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The Idle American
Uncle Mort the Consultant...
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 • Posted June 15, 2011

I could have been no more surprised if my Uncle Mort had decided to take up cricket or mount a new career as an Elvis impersonator.He said he’d hoped to save the announcement for his 99th birthday party on July 4th, but feared that any delay—even if mere days—could cost him a bundle….Like a cobra charmed by a flautist—a guy who recognizes a musical gourd when he sees one—I was immediately mesmerized. (Aside: Believed to have originated in India centuries ago, snake-charming called for long-necked gourds. Shorter varieties became dippers for drinking; and the prized long-necks were carved into flute-like instruments for charming snakes. There were far more “short necks,” hence, more drinkers, but that’s another story for another day.)…* * * * *Anyway, I felt like the roach checking in at a roach hotel, momentarily forgetting the ad about guests checking in, but not checking out. Crunched between a “rock and a hard place,” I knew I’d have to “hear him out” if I expected to check out.I wilted at the prospect of listening to “Mort mutterings.” Such always leads to cockamamie schemes, but I lamely sat down. I felt rattled as a roadster on a rocky road as my uncle began his “announcement of national political significance.” My immediate fear was that Mort was about to throw his hat into the ring of presidential candidates. (I wondered if he knew that some hats tossed in earlier have already been retrieved.)His speech was in overdrive, so interruptions seemed improbable. My comments would have been hollow, anyway, since his declaration concerned his “availability as a political consultant for any Texan who might decide to pursue the presidency.”…* * * * *“I could probably assist candidates from other states, but I’m a natural if Governor Rick Perry decides to go for the gold,” Mort assured.He admitted that there might be more work and travel than he likes, but that he can “accomplish much by merely giving orders.”Woe is me! Mort may take political consulting to a new low….* * * * *He crowed about his deep understanding of fiscal conservatism. He delved into his “unique ability to sense wind direction before meteorologists have unfolded their maps.”Babbling that “political winds” often are synonymous with “smoke-blowing,” he spoke of smudge pots, anemometers and some political sleaze words I intend to look up before quoting them in a family newspaper.“Rick’s got the ‘savvy’ to stir the political pot at the national governors’ conference to take us from 50 states to 75 or more,” Mort began….* * * * *He thinks “The Gov” has the clout—maybe “charm” is a better word—to talk other governors into halving, and maybe even quartering, their states. He cited possibilities such as East Oklahoma and West Oklahoma, and maybe “four Californias,” one for each direction.I tuned him out when he droned about the Federal funds pouring in to the “new” states, and ways Texas would benefit.“While all the new states are jockeying for position at the money trough, we can brag about moving up from 44th in public education funding, even when spending less in our schools,” Mort speculated….* * * * *He claims to have a “sack full of smoke and mirror shenanigans,” but his proposal to increase the number of states may be the slickest of all.If this plan doesn’t gain traction, Mort says he may recommend revisiting an earlier threat Governor Perry posed—the one about secession from the Union.“I’d have to sub out a lot of assignments if he decides to take this route,” Mort admitted. “But, if Texas becomes a whole ‘nuther country, we might ring up big numbers on the Feds’ cash register—far more than a single state can.” He admitted, though, that we might wind up with a premiere, king, czar or dictator instead of a president.…* * * * *I urged Mort to ponder the ugliness of political campaigns, with integrity and honesty often crushed in the battles for public office. Then, I told him a story attributed to an aide of the late Huey P. Long, Governor of Louisiana almost a century ago. During Long’s campaign, “The Kingfish” promised lofty state jobs to leaders in all parishes he carried on Election Day. Upon Long’s becoming governor, hundreds of parish leaders showed up, ready to claim their new state jobs. Chuckling, the governor admitted he had made such offers. “So what do I tell ‘em?” the aide asked. “Tell ‘em I lied,” Long allegedly answered.And that’s the “Long” and the “short” of it…..* * * * *

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Send inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site:

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