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by the DCR Not-Newsroom, 5/26/00

Dc: We are in the final days of the Burstyn-Spleen contest for the presidential nomination in the Enough! Party.
At the end of next week the convention will decide who is going to carry the party's banner in the fall election.
Senator Spleen is still incommunicado and is the subject of a massive popular search. The campaign maintains that the first registered voter to find the Senator will win 100 thousand dollars from the campaign treasury.
This week Governor Burstyn gave a major speech that pretty much predicted a lawsuit if Senator Spleen wins using this gimmick. Let's listen.

(sfx: applause)

Burstyn: And let me assure you … that while I am in favor of freedom of expression … this … this political LOTTERY takes the matter too far!
Our politics have now literally become a game!

(sfx: applause)

Yes, yes! A game of chance! Where my opponent is known … not for what he espouses, not for the truths he holds to be self-evident … but he is known for what he is worth. He has turned voters into gamblers!

(sfx: applause)

It literally has become a horse race … with the candidate as the horse!
Or .. in the case of my opponent .. one particular part of the horse!

(sfx: laugh)

But seriously … But seriously … I would caution the delegates to the Enough! Party convention … in particular the SUPER DUPER delegates who control voting blocks … to consider the tactics being used!
If you choose someone who is acting under a cloud of suspicion … who is the object of ridicule … who is guilty of ethics and moral violations … is lacking in common sense … it will have an effect!
If your candidate is fighting a court challenge because of his creepy techniques … that's going to bog the party down and it could lead to a defeat in November!

(sfx: applause)

Dc: Governor Burstyn, getting a nice response from a crowd at one of his campaign rallies last week.
And in response from the Spleen camp … campaign manager Rhonda Alonzo was interviewed on Beltway Blowhards with this response.

Rhonda: (phone) Well I think Governor Burstyn is being a big crybaby.
He's running all over the place slamming us, trying to get even half the attention from doing that, that we're getting just by sitting still and doing nothing. We're spending very little money. With this strategy we've saved LOTS more than the 100 thousand dollars that's going to go to some LUCKY voter when he or she finally finds our candidate.

Dc: Rhonda Alonzo last Sunday on Beltway Blowhards.
Jennifer Hampster is our political correspondent. Jennifer, what do you make of this?

Jennifer: Spleen's people are sticking to their game plan, to keep the Senator under wraps and out of sight at least until the convention and maybe beyond. They're really in great shape. Since he disappeared from public view, Spleen's polls are up in just about every way.
People find him more interesting, more likable, innovative, eloquent, statesman-like and even presidential.
The less he says the better he does.

Dc: We've convened our reporters round table. We'll all be in Decorah, Iowa, covering the convention next week.

Bud: I thought it was going to be in Vegas!

Wendy: Me too! I've been saving quarters for the slot machines!

Dc: The Enough! Party had planned a Vegas convention … that was the Spleen preference, but Governor Burstyn's people made a last minute attempt to get it moved to Boston … they didn't succeed but they did force a compromise to split the difference and meet in Decorah.
What's the scuttlebutt about this? What are you hearing?

Jennifer: The convention will be a seething cauldron of dissatisfaction. Everybody's angry.

Bud: Oh, come on. Not everybody! There must be ONE happy person somewhere!

Jennifer: Everybody! There's a faction that's angry at Burstyn for not conceding defeat. You know he STILL hasn't admitted losing on Super Tuesday. He has set a modern political record for the longest delay in making a concession speech. And that was a personal decision. Even his staff is upset about it. Some of them want him out of the race so they can move on to different candidates in other parties … people with a better chance of winning.

Bud: Ok, that's one group. Or two groups.

Jennifer: Then there's a faction angry at Spleen for vanishing and another group mad about him setting up the 100 thousand dollar prize for the first person who finds him.

Wendy: Really? I thought that was pretty smart! Everybody likes money!

Jennifer: Then there's a group within the party that feels the same way you do Wendy. They're mad at the people who are mad about the prize because they think it's working and they should do more of it. Like giving away washers and dryers and cars and such.

Brick: And then there are people within the Spleen camp who are mad simply because they're not eligible to win the prize!

Jennifer: That's right, Brick. They see the candidate every day but they know they can't take home the big money.

Wendy: (solemn) That's got to be eating away at them, silently.

Jennifer: And there's even concern that someone on the staff will run a scam by tipping off a third party to Senator Spleen's whereabouts, setting that person up as the winner and getting a kickback when that person collects.

Wendy: Someone would do that? That's not right!

Bud: Hear hear, Wendy. What a crummy world!

Brick: I understand access to the Senator is extremely limited and everyone in the campaign is being watched quite closely. Even their personal relationships are being monitored.

Wendy: They get to have personal relationships? In a campaign?

Jennifer: There's a certain paranoia that's making everyone uncomfortable.

Bud: As long as we're talking about rumors, I've heard it said that Rhonda Alonzo, the Spleen campaign manager, is really the power here and she's using Senator Spleen as her puppet.

Jennifer: You can't say that. That's irresponsible!

Bud: I'm reporting it as a rumor. I read it on the Internet.

Jennifer: We don't traffic in rumors. We don't even read them, if we're wise.

Brick: I read it.

Dc: Me too.

Wendy: I even read that maybe she's also working for Governor Burstyn at the same time.

All: Ooooooooooh.

Brick: Where did you read that?

Bud: I haven't seen that one.

Wendy: Actually I didn't read it. I just thought wouldn't it be funny if she was. (pause) Well wouldn't it?

Dc: So wrapping up here? Jennifer?

Jennifer: As I said, a seething cauldron. Lots of anger. Raw nerve endings, petty jealousies, vindictive back stabbing and emotional agony lay ahead.

Bud: Sounds like a typical political convention.

Dc: And all in the name of …?

All: Party Unity!

Dc: Thanks to our political panel … Bud Buck, Wendy Vapors, Brick Walters, and Jennifer Hampster, preparing to cover next week's Enough! Party convention.

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