Students at my alma mater, Claremont McKenna College, have created a very wonky alternative to the season’s popular fantasy football leagues: fantasy Congress. As The New York Times reports today, hundreds of people have already joined the fun:
Just as in fantasy football or baseball, each player picks a team — in this case, 4 senators and 12 House members of varying seniority levels — and competes with other players in a league typically managed by a friend or a co-worker. Members determine whether to play for money or the thrill of victory. But that is where the similarities end.
On the Fantasy Congress Web site, www.fantasycongress.us, leagues have names like “We the Peeps” and “Foley4Prez,” in addition to the usual school and workplace affiliations.
Players accumulate points as the legislators they have chosen go about their business on Capitol Hill. A House member or senator earns five points for introducing a bill or an amendment, and more points for negotiating successfully each step in the legislative process.
Players can change their team members once a week, so if a scandal-plagued lawmaker resigns there is an opportunity to pick someone new. As of now, legislators can be on multiple teams within a league, but the site’s creators plan to introduce an exclusivity rule that would limit a legislator to playing for only one team.
Just remember, as Mark Foley has taught us, unrestrained congressional fantasizing can be hazardous to one’s career prospects.