Cross-posted on The Stonecipher Report
An interesting bit of news hit the web last night (and – no, no – it WASN’T the speculation over whether GOP Sen. John Ensign of Nevada was outing his own affair with a staffer to either, 1. Derail a blackmail attempt; or 2. Empty his closet of skeletons prior to a 2012 Presidential run):
(CNN) — National Republicans — miffed over ABC News' decision to broadcast a primetime special featuring President Obama making the case for his healthcare proposal — are looking to raise $100,000 to hit the airwaves with their own healthcare reform proposal…
"ABC News will be promoting Obamacare at virtually every opportunity, from ‘Good Morning America’ to ‘Nightline,’ and reach from ABC News' Web sites all the way to the White House's East Room," Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele writes in an e-mail titled "URGENT" to supporters Thursday…
"Please help us raise the nearly $100,000 we need to buy air time," Steele added…
…And, so – that made me wonder IF Steele could gather that hundred grand just WHAT sort of counter-promotional television programming the GOP could come up with…Hmm, I wonder [note: this is where the screen gets transitionally wavy – as I thoughtfully stroke my chin while gazing upward a bit – and the next thing we see is my (imaginary, of course) interpretation of what the Repubs could air against the Obama-ABC coverage]…
[A shot opens on a glittery, ‘70s-variety-show style of set; in the center of the slightly raised, round stage viewers can see a robust middle-aged woman…and a decrepit-looking grey old man. The woman speaks first…]
"Hi! I’m Bo Derek…"
"And, hello, America – I’m the corpse of Charlton Heston!"
"…and we’re here to host the official Republican response to the Obama Administration healthcare proposal aired earlier on ABC!" [The initial close-up of the now-52-year-old, crinkly and over-tanned former star of "10" quickly pulls back to a more reasonable two-shot.]
"Wait, you mean this doesn’t have anything to do with guns?" a confused – yet clearly dead (disheveled; not breathing) – Heston asks his co-star.
"No, Mr. Heston – just about healthcare!"
"Nothing about prying my guns from my cold…?"
"Nope! And it’s good to see you again – I thought you weren’t doing well a while back," Derek continues, staring straight ahead as if reading.
"Hell, I’ve been dead for more than a year, but, for the budget they had AND after 8 years of Bush, I guess they just couldn’t find another Republican celebrity willing to co-host with you…"
"Not Bruce Willis?" Derek asked, still not turning away from the camera.
"No, he’s stopped returning calls from party chiefs awhile back," a deteriorating Heston slowly responds.
"What about one of the religious, non-Alec Baldwin brothers?"
"Apparently, they aren’t that desperate anymore."
"Well, surely we could’ve gotten Jon Voight, right?" Derek asks.
"Shh – don’t say that so loud…they’re hoping he just never hears about this." [Canned laughter fills the otherwise empty studio.] "Son of a bitch just shows up anywhere, always embarrassing conservatives by opening his goddamned mouth…"
"That’s a good one, Mr. Heston," Derek reads off of a cue card, as the former star of "Planet of the Apes" shrugs, then wanders slowly out of the camera shot, leaving a shuffling trail on the stage behind him, never to be seen again…"And, now, here’s a word from our respected leader…" [A caption reading "Rush Limbaugh, Party Leader" momentarily appears onscreen…then is quickly wiped away.] "…Chairman Michael Steele!" [Canned applause is heard…followed by a cut to a shot of Steele sitting at an empty desk.]
"Hello – as Alexander Haig once said, I’m in charge here!" Steele pauses. [The sound of crickets chirping rise until he begins speaking again…] "Ha, ha! But, seriously, folks…" [The "Limbaugh" caption appears again for a moment, then blanks out, replaced by a hastily-typed-looking graphic: "Micheal Steel, Rnc chairmn."] "I want to thank all of you for joining us here via the magic of television to present OUR – the Republican – side of the healthcare debate. Sure, President Obama has the office and the title…and a mandate from the voters…and, of course, the ratings and support of the people and much of the media…AND all the necessary votes in the House and the Senate…and…" [Steele pauses and looks around for a moment.]
