"Not enough balloons? I'll have Tipper and the kids blow up some more."
"No, no. The balloons are fine. But it looks like, um, the nomination is, ahh, going to someone else."
"Whaaat?? Someone else?? How is that possible?? Those delegates are pledged! To me! Al Gore!"
"To tell you the truth, everybody here at the convention has been talking things over and they just think ? now, don't take this the wrong way ? that you're a loser."
"A loser? Me?"
"Sorry. Maybe you can get your deposit back from the caterers."
"But I don't understand! I thought it was in the bag."
"Everything's coming back to haunt you, Al. That fundraiser at the Buddhist temple, for example."
"But I explained that. I thought it was a costume party."
"Nobody bought that, Al. And then there was that flaky consultant you hired to make you an alpha male."
"But that was a great investment! She got me wearing sports shirts on TV!"
"Al, you're running for president, not golf pro. And what about that time you told everyone you invented the Internet?"
"Okay, that was a bad one. But I turned it around and made fun of myself to show I was good-natured and self-effacing."
"Voters don't want good-natured and self-effacing, Al. What were you, high on something?"
"I took some of Tipper's medication by mistake."
"I see. Speaking of which, what kind of name is that supposed to be?"
"Yeah. Somebody yells, 'Tipper!' and you expect a golden retriever to show up with a tennis ball in its mouth."
"Fine, she can change it! How about Martha, or Dolley, or Mary Todd? Which do you think sounds more grassroots?"
"There's another problem. Nobody's buying this grassroots stuff. You come from money, and with all these deep-pocket contributors, you may as well have a sign on your head saying, 'Rent This Space.'"
"But I'm a regular guy, honest! I went on Letterman and broke glass rods with a hammer! I even wore safety goggles!"
"Not good enough, Al. Besides that, America still doesn't know whether you were part of the Clinton administration or not."
"I've been very clear on that. I'm deeply proud to have been associated with the progressive programs and unprecedented economic growth of one of our greatest presidents."
"What about all the personal stuff?"
"I always said that sleazebag should be in prison."
"Al, it won't fly."
"Give me another chance?"
"But I made such a great choice for VP! Lieberman's got everything! He's a conservative Jewish Democrat from the Northeast who votes like a southern Republican!"
"No dice, Al. The GOP trumped you. Dick Cheney's a pro-life Washington bureaucrat from rural Wyoming who has a gay daughter."
"Drat! Do you think they'd let us switch?"
"Too late, Al. You're out."
"I don't believe this! So who's on the Democratic ticket?"
"And Walter Mondale."
"And Bill Bradley, if he calls back."
"Al! Al! Wake up. You're dreaming."
"Whoa! I just had a terrible nightmare."
"Governor Bush is on the phone."
"Bush? What's he want?"
"He wants you to concede so he can take a vacation before the inaugural."
"Tell him to forget it."
"He says you can be secretary of the interior."
"You sure you don't want to talk to him?"
"All right, all right. But have him call back after West Wing is over."
Copyright 2000 by Garry Lee Wright. All rights reserved. GLW's on WGN radio (AM 720) Chicago. Listen and email at wgnradio.com.