Will Rogers for Governor, Week 3

August 29, 2003

COLUMBUS: Before I get back on the California campaign trail, I must throw in a comment on the judicial situation in one of our fine southern states. This is an authentic quote (March 17, 1935), with three words added. “Whoever wrote the Ten Commandments made ’em short. They may not always be kept, but they can be understood. They’re the same for (everybody).” Even in Alabama.

In this California race, Arnold says in his younger Hollywood actor days he practiced what you and I might modestly call “unusual sex habits”. Personally I think this admission is just an underhanded attempt to steal votes from Larry Flint.

He also aims to get the votes of all drug users in California, and if he can pull that off too, it’ll give him a majority for sure. So Cruz and I have our work cut out for us.

Last week I promised you a debate with Mr. Bustamante, so I’ve got to dig up something we can disagree on. He’s a farm boy who grew up to become a politician. I’m a cowboy who never grew up, and therefore became a humorist.

As a boy he picked cotton, so I will concede to him the votes of all who pick cotton by hand if he’ll give me all the ranchers and dairy farmers. He also picked peaches, and he can have all the peach pickers if I can have the grape growers and assorted byproducts. Some folks say I’m plumb nutty, so I should rightfully be entitled to all nut growers. Cruz and I could argue over the grass growers, but Arnold is counting on those votes, and I don’t have the nerve to tell him the grass we’re referring to is alfalfa, orchardgrass and pasture fields.

Cruz and some other Mexicans have said California should be returned to Mexico. Other candidates disagree and say we should return the Mexicans to Mexico and keep California. I suggest a compromise: let’s give California to Mexico, but keep the water.

But it don’t matter what any candidate wants because, in the shape California’s in today, I don’t think Mexico would take her. If Mexico would pay off the debt and cover the upkeep and overhead, California would come out way ahead on the deal, but you watch Mexico wise up and decline the offer.

Lt. Governor Bustamante is in favor of illegal aliens getting drivers licenses. I’m scratching my head on that one. When the person shows up to take the driving test, won’t the police officer running the test suspect something? I know we’ve got more cars than we do drivers, but traffic ain’t what we’re short of. California has more cars than pavement to drive ’em on, the same as it was eighty years ago. Is there a shortage of taxi drivers in Los Angeles who don’t speak English?

Cruz, I do see one thing in your favor on this one. If we give a license to illegal aliens, when we deport them they can drive themselves to the border.

Here’s more Historical quotes from Will Rogers, with only a few changes in names and location. (Life magazine, 1928)

I am carrying my campaign along dignified lines. It’s the Future my party is looking to, not the past. So I hope there is some sane people in California who will appreciate dignity, and not showmanship, in their choice for Governor.

In the course of events I had to come East. I am the only Candidate that is tending to his own business and not to the people’s. These other fellows (I can’t think of their names offhand), they are devoting their entire time to nothing but spending money and time trying to show that California will perhaps be on a level with Nicaragua if they are not put in charge of it.

I am not going out around the state making a monkey of myself just to let people see what kind of a man they would have in Sacramento if elected. I did all that before I was nominated.

Being a Candidate didn’t give me a chance to see the state. I had seen it before.

Mr. Bustamante made a mighty fine speech, considering the material he had to work with. A Democratic speech is hard to make sound reasonable, because they are not supposed to be. All in all Cruz did a mighty fine job of promising.

But I think my platform is more constructive. I will make up mine after I get in. Then in case I don’t get in why I haven’t had the trouble of framing up one for nothing. Nobody knows what they might want by October anyhow.

So I will give the people what they want, as they want it. But I figure on everybody being so well off that they won’t need anything. I wouldn’t have got myself mixed up in this Campaign if I’d thought I would have any problems to face.

If the election goes to the one who conducted their campaign on the highest plane, the Anti-Bunk would win in a walk. Our party has placed Dignity above Showmanship, so the majority of people don’t even know I’m running.


Will Rogers for Governor: Week 2

August 18, 2003

COLUMBUS: This California race has barely started and it looks to be coming down to a dog fight between Arnold, Cruz and the Anti-Bunk candidate. Some lawyers are working to delay the election so the other folks can catch up and get their votes counted. But they could delay it to November 2004 and it won’t change anything. Like a good race horse, I’ll just lay in behind those two, then on election day I’ll pull ahead to win by a nose.

