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Published: Saturday, 8/9/2003

What's the real reason Jerry didn't run?

COLUMBUS - Good morning, adult education class. It's time for a quiz.

When Jerry Springer announced last Wednesday he would not run for the U.S. Senate from Ohio in 2004, his logic reminded me of the title of his Aug. 4 show: “Heart Breaking Betrayals!”

For six months, the former Democratic mayor and city councilman from Cincinnati had traveled around the state to find out if he could break through what he called the “clutter “ of his trash TV talk show.

As 13 TV cameras captured his image last Wednesday in a hotel meeting room, Mr. Springer announced he could not - at least with The Jerry Springer Show still on the air.

It didn't make sense. In 1999, Mr. Springer weighed a campaign against Republican incumbent Mike DeWine, citing his “current contractual obligations and commitments ...”

So Mr. Springer had four years to get out of his lucrative show and return to public service with a 2004 campaign against GOP incumbent George Voinovich that would have helped him get the “second chance” he says he wants.

What's the real reason Jerry didn't run? Let's take the quiz.

The challenge is to match the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder, according to the American Psychiatric Association, with quotes from Mr. Springer's news conference last week.

(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

(3) believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

(4) requires excessive admiration

(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e. unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e. takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.

(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.

(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

Now the quotes:

(a) “When I am judged based on my competence, on the value of my issues, on the merits; where the race really is a political race, a substantive race and not a race about three transvestites and a midget on yesterday's show. By the way, it was a great show.”

(b) “Who would be here if I had never done that show? Do you think people would be talking about me running for the Senate? Do you think this would have any interest? We have international media here ... I am hired to host a show about dysfunctional relationships. That's what I do. I defy you to watch that show and say it's not dysfunctional.”

(c) “There simply are not enough Democratic votes in the state of Ohio for any Democrat to win. That is a reality ... The Democrats, nationally and in the state, have dropped the ball ... We are all over the lot, whining and complaining, and not offering people an alternative, hope, a better way.”

(d) “I've had a wonderful, wonderful life. I'm the luckiest person in the world. I got this wonderful life and I have no talent. I think I'm nice. I think I'm reasonably bright. But I don't have any talent. I got lucky. If God comes and says, ‘Jerry, you can have the same life, the good and the bad.' I'd say, ‘Where do I sign?'”

(e) “Anything ever said about me is known. It's out there. It's been out there. It's part of the folklore. It's part of everybody's jokes. The only thing that was unknown is any good news about me. That would shock people.”

(f) “I have a great passion about wanting to be helpful on public issues.”

(g) “I realized because of the notoriety of my show and my notoriety, whatever, it isn't just an Ohio campaign. It has, evidenced by the crowd in this room, national and international interest ... If the race were only Ohio, I honestly think I could get through this. But it's the whole country. Imagine if I were the 51st seat in contention. I'm not running against Voinovich. I'd be running against the whole administration; government doesn't want to lose power in the Senate. It would be like ‘Wow.'”

(h) “I'm not the perfect messenger right now. That's the problem. That's my problem, not anybody else's.”

(i) “There's no more testing of waters. I know now what works. There is no question in my mind the cause is righteous and just.”


THE ANSWERS: 1, (f). 2, (b). 3, (g). 4, (e). 5, (i). 6, (a). 7, (d). 8, (h). 9, (c).

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