Finally, the real debate!
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by Ron Cruger
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“I’m sick and tired of hearing the same, old stuff. It’s all a repeat of what both men have been saying for a year or more. I’m also tired of both of these guys avoiding direct answers to every serious question asked of them. It’s all so frustrating!”
The men and women of the Commission on Presidential Debates yanked their heads towards the speaker, a slightly overweight man in the dark blue suit sitting at the far end of the conference table – farthest from the Chairman of the Commission.
The Chairman of the Commission looked at the man in the blue suit and said, “Ya know, Alfred, I’ve been thinking the same thing. What the hell can we do to get these guys away from attacking each other and avoiding real hard core answers?”
The youngest Commission member, a youthful looking man in his middle twenties, sporting longish hair, a stylish tan leather jacket and a baseball cap with a New York Yankee logo, sheepishly raised his hand, asking to be acknowledged.
A quick finger from the Chairman pointed to the young man. “Yes, Alan, what’s on your mind?”
Well, sir, we’ve had those newscaster guys as moderators. I think they just let Obama and McCain get away with the insults and avoiding real answers. I’d suggest that for the final debate we forget using Bob Shieffer as our moderator and get someone different. Someone who will make those guys answer the questions and avoid taking pot shots at each other. We need someone who will make the final debate interesting. I suggest we get Jerry Seinfeld as our moderator.”
The Chairman liked the idea. “Helluva idea, young man. I’m for it. I like that Seinfeld guy. I think he would add something to the debate. Let’s vote. All in favor, say ‘aye.”
Only three of the Commission members voted against the Seinfeld proposal. The rest raised their hands and surprisingly and quickly Jerry Seinfeld became the moderator of the final Presidential Debate.
The days passed quickly. The evening of the debate arrived. The trucks from the television networks lined the streets outside of the Hofstra University Auditorium. Inside, every seat was filled and rows of eager standing spectators lined the aisles on the sides and rear of the auditorium.
The usual format was in place. The moderator’s desk was closest to the audience. Twenty five feet upstage were the two podiums, separated by twenty feet of red carpet.
Nine p.m. came and Jerry Seinfeld, sitting at the moderator’s desk, announced the two candidates, who acknowledged the audience’s applause, waved to the crowd and walked to their respective podiums.
Seinfeld began by saying, “Thank you ladies and gentlemen, tonight’s debate will vary from previous ones. There will be some new ground rules, gentlemen. First, regarding telling the truth. We have six judges of the New York Supreme Court who will serve as a truth squad tonight and if you tell an untruth or an exaggeration we will lop off five minutes from your speaking time tonight. Got it?”
Seinfeld continued, “Senator McCain, two things. First, you will not be permitted to walk around behind Senator Obama when he is talking. Secondly, you have to stop saying, “My Friends,” you are driving us all nuts with the “My friends.” Your imitating George Costanza.
“Senator Obama, you will not be permitted to say anything about “the last eight years,” we all know what happened during the last eight years. Just stick to what you will do to fix things.”
“Both of you have confused the hell out of the American public regarding health care. So, tonight you have to clarify exactly what you will do regarding bringing health care for Americans. If you start with the BS I will cut you off and you’ll lose the rest of your time.”
“During the last debate you were both asked what you will ask the American people to sacrifice during these hard times. You, Senator McCain gave a wishy-washy answer. You said, ‘We’ll have to examine every agency and every bureaucracy of government.’ Please I could have answered that. In this debate you will be asked a question and we expect a real, honest and direct answer.”
“And you, Senator Obama. Your answer to the same question was, ‘I think Americans are eager to serve.” Let’s get real, men. That’s not an answer. That’s something Kramer would say.”
“During the last debate, you, Senator McCain, said, “As President of the United States I would order the secretary of the treasury to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America.’ Sorry, sir, but that’s already been done. The law was passed two weeks ago.”
“And, Senator Obama, the old saying is, ‘Wet behind the ears,’ not ‘Green behind the ears.’ Let’s get things right. Okay.”
Seinfeld continued, “Oh, yes, another thing I would like to hear. Will either one or both of you actually cut out those billions of dollars of ‘Pork Barrel’ spending? And what will you do about those crazy ‘add-ons” to bills and laws?”
“And so, Senators, we will now begin the debate, but I warn you. If I hear any of those long-winded speeches that avoid the real answers I will shut off your microphone and give that time to your opponent. And if you don’t tell the truth or exaggerate, the ‘Truth Squad,’ to your right, will sound a buzzer and you will lose five minutes of your speaking time.”
“Now, let’s begin this debate. Senator McCain, you lost the coin toss, so you will go first.”
All across the land the sound of average Americans clapping rang from their homes and reached the streets.
Inside the auditorium of Hofstra Auditorium two United States Senators swallowed hard and were forced to revise their presentations.