Monday, August 25, 2008

It could happen...

It was Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chairperson (not Chairwoman) of the Convention, called for silence in the auditorium. The Democratic party began what was intended to be just a formality - the state-by-state roll call vote for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Sitting on-stage beside his vice presidential nominee, Barack Obama smiled. The handsome senator from Illinois was cool and collected - ready to tip his hat to his rival, Hillary Clinton, in a gesture of respect. The joint roll-call was intended to smooth any feathers ruffled during months of bitter infighting for the Democratic nod.

Hillary, sitting further downstage, was poker-faced. She sat looking out across the crowds of delegates - her face a stony mask.

Pelosi cleared her throat - and the roll call began.

"Alabama - for Senator Obama, twenty seven delegates. For Senator Clinton, twenty five."

"Alaska - for Senator Obama, nine delegates. For Senator Clinton, four."

Pelosi's shrill voice continued through the list of states, counting off California, Colorado and Connecticut. On stage, Obama's smile suddenly faded.

He leaned closer to his running-mate, Delaware senator Joe Biden.

"D'you hear that?" He hissed.

"Hear what, Barry?"


Biden's crinkly grey eyes narrowed. He followed Obama's eyes to the screen behind Pelosi.

Sure enough, the tally for California - meant to show 204 of the candidates pledging support for Senator Clinton - actually showed 214.

And California wasn't the only state that defied the estimates.

As they methodically listed each state by name, more and more showed a slight shift towards the New York senator. Not many votes - just a few here and there. Enough, though.

New Jersey and New Mexico announced their tally - both Clinton strongholds, the scores stayed clear in her favor. Then came New York - the home field advantage landing her 139 delegates.

There was a pause in the roll call.

This was the point at which Hillary Clinton was meant to stand up and address the audience, calling for union in the divided party and pledging her support to Barack Obama - essentially conceeding the competition instead of suffering the humiliation of defeat.

But with the subtle shift in pledged delegates, Clinton's 'certain defeat' had actually turned into a neck and neck race with Barack Obama. The Illinois Senator actually found himself just three delegates ahead...

Sitting grimly on stage, the handsome senator gulped.

"Pppst," it was Biden. "What happens now? She's meant to be behind."

"Yeah," Obama nodded. "Don't I know it."

"She's meant to concede because she's behind." Biden snapped back. "How can she concede the race if she's not behind..."

"Well, she is behind. By three delegates."

"Yeah, but you think that's gonna be enough?" Biden's vocie was hoarse. "D'ya think she'll stick to the deal with just three delegates in it?"

That seemed to be the question on everybody's lips. There was a deathly hush in the great auditorium - as almost two thousand people looked up expectantly at Nancy Pelosi.

The Chairperson (not Chairwoman) nervously cleared her throat. She looked across the stage at the two rival candidates. She looked at Clinton, looking for orders.

Obama was looking at Clinton too - his brown eyes burning in an unspoken message. "Concede, dammit..."

But Clinton kept her poker face - peering across the sea of delegates with her icy blue eyes.

Eventually, after interminable seconds, the New York senator turned to Pelosi and gave the slightest of nods. Not the order to quit. The order to continue.

And Pelosi did.

Her shrill voice echoed through the auditorium. she read the results. North Carolina was next. Then North Dakota. Then Ohio.

For the most part, the original estimates were on track. Barack Obama watched the delegates being marked off on the big screen above Pelosi's head. He was still ahead...

But then came especially Pennsylvania, which had originally pledged just 85 delegates to Clinton. Now the Keystone State appeared to have promised almost a hundred.

West Virginia and Wisconsin were called. Barack Obama peered up at the screen with mounting horror.

With just one state left, the scores between him and Hillary were even.

But he was still going to win. Wyoming had pledged seven delegates to his campaign and just five to Hillary Clinton. Or so he hoped.

As Pelosi's voice read out the tally, Barack Obama realised that one delegate - just one damn delegate - could rob him of the chance to run for president.

His brown eyes narrowed. He peered venomously across the room, to where Hillary Clinton sat primly at her table.

The New York senator turned her puffy, pale face to Obama.

She smiled.

As she did so, all of America heard Nancy Pelosi's voice read out the results for the Wyoming vote...


Suki said...

Oh my. I'm so out of the loop, you had me there for a while!

Head over to my space, an award awaits you.

ashley. said...

Your best piece, Rols. I was on the edge of my seat, even on Tuesday morning.

superjoe said...

militant ginger! i love your blog, and this morning's post was amazing. love it!!! im crossing my fingers.

Becky said...

I'd much rather see a race between Hillary and McCain, than the current predicament.

Interesting read, my friend. Especially where you referred to Hillary as puffy faced. (Notably kinder than she is referred to in the media as horse faced.)

The Maid