IT'S NOT easy for a drug czar to become the head of the Republican Party. William Bennett will soon find this out.
"Mr. Bennett, we sold $1 million worth of tickets for the big GOP fund-raiser in Cincinnati."
"What's the street value of that?"
"I beg your pardon!"
"I don't want to hear about the price -- I want to know how much it comes to when you cut it up in fried chicken. How many SWAT teams will it take to provide valet parking?"
"It's only a dinner, Mr. Bennett. Vice President Quayle is going to be the speaker."
"Make sure you do a body search of the head table and get the dogs to sniff out the big givers."
"Sir, I think you're getting your last job mixed up with this one. There is nothing illegal about raising money for the Republican Party at a dinner."
"Have you ever tasted the food at a fund-raiser? Making people eat it is a crime."
"Mr. Bennett, as our new chairman you are being asked to make a speech in favor of the party. Do you need a writer?"
"I'll borrow some ideas from my upbeat drug agency talks. What do you think of this: The way to attack the budget deficit is to arrange a bust of the Colombian drug cartel in Medellin and link it to the crack houses run by Democratic political candidates in California?"
"Money-laundering should be the big issue of 1992. We'll make the Keating Five the fall guys as far as the presidential election is concerned."
"Suppose the Democrats attack us for our equal rights stand?"
"Then we'll call up Willie Horton from the Coast Guard reserves."
"Isn't he too old?"
"He's in better shape every time he goes on weekend furlough."
"Mr. Bennett, we could be overstepping the mark if we try to use the narcotics war to beat the Democrats."
"That's how much you know. Do you believe that I could have created a drug-free America if I had played it straight down the line? The secret of a smart political strategy is for your informers to rat on their informers before their informers rat on yours."
"You're the hit man. Should we start rounding up the usual suspects for '92?"
"That's why I'm here. I want the American people to make the connection between the liberals and Noriega. As chairman of the Republican Party, I'm going to run this organization the way I ran the drug agency. If this means setting up sting operations in the Capitol cloakroom, so be it. Do you have faith in me?"
"We certainly do, Mr. Bennett. The Republicans sure lucked out when they got a drug czar to lead the party."
"Let's go to work. I'm sure we can win the Hispanic vote if we carpet-bomb the Mexican border."
Art Buchwald is a syndicated columnist.