We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee

What the hell are they smoking, then?  Hash oil?

Biddulph wants to make a last ditch effort in Oklahoma, with the Reagan Intiative.  I told sponsor Gary Banz about it weeks ago, and he, like everyone else, could see the merits.  But I don’t think he’s really pushed it, and it looks as though we need a game changer.   So Dave’s going to see if he can get some help from the oil patch, with the Reagan Initiative as bait.  This is how we’ll get Oklahoma next year, if need be.  We’ll have all summer and fall to explain it, and why it is so attractive, both politically and substantively.  We may be a little late with it this year, but it’s definitely worth a try.

You could say the Reagan Initiative is a bold departure from conventional thinking.  I know how some people will react to it.  You can’t do that!  That’s radical!  That’s not mainstream thinking!

Here’s the way I see it.  I learned this from personal experience.  When my law partner, Sam Pestinger joined up with me, part of the deal was I had to be his boating partner.  We bought a 25 foot Bayliner, with twin inboards, and we cruised all over Prince William Sound and Resurrection Bay.  We had no idea what we were doing.  Sam was from Kansas, and I’d never been in much more than a rowboat.  We were a couple of lawyers pretending we were sea dogs.  It was ridiculous.

Our biggest challenge was getting the boat back in our slip without making fools of ourselves.  The Whittier small boat harbor is a busy place on weekends, and people were always watching us when we came in.  Sometimes the wind was blowing, and this is where we had problems.  We would very cautiously inch into our slip, so slowly that the crosswind would blow us sideways into other boats.  What you’re supposed to do is power into your slip, and reverse engines before you slam into the dock.  But we were too timid to do it properly, and constantly screwed up.  People would gather around to watch us.  Lawyers.

We’ve been inching our way with the BBA, and it’s not working.  We need to have a little courage and power up with the Reagan Initiative.  Faint heart never won fair lady.  Go bold or go home.

When we started making some money Sam wanted a bigger boat, so we got a 35 foot Uniflite.  We hired a guy to watch it in the winter, but he screwed up and it sank, right in the harbor, in a big storm.  Somebody took a picture of it and it ran in Alaska magazine, with the caption, “Boat sinks in Whittier due to poor winterization.  Owned  by two lawyers named Pettyjohn and .Pestinger.”

It was just as well.  The only way we could justify having a boat was as a business expense, and the IRS issued a rule saying you couldn’t do that anymore.  We were fully insured, so I took my share and my buddy Wayne Cates and I bought a bar.   We named it Swiftwater Bill’s Dance Hall and Saloon, and turned it into a rock and roll bar, with a big dance floor.   We’d bring rock groups up from L.A. and we were doing so well we bought another one, and named it after Swiftwater Bill’s girl friend, Gussie L’Amour.

I’d found a way to get out of the law business, which I hated.  I hated everything about practicing law, especially having to deal with lawyers all the time.  I don’t much care for lawyers, as a rule.  There are exceptions, but not many.  The only part I liked, and the only part I was any good at, was jury work.  I loved final argument to a jury.  I tried a federal drug case that was open and shut.  They had my guy cold, but he insisted on going to trial.  I came up with some mind attack of a defense, and I raised so much hell the jurors thought I must be on to something.  I kept them out for four or five hours.  We were sitting in chambers with Judge James Fitzgerald, a legendary figure in Alaska legal history, and I remember him complimenting me on keeping them out as long as I did.  I had nothing to stand on.  He was impressed, which meant a lot to me.

When I  ran for the State Senate I had to get out of the bar business.  It had a pretty seedy reputation in Anchorage.  But I had a memento of it on my wife’s Jeep Wagoneer, which she used to haul the kids around.  It was a bumper sticker that read “I won the banana eating contest at Swiftwater Bill’s.”  She was a good sport.

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