Politics in America 33: Mississippi or Bust

“Mr. Prime Minister,” the President of the United States, known to one and all as The Great Man, said. “I have a proposition for you.”

The P M of Canada had been propositioned by the best. So this was easy peasy for him. At least, it wasn’t one of his three wives, wanting more money. His alimony had put the Canadian Federal Budget in the red for three years in a row. Unfortunately his last alimony cheques had done the old bounceroo and Parliament was not going to allow him to float the bonds to cover those cheques. He was in debt up to his hockey puck. So what else could he say but “Proposition away.”

“We’ve both got a cash flow problem,” the new President, The Great Man, P F Sneaze, said. Now I know you are wondering since when did the pig farmer get so smart about finance. Smart enough to say something like cash flow. As you will remember, he had taken over his dad’s pig farm and made it prosper. If there was anything The Great Man understood, it was cash flow.

“You betcha,” P M said.

“I have something I would like to sell,” The Great Man said.

“How is this going to help, eh?” You knew this was a P M of Canada. He said “eh” a lot, just like Southerners say “y’all” a lot.

“You get a nice juicy kickback from the sell.”

“But that’s against Canadian law.”

“And American law too. But don’t forget. We’re politicians. We know how to get away with this stuff and make it look like we’re frugal.” As you can see, P F Sneaze had already picked up some of the tricks of the trade and he had only been in office for fifteen minutes. Just think what he would know after sixty minutes. Oh, better say one hour. The White House don’t like that show. They’re pretty good at finding the do-do when a politician is knee deep in it.

“Well, let’s politic away. What do you have for sell?”

That’s when The Great Man gave the P M the old whamaroo. “Little Ol’ Mississippi.”

“Mississippi?”

“Mississippi.”

“Why would Canada buy Mississippi? If it was Florida, we might be interested.”

“I do agree that Florida would be nice. But they have a governor down there who would not be amenable. He has his own scam on the side.” Just how did The Great Man know about the Florida Scam? Same way the government knew about Bernie Madoff. Oh, that’s right. The government didn’t know until he was arrested. Well, just take my word for it. P F Sneaze knew things and those things knew things.

“I see what you mean,” the P M said. “Don’t you have anything else to offer?”

“It’s Mississippi, or it’s not. Just think. You’re getting riverfront property. It never snows down there. Well, hardly ever. It’s got a great football team.”

“We don’t play football up here. We play ice hockey. Men up here are born with ice skates on their feet. You find a Canadian and you’ll have a potential Gordie Howe or Bobbie Orr.” The P M was insulted by the American. Didn’t Americans know anything? Hockey was the sport for Canadians. Ice hockey and beer, eh.

“Now just calm down, P M. Didn’t mean to get your dander up. Don’t you know this would be a great way to evangelize what a great game hockey is.”

“Come to think of it we do have a lot of snowbirds and we don’t know where to send them. Florida hasn’t been amenable lately.”

“That’s what I mean,” the President was getting excited. He might just have a sucker—I mean a customer.

“Can we renovate?”

“The whole darn state.”

“Won’t the Mississippians be upset.”

“Course not. From time to time they put on their onery mask but it’s only playacting. Not like those Texans. They still think they’re a whole separate country.”

“I think I am beginning to like what I’m hearing,” the P M said, pleased as punch that finally a President of the United States was going to help out a Prime Minister of Canada. He was going to get a snow pipeline running down to New Orleans and some riverfront property for a new theme park he had always wanted.

“You can even change the name and call it Snowbird Park.”

“It’s a done deal. I’ll push it through Parliament tomorrow. Now just how much of a kickback am I getting?”

It was a good thing that The Great Man was not Richard Nixon. All this conversation would be on tape. We know how that turned out.

By the time The Great Man hung up, he was counting his chickens. They hadn’t even hatched but he was counting them anyway. He was going to sell Mississippi right under Congress’ nose and they couldn’t do anything about. He’d get the money from the sell. He’d get a kickback from all the renovations the Canadians wanted to do. And he’d get the money under the table the P M would give him for thinking up the darn thing in the first place. Before you knew it, he was going to be swimming in gravy.

After he hung up the phone, he picked up the Lust Red Phone and buzzed his wife. “Houston, we have a go,” he said. “You can start your decoratin’.”

Alone in the Oval Office, The Great Man felt he had done a year’s work in one hour. This Presidenting thing was hard.

Next Week Snoozing Along 

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Politics in America 32: What to do? What to do?

As we learned last week, Betty Sue Pudding, First Lady Extraordinary, wanted to redecorate the White House. Give it that Weazel Sneaze look. When she went to the President and told The Great Man that she needed fifty million to do the do, he saw that as reasonable request. “We’ll take it out of petty cash.”

