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For All Nails #26: In Birmingham They Love the Guv'nor

Magnolia Hotel
Birmingham, Georgia, SC, USA
29 November 1972

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 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?"

"Who are PC boys, not about to do me any favors.  But you're right.  We'll
leave the foreign grandstandin' to the PJ's.  Tucker?"   

"Governor?"

"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 NC votes in Council.  Nobody from 
Manitoba is well enough known yet.  So that leaves Volk.  Plus Mason's 
still behind him, which matters to more PJ's than you might think."

Skinner nodded, though that anyone would care for the opinion of the man
who had wrecked _his_ party... 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?"

"Yes, Governor?"

"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 stand
up to the Mexicans."

"What about the woman issue?"

"Governor?"

"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?"

"No, Governor."

"You fixin' to marry another woman?"

"No, Governor."

"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 SC 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, GA, 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 [1].  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 comin' 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 lookin' at the problem
with the right values, 'cause 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 gon' 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 doin' 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 SV know they can't breathe dirty air without gettin' 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!"

Notes

[1] Birmingham (called "New Birmingham" in the 1800's and thus referred to 
    once in Sobel) is on the site of Birmingham AL and is somewhat larger 
    because steel and electricity started earlier.  The SC is actually
    quite urban, with NO one of the largest cities in the CNA and Charleston
    far bigger than in OTL.  Georgia includes OTL GA, AL, MS, FL, and bits
    of LA including New Orleans.  Its capital, Cornwallis (moved from
    Savannah around 1840, when OTL Georgia moved its to Atlanta) is on 
    the site of OTL Montgomery, AL.  Terminus is a medium-sized city on
    the site of OTL Atlanta.

Dave MB