Of course Gray Davis is out there reminding everyone he is still Governor. He’s about the only who thinks that position still carries some clout. Everybody else knows it’s only the candidates who have clout.

President Clinton is advising Governor Davis. At least that’s what he says. It may be just an excuse for him to come to California and confer with that other candidate, Mary Carey.

Arnold signed on his first adviser, Mr. Warren Buffett. You can’t get much better than Warren if you want to increase your portfolio. But for increasing your vote total, he may not be the best choice. In his first speech on behalf of Arnold, Mr. Buffett advised Californians to take three steps to prosperity: buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up to around a million dollars, vote to raise the real estate tax by $38 Billion, and then move to Omaha.

He said, “I own a $250,000 house in Omaha where my property taxes went up $2000 last year, and a $5,000,000 house in California where my taxes went up only $20, and that isn’t enough.” Then he kinda dropped a hint about the root of the problems Californians face. “One house overlooks the Pacific, and the other overlooks Nebraska. Other than that, and the price tag, they’re identical.”

And Arnold is getting advise from President Bush but no one can prove it. All diplomatic messages between them are routed through Switzerland.

Some folks figure he is also advised by the Kennedys but there is no proof of that either because it is conducted in the bedroom, and the Supreme Court says we can’t ask about anything transpiring in a bedroom.

It looks like I’ve got to dig up some advisers. In 1928 I said, “Henry Ford would be my Secretary of the Treasury. Ford could take our little dab of money that our Treasury has, and let him handle it a little while and he would have us out of the Red by Christmas.” So I figure I’ll follow the same line today and pick Henry’s grandson, William. If he can drag Ford cars back up where they were when they had the Model T, I know he can pull off the same miracle for California.

Arnold has George W. advising him, but the one person I would really like to sign, and the one who could practically guarantee victory for the Anti-Bunks, is Barbara Bush. She will likely have to decline, so I may ask Ross Perot. Maybe he’ll draw me up some charts.

Here’s more Semi-Historic quotes from Will Rogers: Only the names have been changed. (Life magazine, 1928)

Mr. Arnold Swartzenegger, I kinder hate to send you this challenge, for you are a good fellow and I think a lot of you, but it just looks like the only way we can get the “Issues” of the day straightened out is on the Platform in a Joint debate. You know the American custom is when you can’t beat a man at anything why the last straw is to Debate him.

There is just hundreds of candidates I wouldn’t waste a Debate on, but in the natural course of events it looks like I am going to have to take you and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante on before the votes are in the can this fall. [Cruz Bust-a-mante is not to be confused with that other candidate, Mary Carey Bust-a-plenty.]

So I thought I would start in with you and see how I made out, and if I had any luck against you why then I would take on Cruz.

Now you are a man, and so is Cruz, that has got by without a lot of Bunk, and the debate might be that you both ought, by rights, to be in my Party, “The Anti-Bunks.” But what the debate could be, is that you both have let yourself be hitched to a Platform that is nothing but Bunk.

As a man is known by the company he keeps, I will show you that now that you have entered Politics you will be mixed up with more Bunk than you ever thought existed.

You may say the Issue is “Prosperity.” You will try and show that we are prosperous because we HAVE MORE. I will show where we are NOT prosperous because we haven’t PAID for it YET.

They tell me that Lincoln and Douglas had a debate one time, and they say Douglas won it, so even if I lose and just become as well known as Lincoln why it won’t be so bad.

Tune in next week for the Rogers-Bustamante debate.

Will Rogers for Governor of California

August 10, 2003

COLUMBUS: Folks, sometimes an opportunity comes along too good to pass up. Maybe once in a lifetime.

For me, twice. The first was when I was tabbed by the “Anti-Bunk” Party to run for President in 1928 against whoever the Republicans and Democrats put up, which turned out to be Herbert Hoover and Al Smith, two fine men in their own right.

