My Irish Up: Lying in wait for the debates

Mike Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan

BN Columnist

All the presidential debates need is more interesting questions. None of this old-fashioned “journalistic objectivity” makes much sense, now that all of us (well, not counting Grover Norquist) have finally made it to the 21st Century.

Enough of Jim Lehrer. Let’s see real journalists, like Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann, asking the questions.

Mod: Welcome to the 2012 presidential debates between… wait, I have my notes right here… President… Barack… what the hell kind of name is Barack?…. Obama, is it? — Yes, that’s it, Obama — and his Republican challenger, Governor Mickey Rooney. Candidates will have 10 seconds to answer each question. Mr. O’Reilly?

FxN: What the hell do you want?

Mod: It’s your question, sir. First for Mr. “Obama”…

FxN: Sure. “President” “Obama,” you steaming hunk of dog-do, you un-American, born-someplace-else, traitorous socialist pig, you economic Robin Hood-wannabe, you…!

Alex Trebek: Please, sir, remember to ask your questions in the form of a question!

Mod: Mr. O’Reilly?

FxN: What?

As you can see, this type of debate would be much more interesting than the confused pap we got in Denver last week, when, somewhat surprisingly, Obama looked like the more confused one. Also, had they allowed into the auditorium an actual crowd, we might have seen some lively gunplay among the audience, as well, it being Colorado and all. It would have made for a riveting evening of Must-See TV. Instead, we got:

Mod: Mr. Obama, if you were an insect, what kind of insect would you be?

Romney: Objection, Your Honor!

Mod: What the hell do you want?

Romney: It was determined as part of the ground rules for this debate that you ask me that question. Now, what am I going to do with my entirely unscripted, original and stunning answer?

Mod: Sorry. What would that have been, had I actually asked you the question?

Romney: Ah… Afghanistan? No? Boll weevil?

Mod: Mr. Romney, please.

Romney: Lady bug?

I remember when Richard Nixon squared off against JFK in 1960. All the news afterward focused on how Nixon sweated with much more authority than did Kennedy, and how Nixon needed a shave, on top of that. It was the first capitulation of “issues campaigning” to the entirely American concept of choosing the tallest and most handsome of the two candidates, no matter if that one happened to be a complete airhead or not. This foreshadowed the Reagan presidency and the eventual destruction of America from the top down. So, the last of a wrong-headed but romantic era, with plenty of high-level libidos on display, no wonder the John F. Kennedy White House was called Camelot!

Still, things have become so pre-scripted at these debates that there really is no sense in watching them, except to see if one candidate or another makes a dumb mistake, like calling Poland a democracy when it isn’t yet, or — and I’m looking at you, Mike Dukakis — making the fatal error of just showing up at all.

Actually, the vice presidential debates are even funnier, when you can get someone like Dan Quayle noting that he didn’t plan on visiting Latin America because he couldn’t speak Latin! A proud moment in American history, right there, but fortunately, Peru and Argentina voted that Quayle would do well to just stay home, anyway, and in addition, should probably be institutionalized for his own good. Thus was a crisis averted and the United States got to declare a clear victory over creeping Communism. Like so much of that century, it was win-win.

All this underscores the importance of these debates for a country where a high percentage of the people who show up at the polls this year in several states may not actually get to cast ballots, just because they haven’t had their pictures taken lately. Avoiding photos having been determined to represent a clear threat to democracy, apparently.

Wait, are Ryan and Biden going to “debate” this year? I certainly hope so, but I haven’t checked. Which would put me on an even footing with each of them and their so-called  “facts.” I saw a poll the other day where Americans expected the candidates to lie. It appears that those polled, as well as our candidates, live in the right country.

Well, at least we still can trust Fox News and MSNBC, I suppose. They say we can trust them, anyway, in their promos, and that should be good enough for the rest of us. After all, you can’t lie in an advertisement because money is involved. Right?

By virtue of replacing its battery, Mike Corrigan once claimed a draw in a debate with a garage door opener.

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