Monday, August 15, 2005

Vote for the Crook. It's Important

My mother, born and reared in Haynesville, LA, used to say "There is no other state in the union with as long a history of thoroughly corrupt government as the great state of Louisiana. (Well, except, of course, Massachussetts.)"

Her father, George Henry "Nub" Sherman, held, at various times, a wide variety of local civic posts: fire chief, a member of the local bank's board of directors, the head of the cotton warehouse. When demagogue Huey Long was assassinated, he held a parade down main street to celebrate. The mayor, at the time, spluttered, "You can't do that!" Nub said, "You hide and watch me."

Huey's brother, Earl, died of tertiary syphillis; before he did, he got around term-limit laws by having his wife elected. Voting machines there used to have a lever that let you cast your vote for all the Democratic candidates with a single lever pull. It was marked with a rooster so that even the illiterate could know what lever to pull.

When Buddy Roemer was governor, I listened to locals tell one another, "Old Buddy's not near as corrupt as his daddy."

Four-term governor Edwin Edwards said, "The people of the Great State of Louisiana will not turn me out of office until they catch me in bed with a dead girl or a live boy." Caught taking suitcases of cash to Las Vegas, he smiled and said, "What do you carry your money to Las Vegas in?" Edwards was convicted of racketeering, conspiracy, and extortion.

Everything's relative. When Klansman, racist, and virulent anti-semite, David Duke, was the Republican gubernatorial nominee, my mother had the embarrassing experience of exhorting her friends to vote for Edwards. Bumper stickers read, "Vote for the Crook: It's Important."

Edwards won, but Duke is still out there plugging. Here's his latest bandwagon.

Update: Some people will laugh at anything. Me, for example.

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