Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The lowdown on tonight's third and final presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama

Q: Really, J., really, you think we are such enormous masochists that we would subject ourselves to yet another sound byte-spouting snooze fest masquerading as a "debate"?

A: Yes.

Q: You're probably right. Okay, so what's this one about?

A: Which is worse, palling around with unrepentant (albeit unconvicted) terrorists (who were named "Citizen of the Year") or convicted felons, and who can whip out of his ass faster a new plan for the economy that will benefit the middle class (whoever that is), or, as the Commission on Presidential Debates put it, "the economy and domestic policy."

Q: And which whiny, impotent award-winning journalist is refereeing tonight's celebrity death match?

A: That would be award-winning journalist and CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent/ Katie Couric butt boy Bob Schieffer.

Q: Will this debate be any different from the other two debates?

A: Please to be reading award-winning journalist and CBS News Senior Political Correspondent Jeff Greenfield's article in Slate titled "Sit Down and Shut Up: How Bob Schieffer can make this year's final debate interesting." (I also enjoyed this local-boy-makes-good account from the Dallas

And for those too lazy to click on those links and read the articles right now, what makes this debate (in theory) different from the other two, besides the location and the moderator is... the furniture, my friends. Instead of standing behind podiums, the two presidential candidates, Senator John Sidney McCain III (R-AZ) and Senator Barack "That One" Obama (D-IL), will be seated at a roundish IKEA-style table across from the moderator, the aforementioned Bob Schieffer (kind of like after-school detention).

As for the format of the debate, there will be nine 10-minute segments, which will (in theory) focus on domestic issues, with Schieffer having carefully chosen the subjects for each segment beforehand. After Schieffer poses a question, each candidate will have two-minutes to answer (and we know how well that's been working out), followed by a five-minute discussion for each question (though not necessarily the question Schieffer asked), with a two-minute closing statement from each candidate at the end.

Q: So, where is tonight's debate taking place?

A: At Hofstra University on Long Island (or for you non-New Yorkers, that would be Hempstead, New York).

Q: What time is tonight's debate?

A: Same time as the other two, 9 p.m. Eastern.

Q: And where can I catch tonight's debate?

A: Pick a channel, any channel, except for the CW, which will be showing a repeat of 90210, and Fox, which will be airing Game 5 of the National League Championship Baseball Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is sure to be more exciting (at least for Phillies and Dodgers fans), with more trash talking and physical blows, than this debate.

For those of you without a TV, National Public Radio (NPR) will also be carrying the debate live.

Q: How long is tonight's debate?

A: 90 minutes. Ninety long, excruciating, pull out half your hair, leave the room seven times, minutes, followed by at least another 30 minutes (depending on which channel you are watching) of pundits rehashing and parsing the previous 90 minutes for what will seem like an eternity and will make you wonder why you stayed up so effing late the next morning.

Q: I'm still kicking myself for not going with my friends last debate. Do you think that's still a good bet if I want to get really wasted while watching tonight's presidential debate?

A: Actually, no, my friends. Since John McCain and Barack Obama will be pretty much addressing each other and/or Bob Schieffer, I don't think McCain will be saying my friends all that much, though I could be wrong. Since this is supposedly a debate about the economy and domestic issues, I'd go with middle class tax plan and/or domestic terrorist(s) and/or Main Street.

Q: If I miss the debate tonight, where can I catch a replay?

A: Besides tomorrow night's "Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update" primetime special airing at 9:30 p.m. ET and on CNN at 1 a.m. ET (or whenever our citizens in Europe and Asia are awake to watch it)? Go to, a collaboration between and the Commission on Presidential Debates. Segments will also, no doubt, be played over and over and over again on every major network and cable news channel for days, as well as on "The Daily Show" starting tomorrow (as the show actually tapes around 5 p.m. ET).

Q: Any last-minute predictions about tonight's debate?

A: John McCain, totally unhinged by Barack Obama's Vulcan-like calm and seeming lack of emotion, will reach across the table in a fit of rage and attempt to throttle him.


My friends, I saw this on and had to share:

Penguin for President?


Anonymous said...

Butt Boy? - ouch
Yankee fans who hate Steinbrenner want to see Torre take the Dodgers all the way just to rub it in his face.
How about this: we light up and take a toke every time Obama says "change" and a shot of coffee flavored Petron every time McCain says "My Friends". Or better yet, let's get our spouses to agree that every time we hear "depression" we trade sexual favors. I think this combination will help us all to sleep better tonight. Just don't say the "M" word.

J. said...

Okay, Schieffer isn't really Couric's "butt boy," but he did get the shaft when she came to town/CBS.

And while I am not a Yankees fan (next year, Mets!), I am routing for Torre.

Re your take on how to play the debate, I like your thinking, Anonymous! Forgot about the "M" word. Maybe take a water pistol to your head every time JSM III says it?

J. said...

that would be "rooting" for Torre.

Dave S. said...

Your last-minute prediction is spot-on and more viewers will tune in as a result, a la watching NASCAR for the crashes. (Never miss an opportunity to use the phrase "a la watching NASCAR," my friends.)

However, I counter-predict that the format of the debate will barely slow McCain's use of MF, appropriateness thereof be damned.

I further predict that McCain will not pull the trigger on the "associations" meme, not because he is noble and above that (he is not) but because Obama will respond green-bloodedly with either an eloquent version of "what's your point?" or a laundry list of McCain associations, and McCain knows it.

I know have a Sparks song running through my head, which is fine by me.

Dave S. said...

that would be "I NOW have"...

Anonymous said...

Change equals a toke
My friends needs something stronger
I like your thinking

Anonymous said...

a coffee flavor
Patron is a tequila. uh,stronger than that?

Anonymous said...

The economy?
Bernake: Economy
Sucks. Market crashes.

EMM said...

Don't forget Project Runway for a total escape from reality.

I'm in NYC tonight, heading over to an apartment with fantastic views. We've been promised libations as well as 2 plasma TV's one; for PR and one for the debate.


J. said...

I meant to mention "Project Runway." Thanks EMM! Sounds like you may have the best seat in the house. Am totally envious. I will be on my bed with my laptop -- but alas without any Patron (or other alcohol or controlled substances, though may have a Fat Tire with dinner). Gotta keep a clear head for blog notes.

Btw, is there such a thing as coffee-flavored tequila? And who can even afford Patron these days? 700-point drop, yikes, indeed. Time for the Bank of Ben and Hank to act again?

Stay tuned tomorrow for my debate recap...