Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Democratic Debate Parody: Oct. 13, 2004 which should really just be called "Debate Parody" but I screwed up the title and if I switch it is messes up the Indexing because a couple of people already linked to it. Oops. Sorry.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Good evening from an auditorium that looks exactly like the last one we debated in. Just so you know which state we'll be hearing the candidates pander to, let me tell you we're in Arizona tonight. By the end of the night, you'll know how many people in Arizona have lost their jobs, lost their health care, and lost their hair since the 2000 election. Even though there are only a hundred people in the room, and most of them are related to one of the candidates. I'm Bob Schieffer of CBS News, and I'm very old.

I'll moderate our discussion under detailed rules agreed to by the candidates, including the temperature in here, which is a chilly 47 degrees. But John Kerry's from Massachusetts, so that's what he wanted. George Bush, in turn, asked for Tonka trucks in the Green Room. That request was granted. The questions have been chosen by me, one of my research assistants, or the producer talking to me through my earpiece. To refresh your memory on the procedure -- and mine -- I will ask a question. The candidate is allowed two minutes to answer. His opponent then has a minute and a half to offer a rebuttal. At my discretion, I can extend the discussion by offering each candidate an additional 30 seconds. A member of the audience can then speak for 7 seconds, a dog can bark for 3 seconds, I can give you 2 seconds to grab another beer from the fridge, and then we will flash a subliminal message on the screen for an eighth of a second. A green light will come on to signal the candidate has 30 seconds left. A yellow light signals 15 seconds left. A red light means five seconds left. A purple light means we're at a 4th grade science fair growing plants. A black light means we're at a rave. A flashlight means we've had a blackout. There are also buzzers, horns, sirens, cans of mace, bottles of silly string, and freshly squeezed lemonade, if they are needed.

The candidates may not question each other directly. Because "debate" doesn't really mean anything. There are no opening statements, but there will be two-minute closing statements. There is an audience here tonight, but they have agreed to remain silent, which makes them pretty near useless. Except for right now, when they will clap on command like the monkeys they are. (Applause)

Gentleman, welcome to you both. By coin toss, the Bills will do the kickoff. Uh, I mean the first question goes to Senator Kerry. Senator, I want to set the stage for this discussion first by asking the question that I think is probably on the minds of many people watching this debate tonight. Are the Yankees still winning the game?

SEN. KERRY: Yes, Bob. I believe they are.

PRES. BUSH: They are winning the war against Terry. Terry Francona, the manager of the Red Sox.

SCHIEFFER: Thanks. For the first question, Senator Kerry, will our children and grandchildren ever live in a world as safe and secure as the world in which we grew up?

KERRY: The world in which *we* grew up, Bob? You're like sixty years older than I am. The world in which you grew up had slavery and outhouses. But it's an understandable concern. The measurement is are we as safe as we ought to be. Are we as safe as the books on President Bush's nightstand are safe from being read? I think we're not. I think there were a host of options that this president had available to him that he didn't take, like making sure that at all our ports in America containers are inspected. 95 percent come in today uninspected. People who fly on airplanes today, their bags are x-rayed, but their teeth are not. Firehouses don't have enough dalmations. Teachers don't have enough chalk. I don't have enough money. We can do better.

BUSH: We are safe. Let me compare us to Afghanistan, the country we all think of first when we think of safety. They had elections there. We have elections here. The first person who voted was a 19-year-old woman. Then she was shot.

KERRY: I will hunt down terrorists myself and kill them. With my bare hands. I will do it in the way Ronald Reagan did. By increasing deficits and trading arms for hostages.

BUSH: The symbol of our freedom and liberty is the Liberty Bell, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia makes cream cheese. Thus, like cream cheese, we will spread freedom and liberty around the world.

KERRY: The President had an opportunity to kill Osama Bin Laden, and he outsourced the job to Tony Soprano, who did not do it. The President said he didn't know where Osama Bin Laden was, he wasn't answering his e-mails, but he said he wasn't concerned.

BUSH: I don't think I ever said I wasn't concerned about Osama Bin Laden. Of course I'm concerned about Osama Bin Laden. He has my West Wing DVD set. This is one of Senator Kerry's exaggerations. Like when he said he was taller than me. He says it's about intelligence. It's not about intelligence. Not with me in the Oval Office.

SCHIEFFER: To jump from homeland security to something that couldn't involve a more awkward transition, I'd like to ask you about the flu vaccine. I mean specifically, since I'm old, I'd like a flu vaccine. Can I get one?

BUSH: Yes, I think you can, Bob. We should be saving them for the young, and the old. If you're neither young nor old, don't get a flu shot this year. I haven't got a flu shot and don't intend to, because I'm only the President, so what's the difference if I get the flu.

KERRY: Frankly, after my Botox injections, I don't want any more shots. This just underscores the problem with the American health care system. British vaccine makers are ruining everything for us. It's their fault that a million people right here in Arizona have no health insurance at all. 82,000 in Phoenix, 73,000 in Tucson, and 14,000 here in the audience today, including Mildred Smith, who has whopping cough, and Janet Dickinson, who has the clap. And, lest you think I've forgotten about pandering to the swing states, 114,000 Ohioans lost health insurance under President Bush, 82,000 Wisconsites, and 7 members of Union 723 in Tallahassee, Florida. Told ya I'd mention you tonight, Joe.