“No can do,” his Chief of Staff said. “We don’t have any money. And Congress isn’t giving us any either.”

As I said then, this was the horns of a dilemma. But The Great Man thought, “Nothing a president can’t solve.”

So he called in his Cabinet and asked for suggestions.

“There’s just one thing we can do. We’ll sell Mississippi,” the Secretary of the Interior declared. “It’s river front property and they’re not doing anything with it down there.”

“To whom?” Secretary of State asked. “I mean who should we sell it too?”

“We could sell it to China,” Defense interjected. He loved to interject, so he did it all the time. “They already have a lot of our money, making a lot of those thing-a-majigs.”

“The Big Guy tried that,” State informed everybody. “China doesn’t want it. They have their own Mississippi. In fact, they have about five Mississippis.”

“How about Russia?” Energy said. He hated to be left out. “I hear the Russian Premier has been looking for a summer home. Mississippi would be perfect for that.”

“Can you imagine a Russian Premier saying, ‘Y’allski’,” Defense again. “I don’t think so. Besides they don’t have the money. They can’t even afford that mess they did in Crimea.”

“Cry me a river?” The Great Man asked.

“No,” the Chief of Staff said. “Crimea Peninsula.”

“England? We could sell it to England,” Betty Sue chipped in all excited-like. “I love the English. All that fish and chips and rahther. Bowing before the Queen. And that Prince Charles. He’s just the handsomest. Don’t you think so?”

“Just what does a Prince do?” The Great Man wanted to know. After all, he should know. He was President and he should know things.

“Waiting for Mommy to die,” the Chief of Staff offered.

“But what’s his job?” The President asked again.

“That’s his job,” State liked questions like this. Easy ones. “Wait for Mommy to die. Let’s just say that he’s like the Vice President.”

“Oh,” the President said. “So what are we going to do about Mississippi?”

“We’ll rent it out to Canada” Betty Sue Pudding said. Amazing how many bright ideas she had. And all in one day.  “For all the snowbirds.”

The Cabinet was really impressed. Betty Sue Pudding was a bright lady. So any screw-up the pig farmer might do, she’d fix. They applauded, then rose from their seats and exited. They were glad to get out of there. The seats were hard as rocks. One Cabinet member always left saying, “My butt hurts.” Usually it was the new guy. Since most of them were newbies, there was a chorus of, “My butt hurts.”

This was the reason the Cabinet was in favor of the redecoratin’. They were hoping for some comfortable chairs.

The President picked up the Venetian Red Phone, then realized that was for the Italians. He set it back into its bed. Then went for Vermilion Red Phone. The Chief of Staff was amazed that the President knew exactly which Red Phone was the right one for Canada.

The Personal Secretary of the Prime Minister of Canada answered. He said, “Hold on, Mr. President sir.” His hands were shaking. It was the new President of the United States. The President of the United States never called the Prime Minister of Canada. It hadn’t been done in over…well, over a long time. Since that Iraq thing, at least. He put the President on hold and ran to get the Prime Minister.

The P.S. said to the P.M, “Sir, sir.” The P M ignored his P S. He did that a lot. After all, he had gotten tired of his P S running to him to tell him that it was snowing. It was Canada. It was always snowing.

“Sir, the President is on hold for you.”

“The President? Which President?”

“That President,” P S said, frantic-like.

“You put the President of the United States on hold? You idiot. This is bad. Really bad. We never put the President of the United States on hold. That’s like putting the Queen on hold. You know how she gets.”

Whatever he was doing, and being the Prime Minister of Canada, he may have been doing just about anything. At that particular moment, he had been peeking out the curtains, admiring the snow that was always coming down.

He quit that and ran to the phone. He picked it up and pressed the Un-hold button. “Mr. President,” his voice was out of breath. “I’ve been meaning to call you but I’ve been so busy. It’s the snow. It is always in need of watching.”

The Great Man just laughed. “I’ve never seen snow. Maybe I should come up and see your snow.”

“Please do,” the P M responded. “Canada has the most unique snow in the world. We should build a pipeline through the United States and ship it out to countries that don’t have snow.”

“We could do that,” the President negotiated. “It would be good for jobs.” The Great Man liked this guy. He could tell that Canada and the United States were going to get along just fine.

This Snow Pipeline would be a win-win for everybody. Jobs for Americans. Getting rid of some snow for Canada. And giving the snow-less countries snow. It would really make their Christmases. And kids who had never seen snow before was about to get to see snow. It could create a whole new industry. The Snow Ice Cream Industry. It was definitely a win-win-win.

