For All Nails #26: In Birmingham They Love the Guv'nor
by David Mix Barrington
Governor Lennart Skinner was a happy man, though as he always worked to present a happy face to the public, and even to his staff, you couldn't necessarily tell. The last pieces of his campaign for the Liberal nomination had fallen into place, and it seemed that he would have use after all for the speech he had dreamed of for months. Grover Speigal would be the candidate for Council President, thus more likely the Liberal floor leader come February. His 117 delegates would support Skinner for GG, putting him well over the top. But come February, Skinner would most likely not be Governor General, but merely the titular leader of the second-largest party (though still Governor of Georgia).
Why, then, was he so happy? Because Carter Monaghan's run of good fortune was not going to last forever. And when it ended, the nation would turn to the other party, the one other party that could govern nationally, the Liberal Party. And after tomorrow, the Liberal Party belonged to Governor Lennart Skinner.
Around him in the hotel suite were the men who had brought him to the nomination -- many had brought him to the Governor's office seven years before. Tucker Marshall, Daniel Charles, Armin Gregory -- good Georgians all, and good friends. And then there was Michael Murphy. A good Liberal, technically a Georgian, he supposed, though outside of his speeches he scarcely counted New Orleans as part of Georgia. In particular, the University of New Orleans sometimes seemed more like part of old Papal Italy, and Murphy was a "triple-threat" UNO man -- prep school, undergrad, and law. But he needed Murphy -- the one man with real diplomatic experience in the Liberal Party who didn't now look like a complete Masonist idiot. What did the man want now?
"Governor, there's one part of this draft I have a comment on."
"Why, sure, Michael, go ahead. Can't go ruffling any diplomatic feathers, now, can't Ah?"
"It's the offer to meet with Mercator. It's a good idea, sure, but the last thing you want is to be seen as making your own foreign policy. Maybe if you made the offer to the current Foreign Ministry?"
"The PJ's gon' nominate Volk again?"
"Yessir, day after tomorrow. They got no better idea. Smartest man in that party is Levine. She don't want the job and don't really care who gets it, long's she got her bloc of N.C. votes in Council. Nobody from Manitoba is well enough known yet. And now that Mason's left politics for his alky crusade, Volk is their last national figure."
Skinner nodded while the secretary came in with the coffee. "Levine. Damn, a woman that smart and that good looking, and she dumps the Party for the PJ's."
"Well, there's the woman issue, Governor -- educated women looking for better jobs ..."
"We got us a damn fine educated woman right here. Betty? Or should Ah say Miz Richards?"
"Who you gon' vote for?"
"Why, you, Governor."
"What if Ah weren't running -- what if no Liberal were running?"
"Why, Monaghan, I reckon, he seems like a decent man, and he'll standup to the Mexicans."
"What about the woman issue?"
"Tucker here says smart women like you are lookin' for better jobs, and the PJ's gon' give 'em to you."
"Well, Governor, I run your whole office for you, I hire and fire ten people, that's a pretty good job, better'n most women have."
"And the rest of the woman issue -- you fixin' to move to Brooklyn City?"
"You fixin' to marry another woman?"
"Are you in favor of free love?"
"Well, Governor, my momma told me that anything free was only worth what you paid for it."
"There you go, Tucker, here's the flower of S.C. womanhood. She's not protestin for women's opportunity, she's makin' it herself. Which reminds me. Betty, am Ah payin' you what you're worth?"
"Not even close, Governor."
"Well, fine, then, Ah cain't afford what you're worth, but let's sit down next Monday and see what we can do."
"I'll put it on your calendar, Governor. And you can bet it won't be bumped off."
Excerpts from Georgia Governor Lennart Skinner's speech accepting the Liberal nomination for Governor-General: Birmingham, Georgia, SC, CNA, 30 November 1972.
"Those of you in this hall from Georgia know me pretty well. But for the rest of you, and all of you out there in vitavision land, let me introduce myself. I'm Lennart Skinner, and I'm the Governor of Georgia. My daddy was Byron Skinner, and he had a farm outside Selma, not far from Cornwallis where I live now FN1. My momma was born Anniken Kringstad, the daughter of an ironworker who left Scandinavia for better work right here in Birmingham. I tell you these things because family and history are important to us in Georgia. We venerate the people who gave us the opportunity to be born here, by coming from England and Ireland and Sweden and Italy and even Mexico. Those people were small farmers, tradesmen, factory workers ..."
