SCOTT MOONEYHAM: Selected Gifts for Celebrities
Ah, it's that most wonderful time of the year.
Well, at least it might be if you're not still smarting from electoral humiliation, or trying in one month to fix a political legacy that it took you years to ruin.
Still, even for the political class, it is the holiday season. And they, like everyone else, deserve a little token of appreciation, if for nothing other than all the entertain-ment value that they've provided over the past year.
Sure, we'll have to keep in mind those difficult state ethics rules on gift-giving, not to mention the floundering economy, as we come up with our gift list.
But hey, the best gifts are those that come from the heart, not those that carry some big price tag.
So here are a few ideas for the favorite politicians on everyone's list:
-- For Gov.-Elect Beverly Perdue, a real big broom. She'll need it to clean up all the messes left by her predecessor, whether a neglected, mismanaged mental health system or a probation system where keeping track of dangerous criminals wasn't a big priority.
Perhaps she can commiserate with President-Elect Obama.
-- For would-be Republican gubernatorial candidates, a copy of Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory's new book, "Timing Is Everything." Chapters included in this inside look at a gubernatorial political campaign in North Carolina: "Obama, No Drama," "Charlotte's Not in South Carolina, Really," "Early Votin' Women" and "Wall Street Hatin' Man."
-- For outgoing Gov. Mike Easley, a private e-mail account that, after Jan. 10 when he leaves office, can be used to delete messages any time he wants. Sure, no pesky reporters will care to read his e-mail anymore, but won't it feel good to hit that delete button without looking over the shoulder?
-- For outgoing U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a few shares of General Motors stock. Wait a minute. That might create a conflict of interest for Dole in the waning days of her term, with all that bailout talk and whatnot. Besides, the gift bag used to deliver this gift would be worth more than the gift. Well, then, how about some Wachovia stock? What better gift for a member of the Senate Banking Committee than some of those great financial stocks.
-- For all those legislative Republicans pushing oil drilling off the North Carolina coast, some oil futures contracts -- bought in September and coming due a few days from now. What better present than a Christmas Day call from your broker telling you to fork over a few thousand dollars?
-- For those legislative budget writers, faced with declining tax collections and whopping budget shortfall, some free listings on e-Bay. If state finances are really that bad, those helicopters and airplanes operated by the Commerce Department and other state agencies can surely go. Maybe they can put some of those paintings of long-forgotten politicians hanging in the Senate chamber on the auction block too.
Scott Mooneyham writes for Capitol Press Association. Contact him at email@example.com
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