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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

May Common Ground E-Newsletter

2016 May 06

An Early Political Lesson:        

He was fond of joking, "Democracy is a lot like sex. When it is good, it is very, very good.  And when it is bad? …… Well, It’s still pretty good."  My congressman was a funny guy, even wrote a book Too Funny to Be President shortly after Jimmy Carter out-tagged him for the job.


Young, naïve and in my first job, I liked my Congressman. His name was Morris K. Udall, or Mo as he was called, but by my second month in his office my admiration would take a hit.  


My job, going through the congressman's mail, was great fun and very educational. People wrote about jobs, taxes, the bomb, guns, abortion, drugs, environment, education, pretty much the same issues everyone still writes about today. However, there was one letter that snapped me straight up in my chair.


 She wrote, "You bastard!  How dare you promote tobacco with tax breaks? You’re murdering people."


 Was it true? Did he do such a thing?  She was referring to a recent vote to subsidize the tobacco industry, so I looked it up. She was right, Mo did vote for it. I couldn’t believe it! Surely not a single Southern Arizonan (the district Mo represented) would support such a thing.


 When Mo walked in with his chief of staff I confronted them.  Mo gave me a weary look and told his chief of staff, “You handle this.”  


It ...

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