"And now Georgia is big and growing bigger, but we've never forgotten that we're still farmers and tradesmen and factory workers, that agriculture and trade and industry make our state what it is. Even though we're now growing soybeans and grapefruit and even catfish instead of cotton, we're trading round the world by airmobile, and we're building machines never dreamed of by John Calhoun or Willie Lloyd. Industries and products change, but values never change -- an honest day's work for an honest pound, knowing your neighbors and working with them to build communities."
"I'm not here to say one bad word about my opponent in this election. Carter Monaghan grew up on a farm just like I did -- Southern Vandalia is almost as good and pure and beautiful as Georgia itself. He's earned the trust of our nation in difficult times, as a man and as a leader. But where I differ from Mr. Monaghan is how I set about addressing the problems of the people. Let me explain."
"Cornwallis, Georgia is a small town though it's the capital of a big province. I know my friends in the Legislative Assembly -- I know their mommas and their poppas, what grows in their district, what gets made there. When we have a problem we talk it over to get the district view and the province view, right there together, and we work out something that will make everyone happy."
"That's the Liberal way, ever since the great Henderson Dewey. People at different levels of government: town, county, district, province, state, confederation -- all talking to each other and working on the same team. That's how we do it in Georgia, and that's how I'll do it as your Governor-General."
"The PC way is different. Again, Mr. Monaghan starts looking at the problem with the right values, because he's a good man, like I said. But he's in a PC government, and they do it the PC way. A decision gets made at the top, then everyone on the team does it that way, or else. Look at the problem when our friends west of the border cheapened their currency to flood our markets with cheap steel and cheap oil and cheap, unsafe Mexican locomobiles. Who's going to buy an honest CNA loke when the Mexican one's selling for half what it cost to make it? But did we put in a protective tariff right away, to counter this economic warfare? I'm sure that deep down, Mr. Monaghan knew that's what he should have done. And if he'd been talking to real people from all over the CNA, they'd have agreed with him. But who did he talk to? The Broad Street bankers and their Mayor, Anderson Brady. And they said no, we can't put a tariff on, we got loans to these Mexicans and we gon' lose our money! And the GG says, well, what if we have the government back up your loans, then can we have a tariff? And they said no,we got investments in these foreign Mexican companies, not in CNA companies, so we doin' fine with no tariff. So after the loan guarantees and the delay in the tariff, we finally are doing the right thing, but you see where the PC way got us?"
"Same thing with the Clean Water and Clean Air bills. Mr. Monaghan knows his daddy couldn't have run his farm without clean water, and his people in S.V. know they can't breathe dirty air without getting sick, but who was at the table when the PC decided to kill the bills? Not you and me, and not people like you and me. Now in Georgia we got the cleanest steel mills in the world, and clean cars burning corn alcohol in New Orleans, and the biggest wildlife reserve in the CNA in the Everglades. And why is that? Because real people, even the real people who make steel and drive cars and farm near the Everglades, they want clean air and clean water! And in the Liberal way, we all sit down together and say yes, we'll build these clean steel mills and then we'll sell the technology to anyone who wants to make clean steel ..."
"I've pointed out some differences between the PC way and the Liberal way. But on one point there is no PC way or Liberal way, there is only the CNA way, and that is Mexico. I stand together with our Governor-General as he faces down the menace across our border. I stand together with him against Mexican spies in Michigan City. I stand together with him against Mexican soldiers in Northern Vandalia. At last, I stand together with him against cheap, below-cost Mexican imports. And most of all I stand together with him against Mexican ships and airmobiles in New Granada that threaten that country's neighbors. If I should be asked to deliver that message to Senor Mercator himself, as the leader of the Liberal Party or as Governor of Georgia, I will do so proudly. And with your help, my friends, come February the fifteenth I will deliver that message as your Governor-General!"
Forward to FAN #27: Sexo, Drogos, y la Musica del Diablo.
Forward to 14 December 1972: For Want of a Fact.
Forward to CNA Politics: That All the World Should be Counted.
Return to For All Nails.