The second is this here Governor’s race in California. Now I’ve got nothing personal against Mr. Gray Davis. He is a decent man, but kinda like Mr. Hoover, he chose the wrong year to get elected. After looking over the five hundred or so who were talking about running, I saw where my unusual qualifications as a humorist could stand out.

No other candidate can claim to have moved to California as early as 1919, and spent a lifetime making payments on a second mortgage. No other candidate has served as mayor of Beverly Hills and lived to joke about it. I could say I have been in the movies, but so have half the others, and some of my movies have been just as forgettable as theirs.

If Arnold from Austria can run, and Arianna from Greece, why not an Indian from Oklahoma. Besides there’s a whole lot more Okies in California than Austrians and Greeks, let me tell you. If I put some effort into it, I can be just as difficult for California to understand as those two are. And we’ll all need interpreters if we expect to get the Mexican vote.

No one can offer what I can. Does any other candidate have a state park to offer the voters? No. Only I can give them the Will Rogers State Park at Pacific Palisades, 180 peaceful acres in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. As a bonus they get polo every Sunday.

How about a day at the beach? The Will Rogers State Beach at Santa Monica is available any day to any voter willing to put up with crowded sand and a cold Pacific surf. Arianna doesn’t have a beach. In fact with her Greek accent she never even says the word “beach.” Afraid of insulting someone.

I am the only candidate with a plan to eliminate the $38,000,000,000 deficit. See, August 9 was way too soon to expect Californians to decide if they wanted to run. They need more time to round up 65 bonafide supporters and the $3500 filing fee so my plan is to extend the deadline till mid-September. I figure by then at least 11 million candidates will file, which if my McGuffey’s arithmetic is accurate, will wipe out the deficit.

August being a slow month, with not much going on but State Fairs and George Bush fund-raisers, I needed something to fill a column. Unless we take out Saddam or bin Laden soon, I may have to stretch these jokes out for a couple of months.

Folks, here is the real reason I decided to run. I already got all the speeches written out, from 1928. No need to change anything but a couple of names, and dates, and make it for just California instead of the whole country. Kinda like Ronald Reagan in 1980, only opposite.

So here goes, with Semi-Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (Life magazine, 1928)

Your “offer” (to nominate me for office) struck me like what the better-fed English authors call “a bolt from the Blue.” It leaves me dazed, and if I can stay dazed I ought to make a splendid Candidate.

Now I know after being nominated for anything, it’s customary after first buying a drink, to register modesty. In fact, the modesty lasts no longer than the drink.

Every Candidate always says, “Why there is dozens of men that is more competent to fill this office than I am.” Well I don’t feel that way about it at all. For after all, it’s only the office of Candidate that I am accepting. You know it don’t take near as good a man to be Candidate as it does to hold the office. That’s why we wisely defeat more than we elect.

I think I can accept defeat in as poor English as anyone.

I am heartily in accord with the Anti-Bunk Party, but by its very name it means that we will have no political support. Now I admit I can make a living outside politics, and when you admit that you can live without depending on politics, you lose right there the support of all politicians. If there is one thing that a politician hates worse than a recount, its somebody that is not in their business.

Now we may alienate the entire female vote, but there will be no effort for Sex Appeal. Of course if it unconsciously manifests itself, why we can’t help it. But it will by no means be one of the planks in our Platform.

In short our platform will be, WHATEVER THE OTHER FELLOW DON’T DO, WE WILL. Now no man would want a broader, or more numerous planked platform than that.

We make our platform as we go. If we get to a (county) where the farmers want relief, why we just stop and sell their farms for ’em, and give ’em relief. If we get to a place where the people claim they want lower taxes, why we have ’em sell their property and put the money in “Tax Exempt” bonds just like the rich. You see we are meeting the conditions as they come.

If somebody wants flood relief, we move ’em to higher ground. If somebody wants a Dam built in their section, why we let ’em do it through the Building and Loan. Any time you get ten voters you can rest assured we will give you what you want. We want every part of the (state) to do what they want to do regardless of some other part.

Now a word to the Republican voters, we won’t be able to pay you anything for your votes, so that will naturally eliminate all Republican support. And as we can’t pay the Democrats, they will naturally, if they have to vote for nothing, stay with their own Party, For they have been voting for nothing for years. So offhand its hard to see where our support is coming from.

