“No Explanations” by James Jay Schifrin


Nothing much happened at the Patronage County Political Headquarters Wednesday morning, except that Hereditary Party Chairman Peter Principal came out of hiding long enough to answer a few questions from the news media.

“How do explain your party’s disastrous local showing in the state-wide races?” asked Dummy Byline, political reporter for the Patronage County Innuendo.

“Our candidate or governor lost big all over the state,” Principal said. “So why is everybody blaming us?”

“Because,” pressed Byline, “the state party expected a 50,000 vote margin from Patronage County, the same as always. This year, your statewide ticket lost here by 20,000 votes.”

“Maybe people were more concerned with the economy than we thought,” Principal conceded.

“Then how do you explain Commissioner Swindle’s and your other local candidates’ winning by 100,000 votes in the same election?” asked Waldo Whitewash, fearless flack for The Compost.

“Times are tough,” Principal said. “I guess our courthouse employees wanted to keep their jobs.”

“We know we shouldn’t underestimate the clout of a courthouse machine in a local election,” Whitewash followed up, “but can they really have that much impact? How do you explain Swindle’s victory margin?”

“Well, in Swindle’s case, it was easy,” Principal said. “If all his creditors had voted for him, he would’ve won by even more.”

Then the only thing local to report is that Commissioner Swindle and his cronies will be with us for four more years,” Whitewash told Byline as they headed for the nearest bar.

“Isn’t that what they said about Nixon,” Byline asked, “right before Watergate?”   

This op-ed column first appeared in the Mt. Washington Press on November 10, 1982.