ranked 46th out of 100 teams. Keep in mind, however, that I joined the league much later in the game than many of those currently ranked ahead of me.

What I’ve Learned

I went through a brief period my third year of law school during which I watched quite a bit of C-SPAN. Since signing up to play Fantasy Congress, I’ve once again been tuning in to C-SPAN and C-SPAN2. I discovered that if we were attending the same cocktail party, I’d only recognize Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada if he were wearing a nametag and sporting a button that said “Kiss Me, I’m the New Senate Majority Leader”. I’ve also been reminded of why I stopped watching C-SPAN during my third year of law school. I’m not saying that these Congressional sessions can get boring, but . . .hmm, actually that’s exactly what I’m saying. I guess, at the end of the day, I’d rather watch paint dry than watch the television equivalent of someone describing the paint-drying process. I’m just old-fashioned that way, I guess.

Ultimately, for me, Fantasy Congress is not just about competing against a bunch of people I don’t know and will likely never meet. No, Fantasy Congress is about much more than that. Of course, I’d be disappointed with a poor finish. I could see myself being devastated to the point where, after smashing my computer in a fit of rage, I might lapse into a state of near catatonic despondency. But, that’s not really the point. The point is that it’s clear to me already that this league has spurred me to take a much closer look at this country’s legislative process. And that’s the essence of Fantasy Congress.

Fantasy Congress

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