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The Astros were an overwhelming success … compared to Congress

Nov 7, 2013, 2:24 PM EDT

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My Twitter friend @baseballot hipped me to some Texas poll numbers from Public Policy Polling. They’re almost all political, but then you get to the end:

And finally- we’ve found a lot of pretty degrading poll numbers for Congress over the course of this year, but this might be the worst one. The Houston Astros went 51-111 this season, but no matter- by a 65/10 margin Texans think they did a better job than Congress this year. And there’s no party divide on that question as Republicans (65/14) and Democrats (64/10) pick the Astros in almost equal numbers on that question.

I guess it’s the difference between a team that has hit bottom and is rebuilding and one that still thinks it’s winning but is really a tire fire.

  1. raysfan1 - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Sometimes I think it’s a sin when I feel like I’m winning when I’m losing again.

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 7, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      Incidentally, I was listening to that song earlier today.

      • proudlycanadian - Nov 7, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        I was listening to several Lightfoot songs including Sundown, If You Could Read My Mind and The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 7, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        I was humming “Sundown” to myself as I read the post. Seemed a propos.

      • km9000 - Nov 7, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        For whatever reason, Sundown takes me back the most.

        It’s too bad singers like him would never come close to getting airplay on the “hit” stations these days.

    • raysfan1 - Nov 7, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      “A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.” Is that a confession? NBC has certainly been working hard to thwart spammers and yet here you are.

  2. APBA Guy - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    That’s pretty funny, I hope the Astros improve this year. I’m not sure winning the West by pummeling one team more than your nearest rival did is good preparation for facing top teams in the playoffs.

  3. NYTolstoy - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    oh Craig. We do indeed agree.

  4. cohnjusack - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    And yet, despite the fact that almost all of America can agree Congress is doing a terrible job, about 90% of Congressmen will be re-elected in 2014.

    What America wants and what America votes for are very different things far too often.

    • chacochicken - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      If the Astros can gerrymander their division and play against the Marlins, Twins, White Sox, and Mariners then they’ve got a shot.

    • sdelmonte - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Well, obviously YOUR congressman/senator is a no-good Commie/Fascist/Kenyan Muslim/member of the Paul family. But MINE is a paragon of porkbarrel virtue.

    • paperlions - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      True enough…but that is typically due to the illusion of choice. The voting public rarely has a chance to vote for what it wants or what it needs and it really never knows what it is voting for since running for office is an exercise in disingenuity. In general, our choices are a giant douche and a turd sandwich.

    • cohnjusack - Nov 7, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      There are a few problems with excusing this voting behavior

      1. Most people pay zero attention to primaries, especially during non-Presidential election season. When they do, the rarely seem to pay any attention to anyone opposing their current Congressman and instead make their choice based on familiarity.

      2. True, many times Congressman run unopposed in primaries. Fortunately, virtually every precinct has party headquarters to be involved in, and, if they are the minority party in your district, would probably love to have your help/money.

      3. Make gerrymandering an issue in state elections. Everyone bitches about gerrymandering in the abstract, but I’ve never seen a State Senate candidate have to answer questions on his stance on it while running for office.

      4. Have a candidate you like who is losing? Volunteer for them! You’re supporting a person running for public office, not a the manager of Baskin-Robbins. So what if they’re going to lose by a mile, you build their profile and give them a better shot at next time, and hopefully get a few converts along the way. Elections need to be looked at long-term.

      5. No one running. Then run for office yourself. If you think “oh, that’s stupid”, remember that Alan Green was a major party candidate for Senate. And you don’t have to run for senate, run for councilman, the House of Representatives, State Senate….the people in there are no better than you.

      Now, if you’ll excuse, I will continue to do none of this things and instead chide others for their inaction. I own my hypocrisy.

      • cohnjusack - Nov 7, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        Alan Green was a major party candidate for Senate.

        That should be ALVIN GREENE.

      • chacochicken - Nov 7, 2013 at 4:06 PM

        Check out his reasons for running. Glorious

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Nov 7, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      Seems to me the problem includes several factors. With the exception of President, most people simply vote party lines. In addition, most people love to complain without actually bothering to get involved and knowing who their representatives are. (Although amusingly, most people can name 20 players on their favorite baseball team). (I’d really love a little notation on the ballot noting who is an incumbent.) The people who are in tend to have more name recognition, and more funding, so then it’s easier to get re-elected. (Even if you don’t really know their name it sounds familiar when looking at a ballot, then that familiarity gets the vote.

      Of course everything I said above is a generality, and in no way is a true representation of everyone, simply the public at large.

  5. cur68 - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    ooooooo…sick burn, Astros. Sick burn. Way to out poll y’guv-ment. For once, Stex will be happy. I think.

    • stex52 - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      Well, it is true that I like the Astros better than I like my congressman.

      But I’m not very happy with the Astros, either.

      • cur68 - Nov 7, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        oh. Sorry Stex.

