Brand X

By Bill Maher

Congress's approval rating is at a pitiful 17%, putting their popularity somewhere between middle school kids who bully bus monitors and acute toenail fungus. And incumbent candidates know it, so, in their campaign ads, they're not mentioning negative buzzwords like "Congress," "Senate," "Representative" or "Washington."

Iowa Congressman Tom Latham's ad says, "How do you go from working in a family seed business in Iowa to fighting for Iowans at the highest levels?" Current North Dakota Rep. Rick Berg, who's now running for a Senate seat, just sits there in his ad, like he's in a time out, while his mother -- I shit you not, his mother -- says, "I want to tell you about my son, Rick Berg." And then she goes on to say how Rick's a farmer and a cattleman and a hay bailer and a thrifty spender -- everything but a sitting congressman.

Here's the next ad I half-expect to see:

"Hi, I'm Jim Smith. You may have heard of me. But let's not get all bogged down in where you've heard of me or in what context. The important thing is, sometime in the next few months, you may see my name with a group of other names on a little punch card in a booth. Say on a Tuesday. Put a mark next to my name. It's not important why. What's important is we've had this chat and I seem like the kind of fella whose name you wouldn't mind putting a mark next to on a little punch card. That's Jim Smith. Choose me for, you know, whatever."