From Bob McCarty Writes, "Was Poker-Playing Congressman Bluffing?" 03.31.2011:http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
Almost five months after Billy Long won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Missouri’s 7th Congressional District, some people are wondering whether the words used on the campaign trail by the auctioneer and real estate industry mogul-turned-politician were serious or just a World Poker Tour-style bluff for votes.
First, some background.
On Nov. 9, 2009, then-candidate Long sat down for a short interview (see video below) with Josh Marsh, Morning News Watch host on KZRG radio in Joplin, Mo.
During the interview, he spoke about the hardships and sacrifices he was willing to make if voters in southwest Missouri elected him to Congress:This morning, from The Hill.com, comes this story about our Congressman Billy Long and his auctioneering debut on C-SPAN yesterday: Rep. Billy Long shows off his skills:
“You have to sell your business. If you have a fiduciary business, you have to sell that, so I’ve gotta walk away from a business I built up for 30 years. Who’s gonna buy it without me there? Answer: Nobody. Whoever I sell it to has to take my name off of it. Now, what’s it worth? Absolutely nothing.
“I own a third interest in the largest real estate company in Springfield; I have to sell that. Do you want to buy a real estate company today? You know, they’re not worth anything, and I have to give up my real estate broker’s license.”
One of those people interested in comparing Long’s rhetoric to reality is Clay Bowler, the conservative Missouri blogger who became the victim of a witch hunt after a complaint by the recently-elected congressman prompted FBI agents to visit him at his Ozark, Mo., home. Five days ago, he reported there was no record yet of Billy Long selling auction house to meet House rules and campaign promise.
The other person is yours truly.
After reading Bowler’s aforementioned post Wednesday, I decided to ask Congressman Long whether or not he had, indeed, sold his auction and real estate businesses.
In a fax sent to his office early Wednesday afternoon, I asked him the following questions:
1. Please name and briefly describe the “fiduciary businesses” in which you hold a sole or part ownership interest.
2. Have you put any of your fiduciary businesses up for sale? If yes, which ones? If not, why not?
3. Have any of your fiduciary businesses been sold? If so, which ones? If not, why not?
Note: I should have asked him if he gave up his real estate license as well, but, alas, I overlooked that.
More than 24 hours after submitting my questions to the congressman’s Washington, D.C., office, I have received NOTHING — not even an acknowledgment of receiving my inquiry — in the way of a response; therefore, I suspect I will have to wait until mid-June to find out. That’s when federal lawmakers’ annual personal financial disclosure reports become public.
UPDATE 4/14/11 at 11:49 a.m. Central: Two weeks have passed since I asked Billy Long to answer questions about his business enterprises, but the freshman congressman has chosen not to reply to my question. Even this morning, his media flak, Bret Funk, blew me off, saying, “Apologies Bob, we are initially focusing on our district press for media requests. Please keep us in mind in the future.” As the video below shows, he is too busy to take questions.
How long would it take to auction off the nation’s $15 trillion debt? Presuming you had a buyer, the answer is about 20 seconds.
This news comes by way of former professional auctioneer and freshman Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), who took to the House floor on Wednesday and rolled his tongue at lightning speed, leading an imaginary bidding war up from $3 trillion to the actual debt of $14 trillion.
“The way our debt is, [Rep.] Jeff Duncan [R-S.C.] and I are some of the few people who can actually keep up with the numbers,” Long said.
Long still owns Billy Long Auctions LLC, which auctions a variety of items. Long’s fellow freshman Duncan specialized in real estate auctions.
But no matter, because when Long began “auctioning” the national debt, it was all a blur.
“Do I see 7, 7, 7 trillion? Eight! Eight trillion, 8 trillion. Wamana wamana 9!” he warbled at warp speed.
This went on all the way up to 14 trillion, and when there were no “takers” for the “15,” Long pronounced “Fifteen? Fifteen? No? Sold! At 14 trillion.”
Red in the face from his performance, Long then explained that the good news is that all those numbers could also be said backwards, and he volunteered for the challenge.
“When we get the spending under control here, I’ll be back.”
ITK is very much looking forward to hearing Long do the auction in reverse.