  6. chill1184 - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Astros at the very least have a plan, government? Not so much

    • skids003 - Nov 7, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      Yeah, they don’t have tp pass it to find out what’s in it.

  7. Liam - Nov 7, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Looks like those clowns in Congress did it again. What a bunch of clowns.

    • cohnjusack - Nov 7, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      How does you keep up with the news like that?!?

  8. nbjays - Nov 7, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    But the real test of how bad congress is will be how they poll vs Jeff Loria among Miami residents – specifically Marlins fans and Old Gator. I’m taking Scrooge McLoria by a narrow margin.

  9. 461deep - Nov 7, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Also, to paraphrase as the Babe once said > I had a better year than you Mr. President. Our current Prez is slumping badly into the Presidential Menddoza line. Houston was horrible in September having seemingly to lose any semblance effort. Before that they were just a. last place team that won a few games.

  10. Anoesis - Nov 8, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    My old, incontinent dog made it outside this morning instead of crapping on the carpet again. An overwhelming success compared to Congress.

    Unless, of course, you understand what Congress itself considers success. It isn’t difficult to figure out. The first step to understanding is to disassociate yourself of any idea that Congress exists to serve anyone other than itself and its big-money friends. High office is attained through contacts, specifically wealthy contacts. Behind closed doors you can easily obtain the financial largess required to run a successful campaign for office by making specific promises regarding certain legislation you promise to support benefiting said deep-pocket donors.

    Then you take the campaign money and find out what hot buttons “energize” the political base you claim to represent. Utilizing those hot-button issues during the campaign to make yourself look good (and your opponent look bad) generates further exposure (stay away from taking any selfies, apparently cameras tend to focus on the crotch area) along with more donations.

    Don’t make the mistake of actually trying to explain anything you intend to do once elected, just rail against what you know your target audience already fears. If they don’t fear anything (highly doubtful) be sure to find something you can manipulate to look like an imminent threat. It is important to be intimately familiar with your target audience no matter how distasteful that is likely to be.

    Be sure to take into account Americans’ needy desire to be associated with a winner. You can be pretty much a world-class scumbag as long as you cultivate the appearance of a winner. An added bonus is that once they’ve claimed you as their own they will go out of their way to defend your scumbag actions. No one likes to admit they’ve been hoodwinked into backing a butthole.

    The act of running for political office requires a certain set of talents that do not in any way relate to the talents necessary to actually discharge the duties of said office. Once you’ve won, most of your time will be spent raising money for the next contest anyway. Many pols hurt their own reputations as winners by actually attempting to govern. When they inevitably fail, this exposes them to needless criticism, which goes a long way towards explaining why Congress accomplishes very little.

    Do not lose sight of the ultimate prize in a successful run for higher office: Money. It’s all about wealth. Even if you aren’t overly sleazy and try to minimize blatant conflicts of interest that rake in the dough, you can look forward to a decent “retirement” check (one of the few industries around that requires just a few years of “work” to qualify), paid healthcare, paid office staff, etc. Free snail mail used to mean something, but times change.

    At the very minimum your diligent attempts to funnel money and benefits (tax breaks and the like) to big business should assure you a high-paying job once term limits kick in. And then there’s always the speaking circuit where you’ll be paid enormous sums of money to tell folks things you’d never dare to say while in office. Everybody likes to hear the dirt.

    “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This quote has been attributed to several different people, but it is the quote itself that is applicable here. The voting populace is nothing if not a bipolar, perennially forgetful group of selfish miscreants. They simply refuse to accept that there is any viable political party in the land other than the big two. Or maybe their minds simply can’t wrap themselves around anything more complicated than Red vs. Blue.

    They put a Democrat in office for four to eight years, gnash their teeth when that candidate inevitably proves to be a shallow, incompetent buffoon, toss him out in favor of a Republican (for four to eight years), allow themselves to once again be massively disappointed, and repeat the entire idiotic and dysfunctional show ad naseum.

    The solution, of course, is to find (or become) a candidate with the kind of outlook and intentions you can get behind regardless of political affiliation. It sounds difficult, but only if you can’t spend any more time on something as important as elected office as you do on trimming your nose hair.

    Candidates for the big two parties bank on most Americans being used to holding their noses when punching their ballots. They know damn well that for most average, middle-of-the-road voters it has become nothing more than an exercise in attempting to choose the lesser of two evils.

    The other side of that coin are the fanatical crazies that long ago convinced themselves that their party is never wrong and the enemy is never right. A simple majority combination of the two is all that is required for a ticket to office allowing the holder nearly unregulated permission to siphon off enormous amounts of tax dollars to friends, family, donors, etc.

    Should you choose to take the plunge and prostrate yourself and any values you might have (formerly) held dear, whether or not you choose to pretend to be a Democrat or Republican (or take the plunge with a third party) please be sure to contact me for a possible position as an advisor to your campaign and/or successful acquisition of office. Like any American politician worth his bribe, I, too, exhibit human values only when absolutely required.

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