If there was any real joy in Washington after the elections, it was on K Street. K Street is to lobbyists what Madison Avenue is to advertising agencies.

It is here that all the serious lobbying takes place by the people who are responsible for how the government works -- or doesn't work, depending on who's paying the bill. As soon as Kerry made his concession speech, the denizens of K Street opened their windows and yelled, "We're happy as hell and we're going to take it for four more years!"

Plans are now underway for a ticker-tape parade along K Street, past the White House and up to the Capitol.

Horace Springarden, the chief lobbyist for a drug company, is chairman of the celebration.

I found him at the Palm restaurant, where all the lobbyists hang out.

He told me, "This will be the biggest parade Washington has ever had. The lobbyists for the automobile companies are going to supply convertibles."

"Where are you going to get the ticker tape?" I asked him.

"We're shredding the national budget. There are thousands of pages, and now that the election is over we don't need it anymore."

"Are you going to have floats like the Rose Bowl parade?"

"Yes. The floral industry is supplying the flowers and each float will depict a different overseas tax shelter."

I asked, "And what are some of the other floats?"

"Halliburton will have one. And the oil, coal and gas lobbies will be well represented. Also, we will have the defense floats. They will be made of floral designs to look like tanks and cannons."

"Will you have any hot air balloons like those in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade?"

"Yes, the aerospace industry is going to supply them. We saved up a lot of hot air from the election."

"Will there be a king of the parade?"

"Yes. Karl Rove has been selected as King and he will be riding on a float of red roses showing a map of Ohio."

"How many bands will be in the parade?"

"We'll have the Antiabortion Drum and Bugle Corps, the Moral Values Marching Band and the Swift Boat Choir."

"I don't suppose you invited Bruce Springsteen?"

"No, and we didn't invite Barbra Streisand or Johnny Depp, either. Everyone wanted to ride on a float, but we kept it down to those on the right."

"It sounds like it's going to be a costly parade."

"We've got money to burn. That's why we're called lobbyists."

I said, "I want to take my kids."

"Good. I'll put them in the viewing stand at the White House next to Dick Cheney."

"I'd like that."

Springarden said, "What the Bush victory means to the lobbyists is that we can hang onto our jobs for four more years. We know all the players and we know how much we gave each one of them. Our parade is a thank-you to all the legislators we supported."

I said, "It's also to remind them it is payback time for the men and women in Congress you helped get elected."

He chuckled and said, "There is lots of joy on K Street because the mighty Democrats struck out."

(c) 2004, Tribune Media Services