Ahhh, the middle of March. That time of year when the eyes of the nation turn away from anything and everything business-related and become locked on whatever electronic device is handy — TV, computer, smartphone — in order to keep track of that all-important commodity: one’s meticulously crafted NCAA bracket.
Politicos are not exempt from the collective obsession with the men’s basketball championship tournament. President Barack Obama has, for several years now, gone on record with his prognostications.
And plenty of sports fans on Capitol Hill — be they alumni of those on the hunt for a national title or proud supporters of the athletes they represent — love to trade barbs (and bet regional delicacies ) in pursuit of ultimate bragging rights. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., is feeling so confident about the University of Kansas Jayhawks' chances, he’s already put Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., on notice.
So @KUAthletics and New Mexico State tip of at 11:15 AM CT on Friday. Care to make it interesting @RepLujanGrisham? — Rep. Kevin Yoder (@RepKevinYoder) March 16, 2015
“Care to make it interesting?” Yoder floated via social media, calling out the New Mexico State Aggies. (Game time: Friday at 12:15 p.m. Eastern.)
Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, did not taunt any of the California delegation directly, but made sure to commend the Southern Methodist University Mustangs on a job well done.
Congrats to @SMUBasketball on winning the American Athletic Conference. Looking forward to watching you in the NCAA tournament. #PonyUp — Pete Sessions (@PeteSessions) March 16, 2015
Sen. John McCain incorporated not one, not two, but four hashtags in his shoutout to the University of Arizona Wildcats.
Congrats to @UofA #Wildcats on #2 seed! #MarchMadness #BearDown #APlayersProgram — John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 16, 2015
The Arizona Republican praised the team’s tenacity (“Congrats on a #2 seed!”), extolled the tourney (#MarchMadness), threw in a school slogan (#BearDown) and loved on athleticism in general (#APlayersProgram).
Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., cheered on the top-seeded University of Kentucky Wildcats.
Congrats to @UKCoachCalipari & the Wildcats on another @SEC Championship! Good luck in the @NCAA Tournament! #PursuitOfPerfection #BBN — Hal Rogers (@RepHalRogers) March 16, 2015
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, got behind the Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjacks.
Congrats to #TX01's Lumberjacks! @SFASU is headed west for the NCAA Basketball Tournament again http://t.co/iNngLcyucw — Louie Gohmert (@replouiegohmert) March 16, 2015
And Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., stroked the Louisiana State University Tigers.
Congrats @LSUBasketball for making it into the NCAA tournament. #GeauxTigers — Bill Cassidy (@BillCassidy) March 16, 2015
Far be it for us to incite any kind of animosity within the hallowed halls of Congress, but we couldn’t help notice that plenty of locals theoretically have skin in the game.
House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer could claim allegiance to Georgetown University (where he got his law degree; as did around two dozen other sitting pols), or side with his beloved University of Maryland Terrapins (which claims nine other graduates currently working in Congress). Likewise, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., might have to make a game-time decision on whether to put his eggs in the Hoyas’ basket (he attended) or stick with the University of Virginia Cavaliers (where he doubled up on degrees; nine others in Congress also collected lambskins in Charlottesville, Va.).
The Hoyas are poised to face the Eastern Washington University Eagles Thursday at 9:57 p.m., the Cavs are slotted to battle the Belmont University Bruins Friday at 3:10 p.m., while the Terps are scheduled to confront the Valparaiso University Crusaders Friday at 4:40 p.m.
Then there’s Rep. Rob Wittman.
The Virginia Republican bears the distinct honor of being the lone Virginia Commonwealth University Ram currently serving on the Hill. His squad is set to tangle with the Buckeyes of Ohio State University Thursday at 4:40 p.m.
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