Monday, September 13, 2010

No, Really, He Said He Didn't Know This Would Be A Public Deal. Meanwhile, In A Van Down By The River...

Billy Long passes out sweets to voters this summer during a parade while one of Billy's handlers sits in the van down by the river and sends a text to Billy: "hey bff, don't give away all the jolly ranchers, save me some!"

Last Tuesday, I was party to perhaps the only unscripted conversation with Billy Long that will occur during this election cycle. As the conversation went on, Long's campaign aide kept reminding him that he had another appointment. Billy keeps the conversation going.

Telling in this segment how he didn't know his business tour "would be a public deal", Billy seems to forget that that was specifically mentioned in the press release released by his campaign. Perhaps Billy's handlers didn't think he needed to see it.

In which case, Billy, you can read it here. Money quote: "He encourages members of the community to turn out for discussion of business issues."

BL: Where’s your bus?

JL: My bus is parked, I always park my bus.

BL: I want to see your bus, it’s, I wanted you to bring your bus.

MM: Well, I’m glad we came out here, I wanted you to hear

JL: I, uh.

BL: Well, thank you, I didn’t know this would be a public deal, we, we’re just touring and visiting with small business guy

MM: We don’t get to ask questions

JL: Well, that’s just

MM: The regular people don’t have much access to ask our questions. As you can see, we’re not here to attack.

BL: No. (overtalk about taking photos between group)

JL: You’re a public figure, we’re gonna make fun of you, no, not make fun of you, we’re gonna take, we’re gonna jab you. I mean, that’ part of the business.

BL: I know, Jim.

This was perhaps the third time Long said something about not knowing what was in the press release, not knowing that it was public. At first, I thought he might just be covering up for the fact that no one showed up for the events (4 people did show up in Monett). Then, I wondered if he really didn't know what was going on his campaign office, that his handlers were calling the shots and Billy was out doing his auction speel only instead of calling it auction speel, it is campaign speel.

Let's parse these two scenarios out. If Billy is lying when he says he didn't now it was in the paper and didn't know it would be open to the public, why? Why lie about something so small and inconsequentional? But asking that question leads to a much bigger question---if you are going to lie about something as small as seeing something in the newspaper, what else are you willing to lie about? Being "Fed Up" with Career Politicians? That you never agreed to do 10 courthouse debates?

If Billy truly didn't know what was in the press release, that he didn't read the newspaper then that begs the question of who is running Billy's campaign? His out of town consultants? Harris, Roe, Klidnt, Redding? If Billy is not even aware of what his press releases say, if, as it appears, he doesn't read them, how do he expect us to believe that if he is elected in November he will read every word in every bill introduced in the House of Representatives? Will he depend on others to do his reading for him or will he just let the lobbyists tell him how to vote.

From Long's website:

He shares the values of the Seventh District and will stand up for your rights. Like you, he is concerned about the damage that career politicians have done to our great country, and he will fight against the policies of entrenched legislators, corrupt pork-barrel politicians, and all others who are more concerned about their legislative career than doing the right thing for southwest Missouri. Billy is not afraid to make tough decisions, which makes him the best choice to be your Congressman

Doesn't it sound like he's talking about his new bff?
I sometimes think that, given that Long has shown no visible desire to formulate public policy before he jumped into this congressional race, that for Billy the chase is the thing. He's an adrenalin junkie.

Billy lives by his wits. I know that. He's an auctioneer, a poker player, a salesman, he's "negotiated a million deals". All this involves pitting his wits against the auction crowd- fast-talking them into a higher bid, the other poker players--bluffing out the other players, and getting the best in a deal--buy low, sell high, never accept the first offer and don't make any concessions without getting one first.

I think he gets a 'rush' from doing this--the auctions, the poker playing, the campaign, winning. He beat those other guys in the primary, his name was on a full back page in the Springfield newspaper for years, he was a talk show radio host, he'd rent University Plaza and put on those 'Mega Events' (It'll sell and sell well) and Billy, by whatever means (remember how he promised no negative campaigning? I do), always came out on top. It's all about me! Top of the world, Ma!
In the closing minutes of our talk at Trailliner on Tuesday, I asked Long if he provided health insurance for his employees.

Billy Long replied "They're all covered, I've offered it to them, the ones that don't have, everybody's got healthcare, I offer it to them either in salary and that, and they always take it in salary, so."

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