Texas Congressmen Bob and Ted were discouraged by the recent election. While both were reelected, they had won their districts by only the slimmest of margins. Equally bad, the exit polls were horrible and plainly, the voters were disenchanted with politicians in general, and believed that Washington was out of touch.
"I know what we can do," said Congressman Bob. "We need to reconnect with the people—show them that we are one of them, that we understand them."
"How do we do that?" asked Congressman Ted. "We don't know any of those people. Hell, do we even know anybody who knows those people?"
"That's why we have aides," Congressman Bob said. "Little people know lots of other little people."
Two weeks later, both politicians walked into a bar in Santo, Texas. Both men were wearing freshly pressed new Levi's, shirts with more shiny buttons than an Italian sports car, and freshly polished boots with the jeans cuffs tucked in. Congressman Bob was leading a large dog on a leash.
The bar became quiet as everyone in the bar stopped and turned to look at the two politicians.
"Howdy! Bob and I just wanted to stop and see what is going on along the Brazos River. And I'm buying the first round of beers."
Few things will make you friends faster in a bar than a fat wallet, and in only a few minutes, there were abundant smiles as the two politicians made their way around the bar, shaking hands and slapping backs.
Over in the far corner, the two old cowboys were finishing off a couple of plates of catfish and tater tots. After gratefully accepting the beers, they continued their meal and kept a wary eye on the two politicians as they worked their way around the room.
"Did you vote for either of those two polecats?" asked Kent.
"Yes, but I wish you hadn't reminded me. I'm eating," Mike answered. "Pass the Tabasco sauce. The one with the dog is our congressman, the other one represents Arlington, I think."
Kent handed the familiar bottle to the other cowboy and watched as Mike liberally spiced up his tater tots. "Most people use ketchup for that," he said.
Mike put the lid back on the bottle and replied, "This is ketchup. Texas Ketchup. And I didn't say anything to you when you drowned that poor fish in vinegar."
"Had to use vinegar--the lemons here are as dry as the Panhandle in June. What do you suppose these two idiots want? I don't trust people that smile that much."
Mike looked over at the two politicians. "Aw, they're just probably trying to prove they understand our problems. I wonder who ironed and starched those jeans," he said.
Kent glanced at the two men and then said, "I wonder where they rented the dog."
Mike set his fork down on the edge of his almost empty plate and leaned back in his booth. "Do you remember that county commissioner we used to have? Rawther or Ransome? Every four years, he'd drive around in this old ratty station wagon and shake hands. I guess he didn't think we were smart enough to remember that in between elections he drove a new Mercedes. I wonder whose barn he kept that wagon in when he wasn't campaigning."
Kent finished a long pull at his beer and answered, "Oh, he didn't keep that in a barn. No, that was his mother's car. The one without the dog--isn’t that the guy who told us about two elections back that the biggest problem facing America was flag burning?"
“Yeah, that’s him,” Mike said. “He convinced me, too. I think every flag in the nation should have a built-in incendiary device so that the flag automatically catches fire when a politician is wrapped up in it.”
Laughing, Kent answered, “And they both claim they have brought jobs to Texas. How two men who have never had a real job between them can believe they have created any jobs is beyond me.”
About then the two politicians made their way to the two cowboy’s table. Bob and Ted immediately shook hands with both of the two cowboys and started in telling them just how much they had had done for this area, how much they had done for ranching...and all the while the two old cowboys were wondering just how polite they had to be in exchange for two free beers.
Ted was just in the middle of expanding on his plans for the great things he and his party were going to do in the future when the front door of the bar opened and a man walked in, stopped and looked around the room until he spotted the two men. He promptly walked over, squatted behind the dog and lifted its tail. Staring intently at the south end of a north facing dog, the man grunted, lowered the tail and walked off.
Bob interrupted Ted. "What in tarnation was that man doing? That's the third time tonight some fool has walked over and without so much as a hello, has lifted the tail of that poor dog, stared at its butt for a while, then stomped off. What the hell is going on? Is this some kind of a joke?"
Mike looked at Kent, who simply shrugged and shook his head. Mike shifted slightly in his seat to look directly at Congressman Bob.
"Well, Congressman, it's like this. Santo is a small place and you two have been in here for at least half an hour. By now, the word is probably out all over town."
"I can understand them wanting to meet us," said the Congressman. "But why are they bothering the dog?"
Mike looked at Kent and said, "Your turn."
Kent appeared distinctly uncomfortable but looked up from the booth at the Congressmen and said, "No. I don't think you understand. They've heard there was a dog in here with two assholes and they just wanted to check for themselves."