Next Week Mississippi Or Bust

Politics in America 31: Betty Sue Pudding Goes to War

B S was now the First Lady, and she made up her mind to do the First Lady gig real big. She would do Jackie and Nancy and Martha and Dolley proud. She took one look at her new digs, the interior of the White House, and said, “This will never do. This joint needs a new do.”

All those fancy, dancy post-modern paintings, all that classic china, all that furniture that looked like it was designed by a machine, all that…well, you get my drift. It had to go. There was no way that a Pudding from Snort Holler was going to live in a place that looked like a museum. What the White House needed was some down-homyness. And it needed it quick. Just seeing the place like this was enough to make a Podunk County girl want to puke. And puke big time.

Nope, this would never do. If she was going to live in a place for four years, she wanted it comfortable. The White House definitely needed some redecoratin’ to get Betty Sue away from all the previous First Lady bad tastes.

First off she would get some spittoons so the folks could spittoon when they needed to spittoon. There’d have to be some rockin’ chairs for the front porch. And a velvet Elvis or two for the walls. At the front of the White House, there would be a nice welcome mat that said, “Y’all c’mon in, y’hear.” And that ugly Lincoln bed definitely had to go. A nice straw bed for there and for the Residence bedroom too.

For the Residence, a big wood stove would be nice. Some new wallpaper too. Something with bright colors like purple and green together. She and P F just loved them colors. And the piece de resistance would be the bean bag chairs.

Since The Great Man was just downstairs, Betty Sue Pudding decided that there was no time like the present to start her new do.

She went to The Great Man. “Hon,” she said, right there in the Oval Office.

In the past, P F Sneaze would have ignored Betty Sue Pudding, his darling wife. Now that she was the First Lady, he thought maybe that might not be a good idea, him being the President of all the people and she being one of the peeps.

“I want to redecorate the White House,” she said.

Well, P F Sneaze was not averse to redecoratin’. The place did need some Weazel Sneaze. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a hundred dollars and said, “Here, Puddin’, take this and redecorate to your heart’s content.”

Betty Sue did love it when her husband called her “Puddin'”. But she had to let him in on a little secret. When it comes to White House redecorating, a hundred dollars is not going to be enough money to do the do up right. If it only were, all those First Ladies of the past would have stayed out of trouble.

“This won’t do, Hon,” she said with the sweetest voice you ever wanted to hear. “They tell me that it’s going to take a lot more than this.”

Being a good husband, and realizing that Betty Sue was not going to go away until she got what she wanted, P F Sneaze pulled out some more money and handed it to her. “This ought to do,” he said.

“Hon,” Betty Sue batted her eyes flirtatiously. “This is not going to do either. This is the White House. We have to do it right.”

“Well, how much?” There was a bit of frustration in his voice.

“Now, Hon,” she said, not going to let her husband speak to her in that manner. After all, she was Betty Sue Pudding from Snort Holler. No man was allowed to speak to her that way. Not even a husband. She didn’t raise her voice. But P F Sneaze knew from her voice that she meant business. “Don’t speak to me in that manner,”it said, and it said it loud and clear.

There was nothing for him to do but say, “Yes, Ma’am.”

“That’s better,” then she went back to her sweetness. “I’m just going to need fifty million dollars to redecorate this place up right, Hon.”

“Is that Yankee money or Confederate bills?” P F had a stash of Confederate bills hid under the boards of his living room back home. His daddy kept hoping they would be legal tender one of these days. It was still not a foregone conclusion that the South had lost the War. The South could rise again. You just never knew.

“That’s Yankee money,” she said, batting her eyes again.

The Great Man called in his Chief of Staff and let him know how much Betty Sue needed for redecorating. “Just take it out of petty cash,” The President said.

“Mr. President, we don’t have that kind of money in petty cash. On top of that, we have no money in the bank and Congress is not going to give us any.”

As you can see, the President was on the horns of a dilemma.

“What happened to all the petty cash?”

“Inauguration expenses.”

Betty Sue Pudding, the First Lady, gave her husband, The Great Man, that look. You know the one. The one that says you’d better fix this problem or you are going to be in deep do-do. One thing was for sure. The President could think of a lot of better ways to spend his time than spend it in deep do-do. And that was industrial strength deep do-do too.

Next Week The Horns of a Dilemma

Politics in America 30: Inauguratin’

P F Sneaze, now The Great Man, stepped up to the plate. It was his turn at bat. Would he hit a home run or would he just bunt? This is always the question in the minds of the American people when they inaugurate the New Guy.

The Great Man took the Oath of Office and stepped to the podium. The American people held their breath. They were ready for some wisdom. They seldom got it but they were ready for it.