"Damn – I didn’t want to get distracted by that kind of stuff! OK, can we start again? What? Whose idea was to do this live? What? The budget? Damnit! Ah, oh well…OK, moving along, then – yes, but WE Republicans DO have a rebuttal – we have an answer for YOU, America, about healthcare." [He stiffly gestures offscreen, then continues.] "And, here to present it to you, are two of our finest elected leaders, Sen. McConnell and Rep. Boehner…" [Steele freezes a grin on his face, while continuing to hold up his right arm, as if presenting McConnell and Boehner. After the shot holds on him for 30 seconds, his arm starts to waver. Then he appears to be trying to whisper through his tight grin off to the side. Another 20 seconds later, viewers can hear his overly stage-whispered, "WHAT?!? Why isn’t the camera off me yet?" followed by his dropping of his arm…and the smile quickly fading from his face. The screen momentarily goes blank, then shows bars of colors, then a quick shot of a weather map – with "Rush Limbaugh, Party Leader" imposed under it – held for about a minute-and-a-half…then a sudden appearance of a surprised McConnell and Boehner, neither looking at the camera and both talking to aides offscreen.]
"…Well, I thought we were supposed to be on at least a minute or two ago," Sen. McConnell says in one direction.
"…I told him that even I know that wasn’t enough money for us to do any sort of a decent show, but…" Boehner says in the other direction.
[After a moment, they both apparently realize the camera’s light is on, and quickly shut their mouths and turn to face forward. As they do, audio of the end of Steele’s statement plays tinnily again in their studio…]
"…And, here to present it to you, are two of our finest leaders, Sena…" [The audio suddenly cuts off, and McConnell and Boehner stand frozen there, silently. Then, after a few seconds, they slowly raise a large piece of white posterboard between them, on which is scrawled – in a combination of colorful marker script – simply the word "NO!!!"]
[After a silent minute of that shot, the camera swings away from the two men, rotates around, and catches a shot of a few aides, standing around, frantically shuffling through large cue cards. One of them drops all her cards and runs out of the shot when she realizes the camera is pointing at her…while another emphatically points back in the direction of the elected officials, stage-whispering, "No, NO – on THEM!" The screen goes blank again for a moment.]
[A vintage clip of a beauty-pageant-era Sarah Palin, playing a melody on a flute (for her talent portion of the ‘80s contest) shows for about 35 seconds…Then the scene suddenly shifts – mid-song – to former Attorney General John Ashcroft dramatically singing part of his "Let the Eagle Soar" song for about another half-minute, followed by another blank screen.]
[Suddenly, back on the original set, Bo Derek is once again visible.]
"…Uh, OK – I don’t think that’s the way that was supposed to go, but…" [Voices can be heard hissing at her from off camera.] "What? I don’t know…now, WHAT do you want me to do? It doesn’t say that on my cards…What?" [The voices grow more insistent.] "No, I can’t understand – no, what do you want me to…? What? There isn’t anything there for me to…"
[The camera begins to violently shake.]
"I, I’ve had enough of all this!" a flustered Derek suddenly blurts out. "Tell Mrs. Reagan I said that I’m sorry, but I just can’t…" she is heard to say as she walks out of the camera shot and off the set. [For a moment, the shot is held of the empty set…then the caption "Rush Limbaugh, Party Leader" appears onscreen again…just before the shot goes dark. A moment later, an ABC logo is shown. Another minute-and-a-half later, an official-sounding voice is heard…]
"…We apologize for the technical difficulties…and we will now return to our previously scheduled programming, already in progress…"
[Suddenly, Jim Belushi and Courtney Thorne-Smith appear in the middle of a sitcom kitchen, glaring at each other as canned laughter roars in the background…and as millions of channels are changed across the country at exactly the same instant…]