Nov 9, 2018

Money and good Scotch make for a great election campaign....

As I close out this chapter of the Mid-Term Elections of 2018, I’m reminded of my first encounter into the “real” world of politics.. This was back almost fifty years ago when I was a student at the University of Oklahoma.

I had a part-time job in 1970 working as a chauffeur for a well respected young businessman in Norman, Oklahoma. Bobby owned a successful restaurant, the Boomerang, which in addition to great hamburgers and onion rings,  was a popular hangout for college kids just wanting to decompress and drink beer. Bobby was paralyzed from the waist down from a diving accident but that never stopped him from being both popular and successful. My job was simply to help him ingress and egress from his high-end Ford station wagon and then drive him to whatever destination he decided upon.

We developed a trust for each other, his of me being that he was physically dependent upon me to ensure his safety and privacy when as some of you know, often times people paralyzed can begin to suddenly experience extreme uncontrolled shaking and spasms and loss of bodily controls. I trusted Bobby because he simply allowed me to do all I could to remove him for what he thought was just embarrassing situations. Bobby had nothing to be embarrassed about. He was more of a man than most people I knew back then.

In addition to the many other enterprises he was involved in, one included being the Campaign Treasurer for an up and coming young political figure who was on a mission to unseat a 30 year member of the U.S. Congress. The candidate,  was the son of a well known, both locally and nationally, retired college football coach. Nuff said, okay?

Jay, the candidate, had through his father, many connections throughout the country including a young political adviser out of Washington, D.C.. Jim Brady, the adviser, would fly down to Oklahoma City each week to see how the campaign was going. I would pick him up at the airport, we would head to the liquor store, get a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black, then I would take him to his hotel and leave, after of course helping him empty that bottle. Jim later went on to become the Press Secretary for President Reagan and took one of the bullets that was intended for President Reagan. We remained friends until his death in 2014.

Anyway, to continue, one day Bobby,  Jim and I headed over to the local bank and Bobby had me wheel him into the safe deposit area. Jim decided to wait in the car and after signing in, Bobby had me open a deposit box, the kind of box that is a about a foot deep, and inside was I’m guessing thousands of hundred dollar bills. I stared and Bobby looked at me and smiled and said, “Campaigns are expensive”. He had me take out a fistful as he made some notations in his ledger and we closed up and left. We headed back to Bobby’s house, enjoyed a little more of the Johnnie Walker Black and I went on to my afternoon classes.

Yep, I loved politics back then.
Later that year I found myself in Basic Training in the U.S. Air Force and didn’t find out until a few days after the election that Jay had lost the election. I guess he didn't quite have enough of those hundred dollar bills.

Politics haven't changed much over the last 50 years. It's all about raising money, saying things people want to hear and drinking good Scotch at the end of the day.