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Meanwhile in America.

Ussually I snarl at urchins and kick over beggars, but this is lucky day for the street people of Portland Oregan ...

HEY, MAN, CAN YOU SPARE 75 CENTS?

I'm feeling generous.

HERE BUDDY.

After all, why deny this gentleman when, not two hours before, I'd sent $100 to the Howard Dean campaign?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

It was as simple as a pie. Got on the ol' Internet, typed in a few words and numbers, clicked here, clicked there, and one of my hard-earned C-notes magically made its way to the bubbling coffers of the good governor's campaign.

TO HELL WITH MATCHING FUNDS ...

HEH HEH!

(The electronic transfer of money has always made me giddy.)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

But I'm giddy for other reasons. That was the first time I'd ever contributed to an election campaign. I hate the word "empowered," but that's exactly how I felt shovering my dough into the furnace of a life-and-death political fight like this one.

BETWEEN THE TWO OF US, GEORGE SOROS AND I WILL TOPPLE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION AND CHASE ITS REMNANTS BACK TO THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

It is common-place to say that American elections are about money, but I have done the mathematics.

LET US SUPPOSE THAT GEORGE BUSH FALLS SHORT OF THE HIGHEST PROJECTIONS AND RAISES "ONLY" $ 200 MILLION FOR HIS ELECTION FUND.

THE ONLY DEMOCRAT WHO SEEMS SET TO MATCH THAT FIGURE IS HOWARD DEAN.

FOR PURPOSES OF THIS COMIC, LET ME ANOINT HIM THE FUTURE DEMOGRATIC NOMINEE.

Then my calculations--based on the demonstrably fallacious motion that the popular vote will decide the next election--indicate that Bush and Dean will be able to spend up to $4 for each of the bare minimum 50 million votes needed to win.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

LET'S SEE NOW ...

DIVIDE BY TWO, CARRY THE ONE, SQUARE THE QUADRATIC ...

SO FACTORING MY $100 CONTRIBUTION INTO MY $4-PER-VOTE FORMULA I'VE JUST BOUGHT HOWARD DEAN AT LEAST 25 VOTES.

ALL COMPLETELY LEGAL!

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The next day I'm off to see Dean in the flesh on a half-day fundraising swing through town. My $100 contribution gets me through the door, and $4 at the cash bar puts a drink in my hand.

HMMM ... ACCORDING TO MY EARLIER ESTIMATES, THIS CABARNET IS THE EQUIVALENT TO ONE VOTE FOR HOWARD DEAN.

AND OF COURSE, 2000 WAS NOT A GOOD YEAR.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Hundreds of people are here tonight. Most have paid $100 each ($25 for students), and they mill about to expectantly for the candidate to wind up blowing kisses at a more intimate gathering of supporters who've forked over $ 1,000 each.

I figure Mr. Dean is pulling in three-quarters of a million tonight--which makes how many votes?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A lot! Enough to make me feel okay about drinking up another of them ...

WAITER!

FILL IT UP OVER HERE!

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Suddenly the candidate enters the room. If we weren't already on our feet, we'd be on our feet!

We're cheering!

We're applauding!

We want to believe everything he says!

And ignore the things he says that we don't like!

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

That's all folks!

WHAT DID YOU THINK?

HE SAID SOME THINGS I WANTED TO HEAR AND SOMETIMES HE TALKED IN PLATITUDES. HE SKIPPED AROUND A BUNCH.

WELL, I THOUGHT HE WAS VERY GOOD.

I'M GOING OVER TO SHAKE HIS HAND.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

But how much does it cost to shake his hand? I haven't got time to find out. I want to catch a bus before my return ticket expires.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

On the way down NW 21st St., I get hit up for money again.

CAN YA HELP ME OUT, PAL?

I've got to think about it.

Yesterday I was asked money six times ...

... by transients and Vietnam vets and a homeless girl with a dog.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED

Maybe there's more to it than my $4-per-vote calculations. Maybe the economy is recovering, and maybe that's why Bush will hold on in 2004. But something tells me that the champagne trickling down from the fountains of the Cheneys won't ever reach Boxcar Bill here. My guess is neither Dean nor any of the others will do much for him either. It's my intervention or nothing.

I give him a dollar, the equivalent of a quarter vote.

THANKS BUD.

It probably won't make a difference either way.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
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Author:Sacco, Joe
Publication:Washington Monthly
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:723
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