In his inaugural address to the nation, he said: “I want to be the President of all the Presidents, both foreign and domestic, alienated and non-alienated. And this we will do.” It was the shortest Inauguration Speech in the history of Inauguration Speeches. George Washington would have been proud. Abe Lincoln would have been proud. JFK would have been proud. School children would memorize it for generations. The Big Guy whispered to his auburn-haired wife, “Not bad. Not bad. Wish I had thought of that.”

Then the parades began. For hours, they just kept a-comin’. Till finally everybody had paraded out. Then the Big Guy handed the keys to the castle to the Great Man. Big Guy slipped away into history. The Great Man walked into the News Cycle known as the News Cycle.

You’ve heard the saying “a hot time in the old town”. Well, I am here to tell you that the Do Naughties had one do-naughty time that night. I won’t go into details. Just use your imagination.

After all the fluff and pizzazz of the Inauguration and the Inauguration parties and Inauguration balls, the presidential couple were tired. Their toesies were tired. Their ankles were tired. Their legs were tired. Their hands were tired. Their arms were tired. Their heads were tired. Even their hair was tired. I guess that you could say the presidential couple was tired.

So they went back to that big White House on Pennsylvania and went to look for a place to sleep. Unfortunately all the White House servants had retired. You see, they too were tired.

The presidential couple stumbled around in the dark since there was no one in the Residence to turn on the light switches. Finally they found the Presidential Stairs and drug his Presidential and First Lady buttskys upstairs. If ever there was a tired President, The Great Man was it. He was tired. It was way past his bedtime.

The Great Man took a rather large snort of Dr. Pudding’s Own Home Brew the next morning and walked into the Oval Office. On the wall behind the desk the White House Interior Decoratin’ Society had picked up just the day before at Ikea, there was a large portrait of Goof-off Sneaze. It was there to inspire the new President not to make a dang fool of hisself.

Beside the Presidential desk, Bessie Mae Hogg looked up and smiled. Finally she would be with her master. She had missed him so much since he had gone away to the Convention. She would have jumped up and rushed him if her 750 pounds would have let her. She decided, for the best, to just lay there and smile her delight.

Next Week Redecoratin’

Politics in America 29: Transition-itis

Transitions are hard for Presidents to take when they are on their way out. It doesn’t matter which party is on their way outsky and which party is coming in. It’s the same for all Presidents. For four years, they’ve been the Really Big Shew. Now there’s this new guy ready to kick him out of his house and home.

During the transition, the Lame Duck truly is lame. Nobody gives a darn what he says. In fact, the press room at the White House is just about empty. Everybody is pretty well ready to show Lame Duck the door.

Anybody worth anything has left the West Wing and gone to work for the New Guy. The new Mr. President. That’s where all the excitement is.

P F Sneeze had won because The Other Guy–that’s what historians call the losing candidate, The Other Guy lost. Nobody ever remembered The Other Guy’s name either. He was just a pimple on the face of history. Just an annoyance.

P F Sneaze had a Mount Rushmore kind of face chiseled into the memory of the American people like Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and the Gipper. With his Andrew Jackson looks, he looked like the Great White Father. He looked like a President. That’s why his campaign had urged him to keep his mouth shut and look presidential.

The New President had early on let it be known what he wished to be called. No Jimmy or Abe or Teddy or JFK for him. He was The Great Man. At first, he did it as a joke. After a while, he got used to it and kind of liked it. He had finally come around to Betty Sue and Al Fresco’s opinion that he was going to be the next President. Why stand in the way of fate? he concluded.

He went to see The Big Guy a few days after he won the election. “You look like a President” was all The Big Guy said. It broke his giant-sized heart to see he would be vacating the premises to a Do Naughty. He hadn’t much cared for Little Twerp but at least he was a Do Evie and that was what counted.

Slowly at first, then speedier as time went on toward the January inauguration, the West Wing staff of the Big Guy de-desked their offices to make room for the new team of the Great Man. There were many things the old staff would miss. Things like the champagne-and-caviar vending machine, the special cheese doodles made in the shape of the Big Guy’s face, the exercise room, the bowling alley and the Willy Wonka Chocolates with their melt in your mouth rum. Yummy.

They would miss the White House stationery they used to write their resumes on to impress potential new employers. Even if they swept the floor of the lobby, they were entitled to use that stationery. They would miss calling up the pizza guy and having their pizza order jump ahead of everybody else’s. And those special trips to the Strip ‘n’ Steak Joint. It was there they held their all night planning sessions deciding which concert to go to next.

There were so many things to miss. And they would miss them all. But it was time to move on.

Nest Week A New Administration