After the shellacking the Bills took against the Jets last Thursday, the team and its fans are regrouping and re-evaluating this most topsy-turvy NFL season. And on Election Day — because no one will actually be out voting — it seems like a good time to look at the progress of our local leaders and representatives.
Freshman Sen. Sean McDermott and new Gov. Brandon Beane both get high marks, with overall strong approval ratings from fans for their first terms.
Like president of the United States there is no apprenticeship for being a head coach in the NFL, and until given full control over a roster, for the general manager job, either. Together they have made over the majority of the roster, accumulated a stockpile of future candidates and still managed to have a likable party that is 5-3 and in the thick of the playoff hunt.
McD laid down new laws and demanded compliance or players face expulsion. Talent and meritocracy have been replaced with merit badges, but the party is winning. McDermott has shown strong generalship and work ethic, which has trickled down. Locker room lawyers and malcontents have been run out of office.
Bills fans have been asked to trust the political process, but have been burnt by so many deplorable leaders for almost a generation, that they are skittish to go all in so early.
THE RUNNING GAME
Venerable Senate Majority Leader Shady McCoy is still turning heads and wrangling votes, although it's been tough sledding for half the term. Shady changes his mind and direction — some may call this waffling — and dances around some issues. But he has been as expedient and as powerful as he has his entire career and doesn't look to be retiring soon.
Mike Tolbert has struggled to win votes and carry his district, and faces a tough re-election next year, although the powers that be seem to like him regardless.
THE PASSING GAME
Controversial House Leader Tyrod Taylor continues to carry out executive orders and pass legislation all over the nation, especially in his home district. Yet he cannot ever seem to achieve bipartisan support for his efforts or production. Voters are firmly entrenched in predetermined views of the three-term general, and his own party lacks the strong personalities to get things done in the end zone.
And some would argue Taylor is too conservative and never throws long on third and short.
THE OFFENSIVE LINE
Jordan Mills and Vlad Ducasse have constituents screaming for impeachment and have not lived up to their campaign promise. Party leaders hand-picked Ducasse to take over for incumbent John Miller, which left no one happy and gridlock in the party's ground game; one which was credited with the surprising results of the 2016 campaign.
Long-term Sens. Glenn, Incognito and Wood also have had rocky tenures, although reports of their demise may be greatly exaggerated.
THE DEFENSIVE LINE
Cherished elder statesmen Kyle Williams returned for another term and has been his normal curmudgeonly self against the run, but isn't the firebrand of yesteryear. Congressman Jerry Hughes still brings strength and tenacity to his office but his results have been suspect, and he is close to being censured.
Second-term House member Shaq Lawson has held up in the runoff but mostly been invisible as a dealmaker. Perennial Fat Cat Marcel Dareus was shipped out of town recently and his replacement has yet to be found, muddying up an already sloppy caucus.
Lorenzo Alexander splashed on the national stage last year looking like Alexander the Great, but this season has been Lamar Alexander.
Pedestrian Cong. Preston Brown has been, well, middling. Newcomer Ramon Humber was a pleasant surprise but suffered a setback and was replaced by freshman sensation Matt Milano, who gained a lot of press for some outrageous statement plays. But his inexperience as a lawmaker in these hallowed halls has tempered his constituents’ initial euphoria.
Tre White has been tres bien for a first-term senator, and surpassed all expectations, becoming a leader in the Defensive Back Caucus. E.J. Gaines has shown tremendous promise but misses too many votes to be counted on.
Stalwart veteran Sens. Hyde and Poyer have worked the back rooms mostly to perfection, resisting the opposition forces along party lines, and both appear to be shoo-ins for re-election.
The special interest groups have held their ground and performed admirably. Stephen Hauschka (K-WA) has been extraordinary, even when the opposition seems to move the goalposts.
The new Bills Administration has given its citizenry both shock and schlock at various moments in its first term. Still getting its boots on the ground, its air forces and defense systems to follow new (and untested) orders and formations, the results have been remarkably pleasing.
The votes are in and it's time we start to trust our leadership for the first time in decades. The approval ratings are steady and the future looks bright for our men in uniform and their generals. Here's to the red, white and blue.