BUSH: A plan is not a litany of complaints. Litany. That's a real word, right? Did I make that up? Senator Kerry just said he wants everybody to be able to buy in to the same health plan that senators and congressmen get. Are senators and congressmen all that healthy? Max Cleland is missing some limbs. Do we want Americans to be missing limbs? Bob Dole has a shriveled arm. Do you want a shriveled arm? Strom Thurmond is dead. Do you want to die? If every family in America signed up for the senator's plan, it would cost us $5 gazillion over 10 years. It's an empty promise.

KERRY: Actually, it's not an empty promise. Here's an empty promise: we'll all live on the moon in 10 years. Promise. Look, seniors ought to have choice. In the Senate, we have choice. I chose Blue Cross / Blue Shield. And for mentioning them in this debate, they gave me a hat.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Senator Kerry, a new question. You pledged during the last debate that you would not raise taxes on those making less than $200,000 a year. But the price of everything is going up, and we all know it. I mean, when I was a kid, hot dogs cost a nickel and the printing press hadn't been invented yet. Now we have cars. It's ridiculous.

KERRY: You're right that it's ridiculous, but I want to shut some loopholes. The Bush administration is doing favors to the people importing ceiling fans from China, iron filings from Slovakia, and whoopee cushions from the Ukraine. I'm going to stand up for the American workers, and I'm very tall, so that's important. And I'm going to do it in a way that's fiscally sound. Hear the sound of fiscally? It's a lovely sound.

BUSH: Well, his rhetoric doesn't match his rectum. Er, his record. He's been a senator for 20 years. He voted to increase taxes nine million times. When they tried to reduce taxes, he voted against that 1.2 billion times. He talks about being a fiscal conservative, but when you're a senator from Massachusetts, when you're a colleague of Ted Kennedy, when you're richer than God, that don't mean nothing, as I would have said before my debate coaches taught me some English. Ain't it grand?

SCHIEFFER: Mr. President, what do you say to someone in this country who has lost his job to someone overseas who's being paid a fraction of what that job paid here in the United States, and mostly in beans?

BUSH: I say I need to avoid answering questions about the economy, so I'm going to turn this one into a question about education, say the words "community college" a half-dozen times and pretend I haven't just completely punted on this one. No job? By definition, you must need more education. And with No Worker Left Behind, I'll get you some. Maybe.

KERRY: I want you to notice how the president didn't answer the question. Now, I'm not going to either, because I just remembered that the laugh line I've been practicing all week would have been appropriate in that last question, but I forgot all about it. So let me throw it in here, even though it's not even all that thrilling anyway. Being lectured by the president on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order. (SILENCE) You're supposed to laugh. Teresa, pay them to laugh. Aw, screw you all. Like the President did when he cut Pell Grants. You want to make this about education, we'll make it about education.

BUSH: There you go again, Mr. Senator. In his last litany of misstatements -- there's my new word again! Litany! Senator Kerry said we cut Pell Grants. That's a fact. We've increased Pell Grants by a million students. That's a lie. Oops, I mean the other way around.

KERRY: You know why the Pell grants have gone up in their numbers? No? Me neither. Crap.

SCHIEFFER: New question to you, Senator Kerry. Many experts say that a president really doesn't have much control over jobs. If someone invents a machine that does the work of five people, that's progress, and, man, we didn't have any machines at all when I was growing up at the turn of the 16th century. What do you say to that?

KERRY: It's not completely the President's fault there are fewer jobs. I never said that. It's 98% his fault. It's 2% the fault of the recent spate of Florida hurricanes, which, as President, I will stop.

BUSH: Fewer jobs? "Jobs" sounds like "gobs," and not to change the topic or anything, but my tax cut gave you money. A family of four making $10,000 got 44 cents. It's your money. My opponent talks about fiscal sanity, but his record in the Senate does not match his wretchedness. Er, his rhetoric. He voted to increase taxes 98 times, to bust the budget 277 times, and to rape his sister 37,000 times.

KERRY: Bob, anybody can play with these votes. Everybody knows that. So, despite the fact that he's right, and I can't deny it, let's pretend I just did. Look, I voted for a tax cut once. Back in 1942. You were there, Bob. And, finally, to start the requisite war of the bipartisan name dropping, let me mention I once shook hands with Ronald Reagan.

BUSH: Oh yeah? Well, Ted Kennedy voted for No Child Left Behind. Because he wants to eat them all. Senator, there's a mainstream in America, and a main stream that runs outside my ranch in Crawford. It's very nice. In American politics, you're on the Left Bank. And I'm on the West Bank. Your record is such that Ted Kennedy is the conservative senator from Massachusetts. And the fattest. And, incidentally, if Ted Kennedy's a conservative, that would make me a fascist.

SCHIEFFER: You're both looking quite lovely this evening. Have I mentioned that? With that in mind, and excuse me as I loosen my belt here, do you believe homosexuality is a choice?

