South Carolina's two-term Governor Peter Hasbrook, a 62-year-old
married man with two children and three granddaughters, was unanimously
chosen fifteen minutes ago by the delegates to the Republican National
Convention as their nominee for the Office of President of the United
States of America.
In the most unlikely of circumstances - and to the
dismay of the political pundits and news media - Peter Hasbrook had no
opposition for the nomination. Nor did anyone challenge him in any of
the primary or State caucuses he entered. It was the most unusual,
non-confrontational Presidential selection process the Republican Party
had experienced in two hundred years. It brought back memories of Ronald
Reagan's coronation at his nominating convention for re-election in
His tall, athletic figure made an impressive image as he
stood before an ecstatic, wildly cheering, placard-waving throng of
twelve thousand Republican faithful in Memphis, Tennessee's Civic Arena.
Speaking without the use of a teleprompter, Governor Hasbrook addressed
the delegates. He had been regaling the standing-room only masses for
over forty-five minutes with his unique brand of folksy intellectual
Americanisms. Never once did he invoke the name of the incumbent
Democrat occupying the White House, nor did he criticize the policies of
the woman that he and his Party hoped to defeat in the upcoming
Knowing his audience, he was careful to avoid bringing
attention to unpopular positions he supported, which unfortunately were
less than dear to the hearts of many delegates beholden to the
philosophical right wing of his Party. No need, he reasoned, to create
problems that could easily become controversial and erode his support
among the Party faithful. They knew where he stood, and were aware of
the boundaries he could not cross without incurring their wrath.
crowd was waiting for him to reveal his Vice Presidential choice. That
was the only thing left for him to do. The delegates knew it, the news
media craved it, and his frustrated campaign staff demanded it.
stopped talking for several moments, looked directly into the lens of
the TV main camera, and then diverted his attention to the convention
floor crammed with humanity. His head slowly moved left and right, back
and forth, stopping to make direct eye contact with individual delegates
as he took in the scene before him.
Raising his voice slightly, he
said, “Guess y'all want to know who I'm going to ask to be my VP and who
I'm hoping y'all will nominate as my running mate.”
sheepishly, he paused again and took a long sip of carbonated water from
the glass sitting on the lectern. He put the glass back, and then
raised his left hand high above his head to illustrate the stature of
his selection. His right hand, now resting on to the podium, slipped,
causing the Governor to lose his balance. He attempted to regain his
footing by grabbing for the podium with his left hand. He missed,
knocked over the glass, and fell to his knees.
The TV cameras
froze, the delegates collectively gasped. In NBC's control booth one
hundred feet above the auditorium floor, John Franklin, program
director, shouted directions into the headphones of the camera crew
closest to the stage. “I don't give a rat's ass how you do it, but get
as close as you can to Hasbrook! I want a closeup of his face and body.”
But before his cameraman was able to reach the staircase on the side of
the stage, a security guard blocked the way. Not so gently, he urged
the crew back onto the convention floor.
The hall was devoid of
air. All eyes were riveted on the giant video screens now showing
Governor Hasbrook hunched over on all fours with a pained, glassy-eyed
expression on his face, trying to rise onto his knees. Before any of the
Secret Service men, staff, or dignitaries reached him, the Governor was
already rising unsteadily to his feet. He turned to face the delegates.
A restrained sigh of relief spread among them; a good number of them
started clapping and cheering. That quickly subsided into another vacuum
of silence when the Governor suddenly fell backward into the
outstretched arms of the two Secret Service agents who had come to his