Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack. Haven't you learned anything from watching how your party leaders do things? Holy Moroni, man ... Lesson One: when you're out to jigger the system in order to wet your own whistle, you sure as hell don't carry the water yourself! You might as well leave a message on your insurance guy's answering machine for him to get the papers ready, "'cause I think there's gonna be a fire down at my store."
But, look. For what it's worth, I think your ex-pals in the Legislature treated you a little roughly. Yes, you went about it like a teenage sex offender on his first date, but even an old Halliburton hand like Dick Cheney had to start somewhere, right?
I'm guessing that for a respectable Mormonly fella like yourself, what hurts most is how the folks out in the Metro Melba/Kuna hub have reacted to your little faux paw. Here you are, just a typical up & coming right-wing caricature, acting out the conservative dream of power, prestige, piety and self-promotion, all while trying to stay fiscally afloat in a sea of rotten government regulations and stinking tax policies ... and suddenly, even your neighbors are talking about you like you're something to avoid stepping in. Owie!
Well, Jacky m'boy, I say if Richard Nixon can rise from the grave of disgrace, so can you.
Only, if you ever have intentions to again shinny up that slippery rope to public office, you have a few things to learn. First of all, you never, never let it look like whatever you're up to is going to make you money. Not directly, anyway. Even now, with the firm of Bush, Plunder & Deny, Inc. running the country, there's something about politicians openly feathering their own nests that rubs people the wrong way. Frankly, this is something I'll never quite understand about the Republican faithful: How is it that they can get so indignant over one little dink of a state legislator who tried to pull a cheap lawyers' trick that might have put a bit more cash in his till, yet embrace an entire administration which exists for no other reason than to further up the upper class? A rich guy pushing through huge tax givebacks for rich guys? C'mon, if that isn't conflict of interest, there's no such thing.
But a person could go nuts trying to figure out a rhyme and reason to what Republicans call moral, and neither one of us have time to go nuts, Jack. I have to get this column written, and as for you, there's the little matter of fishing your reputation out of the toilet.
Besides, as you'd know by now if you'd been paying attention, there are plenty of ways around that conflict-of-interest mud hole. Take Bush's plan to hand everyone's Social Security money over to Wall Street brokerage firms, for instance. Now, Jacko, who do you suppose thought up that idea? Bush?
Oh yeah ... you bet ... and he's also real good at pronouncing big words.
Hell no, Bush didn't come up with a Social Security reform plan himself. George Bush couldn't find "solvency" in the dictionary by himself. Count on this: If private investment accounts are what he's thinking, then it was the private investment industry that put the thought in his head. The one, consistent thing to be said about the policies that come from this administration is that those policies-without exception, from the conquest of Iraq to energy to prescription drugs to the forests to you-name-it-were conceived, birthed, suckled and sent out by the very parties who stand to gain most from the implementation of those policies. Think of it this way, Mister Jacksmart: Under Bush, our entire economy is like a convenience store designed by shoplifters.
But do you hear anyone bitching about conflict of interest when it comes to Bush's schemes? (I mean aside from several million Democrats, environmentalists, civil rights activists, AARP members, health care advocates, labor interests, low-income families, disabled vets and authentically compassionate Christians?) No sir, you don't. And that's because those interests who stand to make out like crows at a roadkill convention are smart enough to get someone else to propose the policies that will bring them the money. Get it? Bush isn't the cook-he's just a waiter. And the slop he's serving up wasn't even on the menu until his cronies figured out a way to pass it off as real food.
Hey, I realize that handing the Social Security trust fund over to Barnum, Bailey & Gouge is on a different level than you getting your hands on that liquor license, Jackster. But the motivation remains the same. Profit first ... public interest, uh, screw that!
And, Jack, what's the first thing they teach you about Profit on those late-night infomercials? That's right ... you have to spend money to make money. The principle is as old as hookers putting some seed money into leather mini-skirts. If only you'd slipped one of your Senate bros a few thou in campaign contributions in return for introducing that liquor license legislation, you could be, as we speak, selling fifths of tequila to Melbanains like tomorrow is Sunday, all while convincing your customers of the evils of abortion, drugs and teaching evolution in schools.
Honestly, Jack, I'm afraid you no longer have the option of blending the defender of conservative values act with the "Who's Who in Melba Business" role. And frankly, very few people can pull off both the pursuit of profit and the guise of prophet. Bush manages to do it, yeah. But between the handed-down dough and guys like Karl Rove keeping the payoff tap open, he can afford to make sure Laura and the twins will never suffer the indignities of having to clip coupons, all while he runs about acting like John the Baptist.
But seeing as how your morality balloon is largely popped, pal, I suggest you stick to trying to make the big bucks. Your days in the Legislature are a thing of the past, that's for sure, but who needs to be elected when you have enough cash to buy all the lawmakers you need? Hell, I bet if he wanted to, J.R. Simplot could get a license to sell booze by the drink in school cafeterias. Am I wrong?
Besides, when you're a big enough shot, you can always threaten to move your Moo Brew operation to another state if they don't give you what you want. Am I right?
And maybe you've been barking up the wrong branch of government, anyway. Really, with that trick of not sending those sales tax revenues on to state coffers, I figure you're a shoe-in for the Ada County Commission.