Lights. Camera. Action.
Congressional Studios proudly presents: “Allard vs. Strickland 2: The Sequel for Senate Control” coming to a polling place near you on Nov. 5. Here is a sneak preview:
In a contorted tale of congressional control, Colorado’s up-for-grabs Senate race pits incumbent Republican Wayne Allard against Democratic challenger Tom Strickland. The stakes are high, as the race becomes the closest in the country and could determine which party maintains control of the Senate for at least the next two years.
Cue dramatic music: da da daaa…
Scene 1: <
Cue standard flashback with hazy white camera filters and dreamy music. It is the election of 1996. Allard and Strickland face off for the first time. Wayne, a 4th District Congressman and Loveland veterinarian, fights with Tom, a Denver lawyer and former football player for retiring Senator Hank Brown’s seat.
Cue kung-fu music and battle scenes that would make John Woo jealous.
Tom: “Your right-wing conservative political skills are no match for my tough stance on crime Wayne.”
Wayne: “You are wrong Tom. Your ultra-liberal lawyer-lobbyist style cannot compete with my down-home family values.”
After a nefarious, nasty, mudslinging brawl Wayne narrowly defeats Tom and heads to Washington. The vanquished lawyer shakes his fist in the air and vows revenge.
Cue a montage of memories. Years go by and Tom becomes U.S. Attorney for Colorado. He is sworn in the day after the Columbine shootings and gets a chance to take a bite out of crime.
Wayne serves on the Senate Armed Forces, Budget and Agriculture Committees. Occasionally other senators ask him for advice about what they should do about their sick dogs.
Early in 2001, Tom decides he will be entering the Senate race again. Wayne promises Colorado Republicans he wants one more term. The rematch is on.
This time it’s personal.
The 2002 campaigns begin. Both candidates easily make it past the primaries. Cue happy music and cuts of the candidates shaking hands with ranchers, policemen and school children.
Wayne: “The last campaign I promised that I would work hard for the people of Colorado and I worked in a bipartisan way to make a difference.”
Tom: “We live in a state that inspired the words to ‘America the Beautiful.’ My promise and commitment to the people of Colorado is you’re going to find me fighting for your interests.”
All seems well, but storm clouds gather in the distance.
It is a brisk morning in the Colorado mountains. Cue majestic panoramic camera shots. Tom decides to climb the 14,000-foot summits of Grays and Torreys Peaks to show his commitment to the environment.
Wayne: “This has nothing to do with being a United States Senator. This isn’t an Ironman contest.”
However, Wayne feels insecure and dispatches campaign workers to Grays Peak that day. Allard’s supporters climbed the mountain before sunrise and heckle Tom as he hikes by. At Allard campaign headquarters Wayne is snickering, but the Sierra Club endorses Tom anyway.
The candidates debate on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” After discussing Social Security, the war on Iraq and the economy, host Tim Russert, a Buffalo native, pulls out a Bills jersey. Russert teases the two Coloradans about their beloved Broncos.
Russert: “There’s one issue I think you’ll agree on, this afternoon, the men wearing this uniform, the Buffalo Bills, play the Denver Broncos. This is America’s team, the Buffalo Bills, and I must …”
Russert looks over to Wayne and is shocked.
Russert: “What is this?”
Wayne: “Hey, look, I’ve got a Broncos jersey. Brian Griese and I wanted to bring this to you.”
Tom rolls his eyes and chides himself for forgetting his Broncos jersey on the Washington Metro subway and tries to improvise.
Tom: “You’re invited to join me at the Super Bowl where the Denver Broncos are going to win their next Super Bowl championship.”
Wayne smirks and whispers to himself, “Hee hee hee. Like that will ever happen with Griese as quarterback.”
The two candidates begin their fight for the hearts and minds of the voters on television.
Cue sad music and cuts of sweet housewives watching their children and reruns of “Friends” on television as they cook dinner. Working-class men watch “Monday Night Football” as they drink beer in sports bars.
Then they all see the negative campaign advertising.
Wayne accuses Tom of contributing to the shady business dealings of Global Crossing and Qwest. Tom’s commercials chastise Wayne for voting for special interests and not having enough of a brain to ever vote against Republican Party leaders.
The children become scared of the big bad politicians. The women shake their heads and tell the children to play outside. The men order more beer to try and forget what they just saw. Voters statewide turn off their televisions in anger and wonder if anyone is ever going to talk about the economy as they struggle to pay their credit card bills and mortgages.
The climax of the sequel takes place on Election Day. The voters that aren’t too sick and tired of the negative campaign ads and the ridiculously inane debates finally head to the polls. The fate of the Senate hangs in the balance. What will happen in the end?
Well, we wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise would we?
Be a part of the finale of Allard vs. Strickland and vote on Nov. 5. Josh studied at the Institute for Political Journalism in Washington, D.C. He is a senior majoring in journalism and his column runs every Monday in the Collegian. To send comments, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.