Let Us Not Forget the Spin Nurses

One hears so much about spin doctors these days. But never a word about the people who spend long hours with the patient: the spin nurses.

Who do you think sat with Dan Quayle when he was placed in intensive care after the severe memory loss that left him with no recall of the 20th Century? Who gave Lloyd Bentsen the rifle to hold when he had his hearing tested before thousands of photographers? Who first diagnosed George Bush’s problems with photophobias--the 1,000 points of light that had been plaguing his vision? Who taught Michael Dukakis to power walk before he could power run? The spin nurse, that’s who.

Spinning is the world’s fourth oldest profession. We know the oldest. Next came the press leakers, followed by the man handlers. And finally, the shamans of spin.

Then, in 1888, spinwifery was born when Clara Nightingale wrote the first “Official Guide to Spinning.” In it, she set the standards for a century of spin professionals. The principles she set forth are as relevant today as they were a hundred years ago. Among her pearls of wisdom are:


1--As ye reape so shall ye shred.

2--Speak no evil except in buzzwords.

3--Every gaffe line holds a silver laugh line.

4--A bad decision is just a good decision in rewind.


5--Do it to the press before they do it to you.

6--Walk softly and keep a straight face.

7--Never let ‘em see you drool.

By following Nightingale’s spinological principles, we made it halfway through the 20th Century without anyone questioning the way we elected Presidents. Then, in the late ‘60s, a technological explosion forced spin nurses out of their Victorian posture.

A more complex society required more education. The traditional role of the spin nurse was being supplanted by a whole array of spin specialists--spin surgeons required to perform emergency gaffectomies, spin neurologists who sought out zingers.

The fact that spin nursing had traditionally been viewed as “women’s work” did not help the status of the profession. Generations of American politicians had previously survived with nothing more than a good wife trained in the art of spinning. In 1988, the American Academy of Spin Nursing recognized the outstanding contribution of Nancy Reagan by naming her Spin Queen of the Year for her “Just Say I Don’t Remember” campaign.

Today, men and women work in the field of spin nursing. They are trained at the finest university medical centers. Here they learn to inject even the most stubborn opinion polls with a positive spin.

No longer an angel in white, standing deadpan with a bedpan, the modern spin nurse takes an active role in all procedures. Immediately after the coming election, you can bet that the phone will be ringing off the hook at every spin nurse temp agency in town. A fleet of technically savvy spin nurses will go forth across the land taking pulses, lowering blood pressure and shoving that deficit down our throats.