A Poker Game Where No One Has a Strong Hand, the Naked Congressman (or Congresswoman)


Question: What looks most like a dog in a hole?

Answer: A dog out of a hole.

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.

Groucho Marx

What relevance does this silliness have to this blog post on politics?  Well, very little actually.  Except that it is as relevant as the text of nearly any given filibuster.

Congressional Filibuster Record by Party 1992 ...

Congressional Filibuster Record by Party 1992 – 2011 (Photo credit: Cory M. Grenier)

What is a filibuster?  It is a time wasting tactic which is allowed by Congressional procedure to basically waste time and prevent action on a given bill which the filibustering party does not want voted upon.  It is the equivalent of pouting in terms of it’s intellectual content.  And I find it embarrassing that it is allowed and that it is being used with increasing frequency in our legislative chambers.

The term “filibuster” derives from the Spanish language word “filibustero”, itself deriving originally from the Dutch language “vrijbuiter” with the meaning of privateer, pirate, robber.  While the practice goes back to ancient Rome the word did not enter the English language until the 1850s.

But I digress from the subject of my title.  I am not and will not filibuster, at least here.

In a poker game the basic idea is to acquire the highest ranked hand either by having been dealt that hand or by being able to exchange cards within the rules of the particular type of poker you are playing to attain the highest ranked hand.  It is basically a random process unless, of course, you cheat.

But the strategy of winning poker relies heavily on the practice of “bluffing”.  Bluffing is a form of deception in which you succeed in implying that you have a better hand than you actually do.  If you succeed then your opponents will likely give up or “throw in their hand” and you can conceivably win even if you have a low ranked hand.

Here is where we come back to politics.   I am suggesting that poker is a fair analogy to the way our legislators have been acting of late.  Each bluffing the other party or faction, is trying to get the others to believe that they hold a strong hand.  Only these days it appears that no one has a strong hand.  Everyone is bluffing.

Like the fairy tale, the emperor has no clothes and it is only the true believers that are willing to say that he or she actually has the “new clothes” and pretend to see them.

So what are you wearing to the chamber today, Congressman? ” Well I have this fine filibuster as you can plainly see and an ace in the hole.  I dare you to challenge me.”

About perkustooth

I am a registered nurse, writer, photographer and composer living in Alameda. I am originally a midwesterner and was born and raised in Chicago.
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