The Original Cyberpunk loses sleep

The OC writes: I keep looking at all the strange signals emanating from the Kerry campaign and wondering what the heck he’s up to. Will he accept the nomination at the Democratic convention or stall for a few weeks? Will he do something truly insane and name John McCain as his VP? Is he *really* the Democratic candidate,or just a very high-priced stalking horse? Well, Kerry’s face definitely supports the horse theory, but I’ve long held that this election will be a referendum on the Bush presidency, and if Bush shows any vulnerability at all the powers within the Democratic party will dump Kerry in a heartbeat and engineer a Clintonian return to power.

But how do they get around that “convention” business, all those pesky delegates, and the risk that an open and honest convention might pick Dean or Edwards? Ah, this is where their true Machiavellian brilliance lies…Picture this:The Democrats hold their national convention as scheduled and present a four-day televised infommercial and lovefest, in the process sucking up all available oxygen in the continental U.S. On Saturday night, at the peak of the convention, Senator Hillary Clinton delivers a show-stopping, unforgettable, utterly *incendiary* speech nominating Kerry for President, and he steps up to the microphone and–expresses his heartfelt appreciation, but says he’s got to wait awhile before accepting.

By the next morning the spin-cycle is churning in megawash mode. The Sunday morning talk shows are dominated by one question: is he brilliant, or nuts? Just what the heck does he think he’s doing? And by the way, did you catch Hillary’s speech? Maybe (the suggestion is offered as if casually), just maybe,the Democrats picked the wrong candidate…For the next four weeks, the nation is hanging on tenterhooks. Will he, or won’t he? This is bigger than the American Idol and the Survivor season finales combined. Nothing else that happens — *nothing* Bush does — can penetrate the beef-witted national consciousness.

And then, just a day or two before the Republican convention is to start, Kerry announces that he’s calling a pressconference to annouce his decision.That night, the entire nation — no, the entire world, and many of the nearer planets — tunes in to watch, as Kerry steps up to the microphone, essays a sad smile, and announces that he’s finally releasing his Naval medical records,including the full files on his Purple Hearts. And he knows, that when the American people see the truth of his medical condition — the terrible chronicpain he’s suffering, the lingering damage he lives with every day, the tragic disability he’s struggled to keep hidden all these years, THE AWFUL DISABILITY CAUSED BY THE WOUNDS HE RECEIVED IN HEROIC SERVICE TO HIS COUNTRY –They’ll understand why he must, tearfully, turn down the Democratic nomination for President.

THE MEDIA GOES BERSERK! Whatever happens at the Republican convention, whatever speeches get made, whatever happens in the rest of the world, it doesn’t matter! All attention is focused on the closed-door sessions of the DNC, as they meet (like the college of cardinals selecting the next pope) to choose the candidate…who will pick up Kerry’s fallen banner and lead the charge! Will it be…? Or how about…? Possibly…? And then the puff of white smoke emerges from the chimney, and the reporters rush in to be there when the doors swing open and the party leaders emerge, smiling, to announce that, after days of excruciating discussion and considering many fine candidates, they have picked:Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In one brilliantly executed stroke, they have solved five problems:

1. Hillary picks up the sympathy bounce from Kerry, which gracefully floats her over any and all defense-related issues.

2. Hillary ascends to the nomination without having to go through the primary process, thereby avoiding the necessity to debate her ideas with other candidates or actually meet and greet the smelly, unwashed proletariat.

3. The announcement immediately absorbs all political attention in the country and robs Bush of the traditional post-convention bounce.

4. She gets to wage her campaign in the forum of the compliant national media,using all of the funding the DNC has accumulated for this putsch.

5. And finally, if she times this right, her ascension will take place AFTER THE START OF THE MCCAIN-FEINGOLD 60-DAY BLACKOUT PERIOD, so anyone voicing criticism of her will be subject to prosecution by the FEC.

Okay, so there’s my nightmare scenario. Now tell me why this can’t happen.

One big reason. Kerry’s Purple Heart wounds were on the order of papercuts. Whatever he’s got on his medical records, it isn’t military service-related disabilities. Considering his record as a gigolo, I’m guessing it’s an embarrassing social disease.