Every Man a King, the Autobiography of Senator Huey P. Long

[National Book Company, $1.00]
His Highness, the Kingfish, to clear up a mystery,
Has sat himself down and indited a history —
The self-praising annals of Huey the Great,
Addressed to the bumpkins who swallow his bait.
But many another will read it to see
What manner of siatesman this Long fellow be.
In the year ninety-three Huey’s hero was born.
For birthright God gave him a mouth like a horn
With a bellows for lungs, and with talent enough
To know how to blow it: to shout and to puff
The cause of ‘The Peepul’ from morning fill night,
Thus rousing the yokels with frenzied delight.
As a lonesome hound dog bays his note to the moon,
So Huey for years now has played the same tune.
And it’s one of the best, as his deeds indicate,
For him who from nothing would rise in the State —
Provided that State is down deep in the South
Where leadership calls for but one thing — a mouth.
In a land where each crossroad has forensic matches
And speeches grow thickly in lush purple patches,
Where rhetoric flourishes, orators rant —
There the Heflins and Longs build their fortunes on cant.
The Kingfish admits, as his record makes clear,
That fife has n’t always been skittles and beer.
Brought up on a farm where the going was rough,
At sixteen he left it — he’d sweated enough!
A vision came to him that was n’t so drab —
To exercise glibly his great gift of gab,
Forcing with talk Opportunity’s door
By setting up shop as the Friend of the Poor.
And it works like a charm, this new wrinkle in slumming,
If you take in the suckers both going and coming,
Hot-airily tainting society’s health
As acknowledged professional baiter of wealth.
The mob ‘fell for’ Huey — he rose on their back
From high-pressure salesman to lawyer, to jack
Of all trades political, master of tricks
That make loyal voters of hillbilly hicks.1
He promised them this and he promised them that,
And often, as Governor, went to the bat
To make good his word — and why should he not?
If he had n’t, forsooth, he’d have been on the spot!
For with bridges and roads he was building a road
And a bridge for himself to the Senate’s abode.
But the lives of the great have their ups and their downs,
And the same thing is true of political clowns.
Thus Huey confesses, with modesty rare,
That he made him a President out of the air:
An original member of F. R. B. C.,2
The Kingfish was kingmaker also, hints he;
Without him, the White House would still have its Quaker,
Or else it would shelter a Smith or a Baker.
But Huey worked hard, and Huey worked long —
And now his own President’s done hint a wrong:
After lean years of Republican drouth
The patronage plums go to some other mouth!
And so ends his tale on a note of sharp anguish,
For when jobs decline even Kingfishes languish.
  1. ‘I have lost New Orleans in all my campaigns,’ p. 103.
  2. For Roosevelt Before Chicago.