WASHINGTON'S stomach for political theater is tested regularly and ridiculously, but the most recent sideshow at the Monument grounds takes the cake--or pie, actually. When last seen capturing the hearts and lenses of assembled onlookers Thursday, there was this, well, 4,400-pound apple pie with demonstrators scuffling on--and in --it. We're told you had to be there to get the flavor of it all, but here's what hundreds of people were treated to of a lunch hour:

The pie was under the sponsorship--or was it custody?--of the American Conservative Union and one half of that well-known team of fiscal magicians, "Roth and Kemp" or, depending on the house they're playing, "Kemp and Roth." Anyway, there was Mr. Roth, celebrating the 10 percent income cut he and Mr. Kemp made famous, speaking at pie- side.

He was telling the crowd that the tax cut will allow people to "keep more of their own dough" (Get it? Heh, heh!) when--plop, plop, squish, squish--a handful of protesters from the Community for Creative Non-Violence, dressed as "fat cats," climbed into the pie to make a point about "people starving and homeless" who won't be helped by the tax cut. CCNV, you may recall, has had more than a little experience not eating.

In any event, and this certainly qualified as one, the interruption didn't sit well with the pie-eaters; angry members of the ACU jumped to pull the protesters off, and Park Police topped off things with some arrests on charges of disorderly conduct, simple assault, destruction of property and maybe even acute indigestion.

The paramount question in this political hotbed, of course, is always, "Who won?" The answer, according to leaked data, is: the pie. At 17 feet in diameter and 3 inches in depth, it not only had the most substance, but it broke the Guinness world record.