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by Dale Connelly, 3/17/00

Dc: This is DCR, a news program not to be believed. The Super Tuesday primaries are over and so is the race in the Democratic and Republican parties, but in the Enough! Party things took a strange turn when the vote total winner, Senator Sam Spleen, committed a gaffe and inadvertently conceded the night to his opponent, Governor Dick Burstyn.

(excerpt from previous show)

In a resulting tussle on the speaking platform, Spleen fell and was taken to the hospital where he was treated and released.
But since then he has canceled all his rallies and has not been seen in public.
This has led to widespread speculation that the Senator was hurt more seriously than we know by the mistake and melee that followed. Some have even suggested he's gone insane, or he's dead and his brain has been preserved in a jar. It has fallen to campaign manager Rhonda Alonzo to knock down all these rumors.

(sfx: press conference bg)

Rhonda: The Senator is fine. He's working. His campaign is moving forward. He won on super Tuesday. I know the press demands a certain amount of visibility for candidates … but the public seems satisfied to have the Senator out of the limelight right now, and it's good for him because he's got important work to do.

(sfx: press conference out)

Dc: In fact, polling numbers have shown that people are intrigued by Senator Spleen's disappearance from the public stage. He is much more well known now … he's being very widely discussed. Pollster George Shakey.

Shakey: Thirty per cent think he's in a coma. Twenty two per cent believe he's been kidnapped by aliens. Twenty per cent say he's in hiding on a desert island. Fifteen per cent believe he's dead with his brain in a jar still giving political advice to the staff, and eleven per cent say he never existed. And only two per cent say they've never heard of him.

Dc: These are great numbers.

Shakey: Just being talked about … for a politician, it's like oxygen.

Dc: Denise Frankfurter is a political historian and consultant.

Denise: It's harkens back to the "front porch campaign" of old. The candidate would stay at home on his front porch, making the occasional pronouncement, while his surrogates all over the country did his campaigning for him. It's a great technique, never properly applied in this media-rich age of ours.
Nowadays, you don't have to BE somewhere to go there, you know?

Dc: What about the air of mystery associated with this campaign?

Denise: That's new. And politically, it's very daring. When all the candidates are everywhere all at once, to be nowhere in particular is a viable strategy, I think.

Dc: Spleen's opponent, Governor Dick Burstyn, is less generous in his assessment, as he told a rally audience late this week.

(sfx: applause)

Burstyn: Well, I think the Senator is hiding out.

(sfx: applause)

If he were president, we'd call it a "Rose Garden Strategy." If he were your brother-in-law, you'd call it "being a good-for-nothing lazy bum."

(sfx: applause)

Now, I'm not saying that the Senator is lazy. I'm not saying that he's a bum. No, no, no. But he is getting bad advice. I understand he's hired a Hollywood scriptwriter to plot out his campaign from here to the end.

(sfx: crowd appalled)

That's tragic, for the Senator, and his staff, but most of all … for America!

Dc: But Spleen campaign manager Rhonda Alonzo repeatedly denies that her candidate's disappearance marks a change in strategy.

(sfx: press conference bg)

Rhonda: I know that many of you are imagining this to be some sort of conspiracy thing, something sinister. But it's not that. The Senator is resting up and getting some work done right now, and the fact that you in the media can't stand it … I think, says lots more about you than it does about him. You have to have a story. You have to have an angle. You have to have misbehavior or a scandal of some sort to justify your existence, and I think that's very sad.

(sfx: reporter hubub)

Reporter 1: What about the story that he's being re-programmed by the Chinese?

Reporter 2: Can you confirm that the Senator is suffering from M.A.L.L.A.R.D.S.?

Reporter 3: (louder) We've heard that you're market testing scenarios for the rest of the campaign!

Rhonda: Market testing scenarios?

(sfx: reporter hubub down)

Reporter 3: Are you doing focus groups to test story lines?

Rhonda: Well Brick, that would assume that we had total control over the scenario from here on out. I would like to be able to say that's true, but frankly, it's not.

(sfx: reporter hubub out)

Dc: I called Hollywood deal maker Spin Williams to find to find out if he'd heard of anyone working with the Spleen campaign.

Spin: I hear lots of things. I shouldn't repeat them, though. Nothing in Hollywood is ever certain until the director yells "cut!"

Dc: Have any directors been mentioned in relation to the Spleen campaign?

Spin: No. But I think Spielberg would be good. Penny Marshall, maybe, if we wanted it to have that loopy, goofy, fun feeling. John Sayles hasn't had a big film in a while, but he might be too "issue oriented" to do a campaign.

Dc: What would be the options here?

Spin: Well, the Senator would have to be cast as a hero who has temporarily lost his power. He's in a coma, he's kidnapped, he's sick, he has amnesia, he's had an evil spell cast on him … something like that.

Dc: These sorts of things have already been said about him.

Spin: The groundwork is being done.

Dc: But then he's weakened, isn't he?

Spin: Weakened but sympathetic. And this is where the timing comes in … a terrible threat has to surface … and just at the moment we're about to give up and stop caring … he recovers and comes to the rescue!
That's how I would write it, anyway.

Dc: That sounds like a soap opera.

Spin: Hey, nothing wrong with that! Soap operas are almost as popular as wrestling! And game shows. I'd watch my listings, if I were you. I don't think we've seen the last of the senator.

Dc: The Spleen campaign has promised an announcement within the next few weeks about the future course of the campaign.

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