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The Greatest Political Prank in American History

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
January 2, 2023 3:00 am

The Greatest Political Prank in American History

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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January 2, 2023 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Duncan Scott tells us his story of pranking the New Mexico State Legislature.

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It's Dramos. You may know me from the recap on LATV. Now I've got my own podcast, Life as a Gringo, coming to you every Tuesday and Thursday. We'll be talking real and unapologetic about all things life, Latin culture and everything in between from someone who's never quite fit in.

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For cleaning tips and exclusive offers, visit slash BonaClean. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories. And we tell stories about everything here on this show and we love your stories.

Send them to Everyone has that one funny friend, the wise guy, the one that's mastered pranks, has clever comebacks or pulls humor out of the strangest situations. Maybe, well, just maybe if you're lucky, you're one of them.

But we all know at least one and they have the best stories. Today's wise guy, Duncan Scott, hails from the great state of New Mexico. When I was elected to the state Senate in New Mexico in 1992, I was on a path of politics. But after I served four years in the state Senate, I concluded while it was an incredible honor to represent the people who were in my district, it was an absolute waste of my time. I was a Republican. New Mexico is a heavily blue Democratic state. So whatever Republican principles or philosophy I brought to the state Senate, it was dead on arrival.

An educated monkey could have sat in my chair and it would have made no difference whatsoever for the arc of New Mexico history. When I did the pointy hat bill, it was obvious to me that if I proposed serious legislation, it wasn't going anywhere. And the pointy hat bill was really to address the insanity defense plea. So I thought that satire and humor was a better form for getting out the idea that the insanity defense is way overused and inappropriately than drafting some technical change on the rules of evidence that nobody would see and would fall asleep if they read.

Your listeners will have to go back to the summer of ninety four and some will be alive. And my story with the pointy hat bill starts with O.J. Simpson.

You recall he was driving with Al Dowling down the Santa Monica freeway in the white Bronco and America was captured by it that night. And I was watching it on TV and the commentators were saying O.J. will plead the insanity defense. He's clearly done it.

And that's his only option. Of course, later that proved not to be true. But as I watched the white Bronco and then reflected on it over the next few days, I came to the idea that I would draft the pointy hat bill and introduce it when O.J. pled the insanity defense. So we now know that O.J.

not only didn't plead the insanity defense, but he was acquitted in all charges by a jury the next year. So I drafted this bill and had it in my Senate bill drawer, not introduced. And I would show it to some of my friends in the Senate.

They'd all have a good laugh. And we yucked about it. And I didn't think too much about it. Then one night, a benign bill came out on the Senate floor to re-license psychologists. There was a sunsetting provision and it was really an incontroversial or noncontroversial bill. And while it's on the floor, a friend of mine who had seen my pointy hat bill turned around and said, hey, why don't you attach your bill as a floor amendment to that bill?

I said, that's a great idea. Grab the Senate. So my colleagues stood up and started debating the bill, which gave me time to get out scissors and tape. And I cut up my bill and taped it to a floor amendment sheet and ran it up to the to the reader of the Senate. Now, at that point, normally the reader would photocopy the bill and distribute it to the 42 senators. Instead, I asked permission for the reader to read my floor amendment. When a psychologist or psychiatrist testifies during a defendant's competency hearing, the psychologist or psychiatrist shall wear a cone-shaped hat that is not less than two feet tall.

The surface of the hat shall be imprinted with stars and lightning bolts. Additionally, the psychologist or psychiatrist shall be required to don a white beard that is not less than 18 inches in length and shall punctuate crucial elements of his testimony by stabbing the air with a wand. Whenever a psychologist or psychiatrist provides expert testimony regarding a defendant's competency, the bailiff shall contemporaneously dim the courtroom lights and administer two strikes to a Chinese gong. Not surprisingly, the Senate got a good laugh. And then I stood up because it's bad form to joke with people's bills. So I asked to withdraw my amendment instead of the body allowing me to withdraw it. The Senate passed my amendment.

So then I stood up and said, I have so little control or power in this body, I can't even kill my own bills. So at that point, the benign licensing of psychologists now has my pointy hat bill on it. And the sponsor of this benign bill, Senator Romero, was standing there sort of shell shocked. And worse, he had a psychologist next to him, who was the expert to testify on the bill if needed. His bill has my pointy hat amendment on it. So I went over and I apologized to Senator Romero and to the psychologist saying, you know, I did my best not to get it attached, but here we go. And then the bill went over to the House. The House stripped the amendment off, sent it back to the Senate. We concurred.

And that's how the bill made its way through the legislative process, really on a happy accident one night late, late at night. I did not run again and did not do much in terms of politics in New Mexico. Thereafter, I really focused on my law practice, raising a son, having a wonderful marriage. And, you know, mom and pop stuff. I've had a wonderful life. It's been it's been a great adventure, but I was through with politics at that point. And great work to Joey for bringing us that piece and a special thanks to Duncan Scott, the greatest political prank in American history. The pointy hat bill, the story behind it here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the great American stories we tell and love America like we do, we're asking you to become a part of the Our American Stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country, please make a donation. A monthly gift of seventeen dollars and seventy six cents is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to our American stories dot com now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-02 09:56:46 / 2023-01-02 10:00:38 / 4

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