RANGE: Mugwumps are found, and have always been found, and will always be found, at every level of federal, state, county, municipal, and local politics. They are a whoopee cushion upon the seat of government, a holdful of bilge on the ship of state, and a blast of hot air in the corridors of power.
HABITS: There is a spirit that drives a man (or woman) to seek elective (or appointed) office. Something stronger, and more elusive, than greed and vanity and power-lust. It is the Mugwump. Tutored by the Mugwump, even the most dedicated public servant quickly learns to speak in the eldritch tongues of Bafflegab and Gobbledygook. Simple office holders can find themselves suddenly and mysteriously transported from their humble post, to far-off and exotic lands, by means of a magic Mugwump junket. He often casts a sleep-inducing spell through a ritual incantation involving the Founding Fathers, the flag, motherhood, and a rich lathering of adjectives over back-home geographical points of interest. When all members present have nodded into a patriotic trance, the Mugwump performs his “dirty tricks”—that is, “Ab” and similar scams.
HISTORY: Mugwumps are descended from the Swedish Nixen, who were guardians of the most travelled water routes of their native land. Like all Swedes (and eponymous American presidents), they are not all motivated by principle, preferring a more nonpartisan image. In one of their earlier adventures in the New World, Mugwumps advised the native Algonquian tribe (Mugwump is an Algonquian name) to remain neutral in the Huron-Iroquois Wars. Today, there are no more Algon-quians. Like his river-protecting predecessors, the cautious Mugwump guards the Potomac in the political position that he has invariably assumed over two hundred years, a position from which he derives his very name: sitting with his mug on one side of the fence and his wump on the other.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: The Mugwump is most often sighted in the vicinity of the free lunch, whose existence he denies. There he stands, beside the gravy train, with a mouthful of corn. See? He’s the one waving the apple pie around and dipping a single chicken into any number of pots for the benefit of the photographers. Watch him slice (from high off the hog) choice bits for his personal pork barrel. Yes, indeed, he specializes in bread and butter issues, but when the heat comes on, he gets out of the kitchen! You can follow his trail, marked as it is by scattered red herrings and all those hot potatoes he just dropped.