BUSH: I don't know, Bob. I don't know anything.

KERRY: Dick Cheney's daughter knows. She knows her father is an evil, evil man.

SCHIEFFER: Okay, now that we've started the section of the debate where we'll be pandering to the religious nuts, what do you think about abortion?

BUSH: I wish I'd been aborted, Bob. Because being President is hard. It's hard work. Hard. I work on Tuesdays. Every Tuesday. It's terrible. It's hard. Oh, so hard.

KERRY: Oh, so we're parodying the other debates now? Well, I remember that first World Trade Center bombing, in 1993, and then the other one, in 2001, what's that, 2, 3, 28 years later?

BUSH: Maybe you should look it up on the Internets.

KERRY: Or I'll just ask my wife's OG-BMW.

BUSH: Good idea. Should we get back to the debate at hand after that fun little interlude?

KERRY: Yes, we shall. I grew up a Catholic. I was an altar boy. I was touched by no fewer than fourteen priests. But I don't think I can tell people not to have abortions, not because I think they're good, but because I want to win this election, and my consultants insist this one is non-negotiable.

BUSH: I believe we should promote a culture of life. But not if it doesn't score well on standardized tests, because we want to end social promotion and leave no child behind. And, unlike Kerry's priests, we want to touch no child's behidn either. I want to continue to promote adoption -- that's a great alternative to abortion. Forced sterilization. That's a good one too.

SCHIEFFER: Health care costs have risen over 30%. Whose fault?

BUSH: Mine. Of course. How could it not be? But the real problem is technology. We need to get those Internets into the hospitals. Unmanned vehicles should be diagnosing patients. Oh, and protecting the border too.

KERRY: Actually, I think we should just steal drugs from Canada, because who cares if the Canadians get sick.

BUSH: I was deeply concerned about seniors having to choose between prescription drugs and food. I hope they chose food. Food's important. We need to keep that in mind.

KERRY: Two leading national news networks have both said the president's characterization of my health care plan is incorrect. One called it fiction, the other called it the opposite of non-fiction.

BUSH: I don't think we can trust the news networks. Personally, I get all my news from Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. He's one funny guy. And Marmaduke. How I love Marmaduke.

SCHIEFFER: How about immigration? You like the Mexicans, Senator Kerry.

KERRY: I love the Mexicans. Except I wish they'd stay in Mexico. But it's not just Mexicans. People from the Middle East are crossing the border. And everyone from the Middle East, as we all know, is evil. People from the Midwest are crossing the border too. But I'm happy to get rid of them. Except the lovely people from Iowa, which is a swing state.

BUSH: I don't support amnesty. I think people should try and avoid short-term memory problems like that. Be careful if you hit your head. Get a flu shot.

SCHIEFFER: People in the National Guard have been complaining about a backdoor draft. What's your reaction to that?

BUSH: I told you. I'm not for gay marriage.

KERRY: I'm with the President on this one.

SCHIEFFER: Let's move on to assault weapons. You're for continuing the ban, is that right, Senator Kerry?

KERRY: I'm a hunter. I hunt the poor. I shoot them dead. I've owned guns since I was a toddler. I am not going to do anything to revoke the 2nd amendment, or the 4th amendment, or the 23rd. The 19th may be at risk. But right now, terrorists can go to gun shows and buy guns. Osama Bin Laden's handbook says that's exactly what they should do. It also has a great recipe for baked chicken that Teresa and I just love.

BUSH: The best way to protect our citizens from guns is to prosecute those who commit crimes with guns. Which, if you listen carefully to my answer, I can almost convince you that's something new, that I've started, because before, if someone committed a crime with a gun, we let them go free. But not anymore. That's my gun plan. Not letting criminals who shoot people go free.

SCHIEFFER: One final question, before I let you give the stump speeches you've had memorized for the past eight months. It occurred to me as I came to this debate tonight that the three of us share something. We all forgot deodorant this morning. It's been a terrible odor here in the auditorium. But, besides that, all three of us are married to people who'd make better presidents than we would. What have you learned from your families?

BUSH: To listen. To stand up straight. To keep the toilet seat down. I promised Laura she'd never have to give a speech, I'd stop using cocaine at Camp David, and our daughters wouldn't be delinquents. I'm 0-for-3, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Kerry?

KERRY: I married up. I married way up. Do you know how rich she is? Do you? She is so goddamn rich it's totally awesome. I don't even need to win this election, Bob. I am so rich that it's absolutely astonishing that I don't get laughed out of the room when I say that I identify with the problems of the middle class. If you divided the money I have among everyone in the state of Arizona, we all still wouldn't be middle class.

SCHIEFFER: Well, gentlemen, that brings us to the closing statements. Senator Kerry, I believe you're first.

KERRY: Nah, I think I'll skip this one.

BUSH: Yeah, me too. I'm getting pretty sleepy.

SCHIEFFER: Works for me. Yankees are still playing, so you all may want to check that out, since it's not like any of the pundits are going to have anything useful to say. Oh well. From all of us here in Arizona, I'll see you 4 years from now, when I'm a hundred and twelve.