THE CONGRESSIONAL check-writing scandal has not been the best election news for most candidates. But some campaign managers are trying to take advantage of it.
Don Tiger met with Congressman Blankman and told him, "We're changing our strategy. We have to appeal to the check-bouncers' vote. There are thousands of Americans out there who have written rubber checks and feel that no one gives a damn about them."
Blankman said, "Tiger, I wish you would take this scandal a little more seriously. My mail indicates that the people are furious. They are worried that if I can't balance my own checkbook, I'll have trouble balancing the nation's budget."
"How about this? When you came to Congress you didn't know that you had to keep enough funds in your account to cover your checks. You were told by senior members that a congressman's bank account was similar to a budget bill in the House of Representatives, and that your checks would be covered by the deficit. We'll announce that you will never bounce a check again."
"It's easy for you to say that, but have you ever tried to keep enough funds in a checking account to cover everything?"
"I have, but my children haven't."
"I bounced 987 checks. Won't my opponent say that I'm full of hubris and sloth?"
"We will announce that when you signed the checks you thought you were drawing funds on government appropriations and not on your personal account. Since you deal in billions of dollars every day, the public can't expect you to keep track of the nickels and dimes you spend on yourself."
"It could or could not work, but we have to do more to deflect the fallout from the scandal. I was thinking of calling for an FBI investigation of the reporters who broke the story. That should take people's minds off what I did. We can also hold the House bank employees in contempt of Congress for revealing how the House does its banking."
"What good will that do?"
"If we hold them in contempt, then maybe the voters won't hold us in contempt."
"Our mail suggests that the electorate wants an explanation. Suppose we convince the voters that bouncing checks is an American tradition like telling people 'The check is in the mail.' You can say that without rubber checks the economy would go into a recession and the country would face fire, pestilence and drought. Tell people Abe Lincoln would never have been president if he hadn't bounced checks."
"Well, let's call it a night and sleep on it."
"Sir, I hate to raise the subject, but I haven't been paid in three weeks."
"I'm sorry to hear that. Here, I'll write you a check."
"Meaning no disrespect, sir, but could I have your wristwatch instead?"