Value for My Money

     I admit it.
     I once had the bad judgment to give money to a guy soliciting for a political party who came to my front door.
     I think it was maybe $25, or possibly $5.
     Now hardly a day goes by without a hysterical plea for money showing up in my inbox.
     Apparently, the nation will explode or the Apocalypse will arrive if the other side manages to raise more money than my side (assuming I’m really on their side).
     Could this possibly be true?
     If one presidential campaign spends, say, $300 million a month and the other a paltry $200 million, is the election over?
     If I see 10 commercials for the guy I hate and only five for the guy I hate less, am I going to switch my vote?
     Is a barrage of ads for Denny’s going to make me eat there? Why isn’t California Gov. Meg Whitman doing something about the budget crisis?
     Besides, how many commercials can you buy? Doesn’t somebody have to show an episode of “Seinfeld” in between the ads somewhere? I think it’s a legal requirement.
     And I have this other little notion nagging at the back of my mind: Wouldn’t the billion or so being spent on these buffoons look a bit better in, say, a public education budget or maybe some jobs program?
     Where are the hysterical fund-raising emails for the courts and bankrupt cities?
     You may have guessed by now that I don’t contribute to political campaigns. This is in large part because I’m stingy, but also because it just doesn’t seem like that great an investment. What do I get in return?
     Oh sure, you might get lucky and elect someone who actually does something, but how likely is that?
     What I want to see is some real value for my money. What am I going to get if I contribute to a campaign?
     A tote bag would be nice, but I think it would take a little more to make me contribute to some of these guys. If you want my money, political fund raisers, you need to offer some goodies.
     A few examples:
     $30 contribution: A T-shirt with a drawing of the candidate displaying his/her butt and the caption: “This is what I think of my opponents.”
     $1,000: A free airline ticket out of the country during election season.
     $20,000: A front row seat at a candidates debate at which loud farting is encouraged. Whoopie cushion optional.
     $100,000: A promise to write a bill eliminating taxes for anyone who makes exactly what I make.
     $500,000: A night with the campaign intern of my choice.
     $1 million: A coupon good for one legislative vote. For an extra $1 million, I get to write the law.
     $20 million: An autographed contract from the candidate promising he/she will withdraw from the race and never run for public office again.
     IDOL THOUGHT. The announcements last week that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez won’t be returning as “American Idol” judges prompted an immediate realization: there are some openings for judges.
     Why not fill those openings with real judges instead of pretenders?
     Imagine Antonin Scalia in the Simon Cowell spot. Put Sonia Sotomayor next to him and you’ve got the old Simon-Paula magic back again.
     Anthony Kennedy, naturally, gets to be the swing vote.
     Get it? Swing music?
     Oh, never mind …

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