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Knock it off


Knock, knock."

"Who's there?"

"Your friendly political fund-raiser. We sent you a desperate letter and you never answered it. What kind of American are you?"

"I'm a good American, but I'm broke. There is just so much you can give to defend the country from Washington."

"Are you interested in saving the flag from being burned, putting God back in the public schools, bringing the death penalty back for welfare mothers and ensuring that everyone in the country can carry a concealed weapon?"

"I am also interested in paying my son's college tuition and donating a little something to my pension fund."

$1,000 per head

"Give us $1,000 for a so-so table at Newt Gingrich's birthday ball and we'll make sure that an X-rated movie will never play in your neighborhood again."

"Isn't there a better way to finance our elections and select our leaders?"

"That would require election reforms and the country can't afford them. Suppose I made a package deal for you. For $10,000 you jog in the morning with Bill Clinton, go to a prayer breakfast with Phil Gramm, exchange one-liners in the Senate cloak room with Bob Dole and help Colin Powell autograph his book at Borders. It's the same deal we're offering registered lobbyists."

"I appreciate the offer, but can I only send in a check for $100?"

"What do you think $100 can buy in politics these days? You would be lucky to get a seat on a bench in Lafayette Park. When you donate to a PAC you must be certain that the sum is large enough to guarantee yourself an ambassadorship to France."

"If I give to a politician, won't I be buying his vote?"

"No, all you will be buying is access to him at the Hard Rock Cafe so that you can explain your side of the story."

"How much will this access cost?"

"It's gone up quite a bit since everyone is buying access. I think we could squeeze you into a committee chairman's waiting room for $25,000."

"I don't have $25,000 to talk to my congressman."

"OK. For $1,000, we'll let you leave a message for him on his answering service."

Art Buchwald is a syndicated columnist.

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