The First Lady

There’s been talk of putting a woman on the ten dollar bill, which I oppose.  Hamilton deserves that honor.  I’ve proposed putting Elizabeth Jackson on the twenty, which I still think is a good idea.  With the passing of Nancy Reagan, I have a new idea.  Put her on the fifty, in place of U. S. Grant.  I have nothing against Grant.  He was the greatest general in American history, and, despite what you’ve heard, an O. K. President.  But I think he’s on the fifty to put a cap on the Civil War.  The North won , the South lost, and if you don’t like U.S.Grant, don’t use a $50.  That’s rubbing it in, vengefulness.

So put Nancy on the fifty, and Elizabeth Jackson on the twenty.  Why are women only entitled to one?  They ought to have half.

I checked the WaPo, and it appears my faith in Semprevivo was warranted.  He knows what he’s talking about.  I wasn’t completely sure until now.

So I have a new plan.  I’m going to figure out a way to get a condo in Anchorage, and begin research for my book, “The Poison Chalice”.  It will roughly cover the same ground that Strohmeyer did in “Extreme Conditions.”  Except that I just happened to be in the middle of it all because of my connection to Hammond.  There are a lot of people still alive that I need to talk to, people that I’ve never discussed any of this with.

Part of my problem was that none of these people knew what to make of me.  Who the hell was I, anyway?   People like Dan Cuddy and Jay Hammond were happy to use me for their own purposes.  And in fact, I turned out to be pretty useful, especially when someone like Bill McConkey or Bob Clarke gave me a good idea of what they wanted done.  I was basically kind of a political hit man.  I wasn’t afraid of any thing or anybody.  I was trying to act like my Uncle Fritz, and I got pretty good at it.  People didn’t want to mess with me.

Add that to my naked ambition, and obvious desire to get out of Alaska and back to Washington, and no one trusted me unless they really knew me.  Bob Clarke was the only one of them that did, and I gradually gained the trust of Rick Halford as well.  So there’s a lot of things I don’t know, and have had to figure out for myself.  That takes a long time.  A lot of this stuff I’ve only figured out in the last couple days.  So I still have some things to learn.

I only had one private talk with Jay Hammond.   This was during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.  Hammond was living in Anchorage in the winters now.  Life at his and Bella’s cabin at Lake Clark was hard in the winter.  Babbie was going strong on the subrogation work which was generating an absolutely amazing amount of money, and I had to have a place to go to get out of the house, so I rented the cheapest place I could find, a small office on the second floor of a rundown building on International Airport Road.  It was bare bones, but that’s all I needed.  We only had one client, State Farm, and they had no reason to come and see me.  Babbie was on the phone with them all the time.

So when Hammond called and said he wanted to see me, he visited me in this office.  Babbie and I had a little secret.  The money machine she had created made me one of the most successful lawyers in Alaska, in terms of making money.  And, as far as lawyers go, that’s how they judge each other.  There was no sense in spending any of that money on an office, so I was a little embarrassed to have Jay Hammond see me in these apparently reduced circumstances.  Actually, I don’t even think he noticed.  Hammond didn’t care about any of that.

It turns out he had a story he wanted to tell me.  I was making progress.  He was starting to trust me.  Right after he was first elected, in 1974, he went to a National Governor’s Conference.  He didn’t know any one there, so he looked at the agenda for the meeting and saw a prayer breakfast, and decided to go.  There were two other Governors there, Carter and Clinton, and he met them both.  He told me he looked into those big blue eyes of Clinton, and actually believed him.  He was laughing at himself, and wanted me to join.

I wish I knew more about that side of the father of the Permanent Fund.

 

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