After a professional lifetime of chronicling the feats and foibles of politicians, I got to wondering what it might be like to become one.
One doesn’t enter into a career-changing venture like this without realizing that votes aren’t cheap. Well aware of the late Jesse Unruh’s dictum about money being the “mother’s milk of politics,” I set out to get me some.
Working my network of sources, I discovered a shadowy political action committee rumored to be funded by both the Democratic and Republican parties. Expecting a Park Avenue address in Manhattan, I was surprised to find it in the back room of a Dunkin’ Donuts in Poughkeepsie.
On the door was a sign with big letters reading “PPAC.” Inside, seated behind a desk was an officious-looking, bespectacled gentleman who smiled, welcomed me to the headquarters of the Politicians Political Action Committee and asked what he could do for me. On the wall behind him were large, framed photographs of Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich.
“I want to be a politician,” I said. “I understand this is the place to get started.”
The gentleman opened a desk drawer and with a practiced hand moved a piece of paper from it onto the desk. It seemed to be a form of some kind that he hovered over with a yellow No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil. He asked me my name and why I want to be a politician.
“Well,” I said, “I’m very civic-minded, have schooled myself on the issues and have a desire to work tirelessly to represent my constituents with the utmost integrity.”
The guy tried unsuccessfully to stifle a laugh. He leaned back in his chair and guffawed. Presently, he wiped the moisture from his eyes and regained his composure.
“Good one,” he said. “Now really, what do you want from a political career?”