The Politician’s Dilemma

Illustration by Hallie Bateman

A congressman from the great state of Illinois wanted to address the nation over rumors that he was having an extra-marital affair. This address went against the advice of his re-election team; especially that of Raj, his “P.R. Guru.”

“Why not at least wait until someone comes forward with ‘verifiable evidence?’” Raj said.

“How can I run on a platform of strong family values, if those values are in question?” said the congressman.

“Your colleagues do it all the time.” Raj said, “Congressman Topper has been married four times, and people still believe he can be faithful,” but this was not enough for The Congressman. He insisted on taking to the podium, and going on record.

“I cannot tell you all how much the recent hubbub has upset me.” The Congressman said, “I am not now, nor have I ever been a relationship outside my marriage.”

“So, you’re saying that there is no truth to the rumors whatsoever?” asked a reporter.

“That’s exactly what I am saying,” said the Congressman. He waved, and walked off stage, where he was once again met by Raj.

“You should have heeded my warning,” Raj said, but the congressman was pleased with himself. It wasn’t until the next day, when The Congressman saw his secretary on television, that he began to worry.

“We went out for two years,” the secretary said as incriminating photos flashed across the screen.

“And why did you only decide to come forward now?” asked the reporter.

“I though he loved me,” she said, “but after the interview yesterday, I’ve realized that our time together meant nothing to him.” She looked directly into the camera, as if to give the congressman the “evil eye.” Whether the power of the stare was real of imagined, it seemed to take immediate effect. The Congressman’s Wife passed out on the floor, and the phone wouldn’t stop ringing. The Congressman had no choice but to call on Raj.

“Can nothing be done?” the congressman asked him.

“I’m afraid it is too late,” said Raj, “As Mark Twain once stated, ‘better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.’ You could have held off on the press conference and been honest with the public. Then you might have had a chance at walking out of this situation with a shred of dignity. Now the most you can hope for is a swift resignation.”

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Written by Alex Schattner (8/24/12)

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