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The Hon. Bardwell Slote, Of Cohosh
by [?]

At the end of the two years’ term he returns to his home a wiser man. He encourages the idea that in order to get good results it is necessary to return a congressman for many sessions. He has had a taste of the fleshpots. He is sent back. At the next session he is an “old member.” His capacity for chicanery has been increased by experience. Having little morals to start with, he is now as utterly conscienceless as it is possible for a man to be and keep out of jail. He gets his bills through by “fine work.” He prefers to be known as a mole that works under ground. He has formed an ability to add materially to his income. He would get rich, but for the fact that his expenses have increased with his earnings. He has from one to four female employes of the government “on his staff.” He seeks constantly for youthful typewriters. He has learned to dress in a manner that does not shock the populace. His voice takes on an unctuous greasy timbre. He has become something of an authority on canvas-back and wines. His head is full of “schemes” and the pre-requisite of them all is governmental appropriation. In return for his vote in favor of several more or less iniquitous measures, grabs and steals, he has obtained appropriations for the federal building at Bungtown and the light house at Jim Ned creek. The money for the deep water harbor at Squashville is carried in the general rivers and harbors bill and he has hopes that the federal court will sit at Eden the next year. He is more solid with his constituents. Many of them have been made postmasters and railway postal clerks and inspectors of various kinds. One of them has even been given a consulate at Demerara and writes many letters home bearing strange looking stamps. The Hon. Slote at this period is puffy under the eyes. Three Turkish baths a week keep him going. His wife has learned not to question him too closely, and, possible, has found consolations of her own.

So he goes on from year to year. He does not sink any lower in the scale of morality, because already he is about as low as he can get. When a man reaches a stage where he depends for his living altogether on public office and to obtain that office is compelled to fight politicians with their own weapons, not much more need be said than a simple statement of the case. When the day of his decapitation arrives–and it comes to him soon or late–he is apt to develop into a lobbyist. Having been a congressman gives him the right to the floor of the House or Senate. He will be found later on championing any bill that has money in it, no matter how patent the steal.

This description of the Hon. Bardwell Slote, of Cohosh, is not in any way overdrawn. It is, in fact, conservative, If an exact portraiture of him were given, the ICONOCLAST would be unmailable. There are some men in the American House of Representatives who are ornaments to the Republic. They are honest, patriotic and intelligent. But they are woefully few. Slote may stand for the ruck of them. They are immoral and pestiferous demagogues, robbing the public whose pay they draw, and willing to go any length to maintain their seats. Washington is notoriously a rotten city, sexually and politically, and the representatives in Congress, more than any other component of the body civic, help to make it so.

This state of affairs will continue until men are chosen by the people distinctly for merit and past services, and for these things only. There are in the state of Texas to-day, and in every other state of the Union, for that matter, a hundred demagogues who are known to be demagogues. They have fed like buzzards upon the rotting offal of politics and the people continue to vote for them. Every now and then the ICONOCLAST reaches out and whacks one of them a fell blow upon his sconce, but, having tied up his head, he once again returns to his business of craving alms at the hands of his fellows.

If I wanted to send a daughter of mine to perdition, I would leave her in Washington dependent upon the influence of some congressman on the wrong side of forty. If I wished to insure for my son a liberal and eternal dose of hell-fire, I would set before him any one of two hundred representatives and tell him to follow their example in all things. The girl might land as a leader in low-necked bare-armed and swell-busted society or in a bagnio and the boy might land in Congress or in the penitentiary. Washington, D. C., November 23, 1897.