Earlier this week, in the middle of the night, under cover of darkness, the
Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a budget. The process was ugly. It
was as ugly as Ernest Borgnine in a sling shot thong. As ugly as Dick Cheney in
a post-coital haze. As ugly as Celine Dion singing…well…anything. You get
the idea.

In tough times, a budget vote means either having to raise taxes, or cut
popular programs. It is the job of the party leaders to do whatever they have to
do to entice members to put up the difficult vote. In the old days, this was
accomplished with bags of cash, and bags of whiskey, although the latter was
somewhat messy. In the 1960’s some do-gooders made
bribery” a bad word. These were some of the same
people who thought “Chinese Mocha Experience” was a
good name for a musical group. Fortunately, most of these people were hung in
the early days of the Reagan administration.

Now, legislators bargain for other things. During freshman orientation, I was
told what was appropriate to ask for and what was not appropriate to ask for in
exchange for my vote:


= Extra Staff for my office
= Projects for my district
= A
fundraising visit from the governor


= Liposuction
= A mail order bride
= The death of Eric
= An Alpaca farm

Armed with this information, I went
to my leadership to negotiate for my “Yes” vote. Unfortunately, because I had
spent most of the day logged on to to research a bill I was
briefly thinking of introducing, the leadership already had enough votes to pass
the budget before I got there. I sensed right away that this might affect my
bargaining power.

Good evening.

Minority Leader
Were you on again?

I should say not!


What can I do for you?

I’d like several things for my vote. First, I want a

bridge for my district. Of course, since we
have no river to put a
bridge over, I’ll be needing
a river too. It should be called “The Daylin,”
ya know, “The Nile” was taken. I want a new car. The
old one’s
windows are too “tinty.” I’ll also be needing
a sushi chef for the office.
If he has to be part time, I
can live with that. I’ll be needing a big,
blinking, neon
monument to me outside the capital. It should be
but tasteful. Finally, I need the governor to
come to my fundraiser. But I
want it to be different. I
was thinking we could sell raffle tickets, and
the winner
could shave the governor’s legs. So, what’s the word.

Minority Leader

You’re saying I’m too ambitious? OK, I’ll settle
a bus stop for my district and a chance to speak during

Minority Leader

How about a stop sign for my district, and a phone

call to tell me when the vote is?

Minority Leader

Me How about just Ron Popiel’s pocket

Minority Leader

I see you have a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken

over there.

Minority Leader

Can I have a piece?

Minority Leader

Later that night, I went in and voted “Yes.” I wanted to let the leadership
know I was not to be trifled with, although in retrospect, I chose a
particularly ineffective way to do it. But there’s always next year!

Dutch Laroooo