David Bruce: Politics Anecdotes

• In 2009, the city council of Tucson, Arizona, fired city manager Mike Hein. Mr. Hein is a personal friend of Tucson Weeklycolumnist Tom Danehy, who regarded the firing as the dumb action of a smart city manager by dumb politicians and wrote forcibly about it. After he wrote about the dumb action, the smart city manager, and the dumb politicians, a woman who had read his column asked him, “Are you the horrible person who wrote those awful things about the [City Council members]?” Mr. Danehy replied, “I’m one of them.” The woman then said, “How do you get away with writing things like that? You probably don’t even know [City Council members] Karin Uhlich or Regina Romero. How can you call them ‘dumb’?” Mr. Danehy replied, “Because the editor probably wouldn’t have let me use ‘f—in’ ignorant.’”

• Satirist Al Franken ran seriously for the United States Senate in his native state of Minnesota. Even when he was in the 7thand the 8thgrades, he was interested in politics, In the 8thgrade, he gave weekly reports in his social-studies class about what was going on in politics, and in the 7thgrade, he ran for Class President with the slogan, “Never spit in the face of a man unless his mustache is on fire.”

• Herbert Hoover built his career on Americans’ fear of Communism. On January 2, 1920, he was responsible for the arrest of 10,000 Americans suspected of being Communists, most of whom were found to be innocent and were released. These police-state tactics were widely condemned. In fact, few Americans have been Communists. By 1971, the members of the Communist Party in America numbered only 2,800 — but many of them were really FBI agents. In 1963, Hoover told the assistant secretary of the State Department, “If it were not for me, there would not even be a Communist Party, because I’ve financed the Communist Party in order to know what they’re doing.” FBI agent William Sullivan’s duties included closely monitoring the Communist Party. He once suggested that Hoover release the membership numbers of the Communist Party in order to show Americans that the FBI was winning the war against subversion. Hoover refused to do so, asking, “How do you think I’m going to get my appropriations out of Congress if you keep downplaying the Communist Party?” After Hoover died, Mr. Sullivan said that the “Communist threat” was actually “a lie perpetrated on the American people.”

• Lewis Black and Ron, his brother, occasionally had arguments about politics. For example, Lewis was shocked when Ron told him that he was going to vote for H. Ross Perot for President. They started shouting at each other, and the argument ended with Lewis shouting, “Okay, you do that. You vote for H. F**king Ross Perot. And you know what I’m going to do? I’M GOING TO TELL MOM!”

• The citizens of the former USSR hated the government and the shortages of goods that Communism resulted in. According to one underground joke, if the Soviet Communists ever came to power in the Sahara Desert, the Soviets would soon suffer from a severe shortage of sand. Similarly, the Cubans would know that they had achieved Socialism when they were forced to import sugar.

• Antonio López de Santa Anna lost much of his left leg below the knee while fighting the French in Mexico. A man of great ego, he held a funeral for his leg. Unfortunately, he was often unpopular with the people of Mexico—despite being the President of Mexico five times—and in December of 1844 some Mexican citizens dug up his leg and burned and pulverized it.

• Barbara Bush, the wife of one President and the mother of another President, called her parents Daddy and Mommy until she got married. Her father did not care for anything fake. Once Barbara went on a date with a boy and said, “Good night, Father.” Daddy answered, “Good night, Bobsy. Keep your nose clean.” (By the way, she hated the nickname “Bobsy.”)

• Communism has some major faults, including giving way much power to petty bureaucrats. One city official insisted that musicians paid to perform in a park must play for eight straight hours with no intermissions. When the musicians protested, the official stated, “The Government knows best what is and is not possible.”

• Winston Churchill was a long-time opponent of Communism, but when Adolf Hitler attacked Russia in 1941, he gave a speech in favor of the Soviets. When asked how he could do this, Mr. Churchill responded, “If Hitler invaded Hell I would at least make a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.”

• While in China in 1969, Mother Teresa was asked what she thought a Communist was. She replied, “A child of God, a brother, a sister of mine.” Asked where she had gotten that idea, Mother Teresa said, “From God himself. He said, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:40).

• Maury Maverick, Jr.’s grandmother was hard of hearing. Once his father tried to introduce her to a famous economist, but she misheard him and thought that he had said “communist,” so she ordered him to get the man off her property.

• “The Party administration which oversaw the Kirov did not understand that it is impossible to produce a ballet about the construction of a hydroelectric plant.” — Natalia Makarova, writing about the tight grip the communists kept on the arts in the former Soviet Union.

• In a scene from Diamond Lil, Mae West’s escort says that he is a politician. She replies, “I don’t like work, either.”

• Comedian Bill Hicks was worried when God told Pat Robertson to run for President — until he realized that God hadn’t told him to vote for him.

• Controversial filmmaker John Waters started voting in 1968 when he opted for a write-in candidate: “Any pig will do.”

• Politicians are like diapers. They ought to be changed regularly and for the same reasons.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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