by | Oct 6, 1996 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

If you believe the analysts, almost no one is planning to watch tonight’s presidential debate. Heck, according to the numbers, more people will catch
“Real Stories of the Highway Patrol” than Clinton and Dole.

How can this be? Is it because we, as a nation, have lowered our standards to the point where police sirens, music videos and women in skimpy bathing suits are more interesting than who sits in the White House?

Of course! This is America!

Still, the apathy over tonight’s debate also may stem from our belief that everything we hear from Bill Clinton and Bob Dole is a — what’s the right word here? — big fat lie. So why watch? Especially when Nick at Nite is running “The Munsters”?

Well. I have a solution. I think the moderator should break tonight’s debate into two parts — first the rhetoric. The usual answers. And then what they really think. In which case, it might go like this: MODERATOR: Gentlemen, good evening. Let us begin with your comments on the American economy. CLINTON: America’s economy is healthier now than it was four years ago. All major economic indicators are positive, and we see stable growth and controlled spending as keys to the future. DOLE: The economy has many troublesome points, and we see stable growth and controlled spending as keys to the future. MODERATOR: Thank you. Now, say what you really feel. CLINTON: You old horse. Do you still do math on an abacus? DOLE: What do you know about the economy, punk? You’ve never held a real job in your life. If your wife didn’t make your investments, you’d be eating porridge right now. CLINTON: Aw, go buy some denture cream. DOLE: Go play in a sand box. MODERATOR: Thank you. Second question. What do each of you feel about welfare reform? CLINTON: The most important thing is that we teach people to be self-sufficient while practicing sound economic judgment. DOLE: The current welfare system is a drain on our economy. We need to help people work, while practicing sound economic judgment. MODERATOR: Fine. And what do you really think? CLINTON: Hey, I got a job. DOLE: Me, too. Outta my way. MODERATOR: Uh . . . all right. Next topic. There seems to be a general apathy amongst many of our younger citizens. How can a sense of optimism be restored to our youth? CLINTON: Our young people are our most precious resource. Their future needs to be our highest priority. DOLE: The future can be bright. It needs to be our highest priority. MODERATOR: And how do you really feel? CLINTON: What? About a bunch of drunken teenagers? Let them earn money the way I did: Get elected to something. DOLE: Fine talk, coming from you. You probably smoked dope with ’em, you pothead. CLINTON: Narc! DOLE: Toker! MODERATOR: Next question. How can America elect a president without resorting to negative campaigning? CLINTON: I do not believe in negative campaigns. DOLE: Bob Doles does not believe in negative campaigns. MODERATOR: And what you really — CLINTON: You sleazeball! Is there anything you haven’t slammed me on? If I weren’t president I’d box your ears in. DOLE: Stuff it, Romeo! The only hard part in slamming you is deciding what to leave out! CLINTON: Geezer! DOLE: Lothario! MODERATOR: Gentlemen, please. The health of the president has become an issue during this campaign . . . CLINTON: All health records should be open. DOLE: Bob Dole agrees. MODERATOR: And how do you really — CLINTON: You slimeball! What are you now, my proctologist? DOLE: Aw, stuff it, fat boy. You just don’t want the nation knowing your cholesterol count is higher than a three-game bowling score. CLINTON: Yeah? How’s your eyesight, Gramps? DOLE: Good enough to see your face, Fat Albert. Hey, Bill. How about skipping a meal now and then, save the public some money — MODERATOR: Gentlemen. Please. One last question now. In recent days, America has become quite upset with baseball player Roberto Alomar, who spit at an umpire when he didn’t like the call. How do you feel about that? CLINTON: It was reprehensible. Awful. DOLE: No room for that in American life. MODERATOR: And how you really feel? CLINTON: Ptew! DOLE: Ptew!

See how it works? It might not be the most traditional debate.

But it beats being outrated by “Matlock.”


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