“Political Relativity” by James Jay Schifrin

image016Last week in the office of Peter Principal, Hereditary Chairman of the Patronage County Republican Party, his assistant John Henchman rediscovered the “Law of Political Relativity.”

“Here are our recommendations for the U.S. District Attorney appointment,” Henchman said. “I’ve narrowed it down to nine people. One’s even a woman.

“Tear up your list, Henchman. “The choice is out of our hands.”

“You don’t mean…”

“That’s right, Henchman. The winner is E.T. Barnum, Jr. The state Republican members of Congress have already recommended him to the Justice Department.”

“But what can I tell all these candidates to get us off the hook? This could be the only decent appointment to come out of Patronage County during the Reagan administration.”

“Tell them to call Congressman Grabisome, They twisted his arm till he’d say Barnum was the most qualified candidate.”

“The most qualified? Emptying wastebaskets in the Federal Building?”

“That, plus being the sone of the state GOP Chairman. Mighty impressive credentials, Henchman.”

“Now that you mention it…but who’s going to do all the work?”

“Just like always, Henchman, behind every political appointment there’s a pro to get the job done.”

“So who’s going to prosecute all those student loan defaulters?”

“You’re right, Henchman. With Barnum in there, we’ll need Professor Kingsfield himself.”

“No problem, Henchman. Whenever Barnum gets in trouble, he’ll call his dad in Columbus and ask him what to do.”

This op-ed column first appeared in the Mt. Washington Press on August 12, 1981.