#444, February 19, 2007
COLUMBUS: I landed at the Tulsa airport Wednesday evening, on my way to Vinita, for a big Chamber of Commerce affair celebrating 100 years of statehood. I’ll admit, at times my arrival can cause a bit of a stir in the old home state.
Just outside the security check point, a young mother and three children were waiting, probably for dad to get off a plane. As I walked toward them, they were mesmerized, bug eyed, to see a man wearing a small Stetson, carrying saddlebags and a lasso. The older boy, about 10, blurted out, “Are you from Texas?”
I shook my head and smiled at him, “Now, think about it. This is Oklahoma. Who’s kinda famous in Oklahoma?” With that helpful hint, the boy practically burst, “Are you Tom Coburn?”
Well, I don’t particularly mind being confused with a Texan, but to be called a Senator…
Next morning, I drove to Vinita by way of Claremore and Chelsea, all on old Route 66. “My” grand-nephew, Bob McSpadden, showed me around town, including where the 4-story brick Willie Halsell College used to be (actually not a college, but a grammar school that “I” attended from age 12 to 15. Now it’s been replaced by a new Hall-Halsell elementary.) At the Daily Journal office they took our picture for the afternoon edition. Even made the front page.
Finally I had to work for my supper. I dug up some of the old stories I used to tell on the Chamber, and I honestly feel they were relieved to hear they aren’t any more rotten today than their predecessors. Of course in the old days it was all men, but now it’s about 50-50, so the women get an equal share of the credit.
A couple of weeks ago, I listed a page of announced and prospective candidates for President, and I casually suggested that Al Franken was available. Well, by golly, this week he announced he would run, but it’s for the Senate from Minnesota. I guess he felt obliged, like a few dozen of these other candidates, to serve his apprenticeship in the Senate where he can hone his skills among all those other Senate comedians. Then if he learns enough new jokes, he’ll go for President in 2012 or ’16.
If Ohio can be persuaded to elect Jerry Springer to the Senate along with Al, now folks that’ll be quite a show!
Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (on Presidents)
“There wasn’t any Republicans in Washington’s day. No Republicans, no Boll Weevil, no income tax, no cover charge, no disarmament conference, no luncheon clubs, no stop lights, no static [radio], no head winds… My Lord, living in those times, who wouldn’t be great?” DT #803, Feb. 21, 1929
“[Do you remember] Lincoln’s famous remark about ‘God must have loved the common people, because he made so many of them?’… Well, you are not going to get people’s votes nowadays by calling ’em common. Lincoln might have said it, but I bet it was not until after he was elected.” WA #82, July 6, 1924
“(President) Coolidge said, ‘I don’t want the Government to go into business.’ Well, if I was Mr. Coolidge I wouldn’t worry over that. The Government never has been accused of being a business man.” WA #158, Dec. 20, 1925
“You could transfer Congress over to run Standard Oil or General Motors, and in two years they would have both things bankrupt.” WA #307, Nov. 11, 1928
“(President Franklin D.) Roosevelt was rather undecided exactly what to do on the stabilization of the dollar till the U. S. Chamber of Commerce come out and told him what to do. Then he knew exactly what to do, do what the Chamber said not to do.
Mr. Roosevelt knows he is right now. Before he was in doubt.” DT #2277, Nov. 20, 1933