Changing horses

Art Buchwald

August 04, 1992|By Art Buchwald

NO MATTER what anyone tells you, the name of the game in this presidential campaign is money. You just cannot elect a leader of the free world without lots and lots of dollars.

Political Action Committees (PACS) are one of the main sources of money. They raise funds from their members to ensure fair treatment from Washington for their particular businesses.

There is a saying in the nation's capital that if you want to know how the current elections are going, follow the PACs.

That's the reason I went out to the warehouse where the Thumb Tack PAC is located. Dumfree, who runs it, was on the loading platform holding a clipboard. His crew was piling sacks of money into the rear doors of Brinks trucks.

Dumfree yelled to the driver, "Hold up on making that delivery to Bush headquarters. Drop it off at Clinton's instead."

The driver asked, "What's up?"

"The polls just came in. It's Clinton two to one. If we give to Bush, we're throwing good money after bad."

I said to Dumfree, "Are the Thumb Tack people going to cut off Bush altogether?"

"No, we're sending over an envelope with a bicycle messenger. But there is no sense using a truck for what we're donating to the Republican Party."

"Are they aware that your PAC will not be contributing big bucks this time?"

"Not yet, but we gave a lot to Bush in 1988 and it's only fair that we do the same for the Democrats this time."

"It doesn't sound as if it has anything to do with fairness. I suspect that it has more to do with putting your money on someone who has the best chance of winning."

"PAC people don't think like that. The reason that we donate is to support the electoral system. You see that Brinks truck over there loaded to the gills with cash and checks? That goes to the house chairman on thumb tack oversight. He's a good honest politician and we want to make sure he stays that way. We would ship it over to him whether he made life or death decisions on Thumb Tacks or not."

"What can a president do for thumb tacks to warrant your large contributions?"

"Thumb tacks are essential to a successful government. The Republicans have had their old plans tacked up on walls all over Washington ever since Reagan took office. Nobody reads them any more. The American voter wants change. Change means new thumb tacks, or as Clinton calls it, 'New Covenants.' This means that the U.S. will have to order millions of tacks. That's why we've redirected the shipment of PAC money to the Democrats."

While we were talking, a red-faced Republican fund-raiser came storming onto the dock. "Where is the money truck for the Bush-Quayle Father and Son Prayer Breakfast?"

Dumfree looked innocent. "We sent it over by postal express yesterday."

"Well, we didn't get it and we heard that you delivered a truckload of money to the Elvis Presley for Clinton Committee in Nashville. We know it came from you because there was a bumper sticker on the truck which said, 'Honk If You Think Quayle Should Keep The Baby.' "

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