There will also be no promise of jobs, for no defeated Candidate has ever been able to give anyone a job. So that is one bit of Bunk that will be eliminated early.

Our support will have to come from those who want NOTHING, and have the assurance of getting it.

To be continued…

Holiday for sales tax, and the “Follies” hit West Virginia

# 284, August 3, 2003

MORGANTOWN, West Va.: This weekend West Virginia is celebrating two things: a holiday on sales taxes, and the local performance of the Will Rogers Follies.

According to the Sunday paper the tax plan is a giant success. The Dominion-Post reported that “older women, teenage girls and mothers with school age children” mobbed the malls searching for bargains. You would be surprised how far womenfolk will go to save six percent on a cotton blouse or pair of nylon stockings.

But if you want to get a man interested in a holiday from sales taxes, you can’t just make it the first weekend in August. The only place he wants to go in hot weather is to a ball game, drive-in movie or fishing. All he’s wearing is shorts and a T-shirt so naturally he has no interest in shopping for a new winter coat and long underwear. No, you’ve got to make it flexible.

Flexibility is the key for men. See, with the Flexible Sales Tax Holiday plan you give every man two free days a year. And here’s the days you give him: his wife’s birthday, and their anniversary.

Of course the stores will have to stay open late, for the unfortunate souls who sit down to supper before remembering the date. But if they have to be reminded they may spend twice as much, so that’ll make it worthwhile.

But if you really want to interest the men, have a holiday on income tax instead. They don’t care about saving on clothes and other non-essentials, but if you tell a man he can work for a week and keep all he earns, why no telling what all he could accomplish. He would work so long and hard, his boss might even kick in an extra ten percent bonus for the week.

Now the whole idea, from the government point of view, is to get everybody to be more productive, to get more done, to “put the national economy back on it’s feet.” So for this plan to work out a hundred percent they’ve got to keep it a secret exactly which week it is.

Then, at the end of the year, after you have accomplished a third more than you or anyone else thought possible, the government lets everyone know which week was tax-free. They’ll say, “It’s been a good year for the country, and the Republican Party too, and we’re proud to let you keep your entire paycheck for… the envelope please… the third week in May.”

And you’re thinking, “Hey, that was a pretty good week, but I did take off early that Wednesday afternoon. I better not do that again because it cost me.”

We went to the Follies Saturday night, and I’ve never seen it been done better. But it don’t matter if it’s put on by your local high school or community theater or a professional troupe, go see it.

You could tell several of these folks had played their parts before, and done it superbly. In fact “Clem” was in the big show with Larry Gatlin in Kansas City and Dallas last month, and he’ll be with them in Memphis this week and Atlanta next week. Whether you go for the music, the singing or dancing or just to look at pretty girls you’ll have an enjoyable evening. The long-legged one known as Mr. Ziegfeld’s Favorite draws attention, and she deserves it, but my favorite is, and always will be, “Betty Blake.”

Say, if you got your $400 income tax rebate check, you may as well just sign it over to your governor. If your state don’t need it, maybe send it to needy charity. There’s none needier today than California. Next week the Red Cross is setting up a relief station in Sacramento. The Salvation Army is collecting warm blankets for Christmas to give to despondent legislators.

[Note: West Virginia was the first state to put on a sales tax, in 1921, so I figure they’ve got a right to take it off if they want to, even if it’s only for a weekend when the Will Rogers Follies is playing.]

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Why don’t they use a sales tax? That is the only fair and just tax. Have no tax on necessary foods, and moderate priced necessary clothes, but put a tax on every other thing you buy or use. Then the rich fellow who buys more and uses more certainly has no way of getting out of paying his share. Collect it at the source, that is at the manufacturers. Don’t depend on the retailer. That way it would not cost much to collect….
No slick lawyer or income tax expert can get you out of a sales tax….
People don’t want their taxes lowered near as much as the politician tries to make you believe. People want JUST taxes, more than they want lower taxes. They want to know that every man is paying his proportionate share according to his wealth.” 
WA #99, Nov. 2, 1924