Memories of Debates Past

I wrote this in 2012 after the Biden/Ryan VP debate. It remains one of my favorite things that I have ever written.


Martha Raddatz: Welcome to the only vice presidential debate. This will be a discussion between two guys who will be one bullet away from the Presidency. What they say will probably never matter. In an ideal world everyone will be polite and no one will indulge in Palin-esque winking. We have a lot to cover tonight so I hope both candidates can stick to the time limits for answering questions. Agreed?

Joe Biden: Not a chance

Paul Ryan: Yeah, there’s no way.

MR: OK, then. Let’s get started. I’d like to talk about foreign policy…

JB: Booyah! Foreign policy! Bring it! I chaired the Foreign Relations committee for a long freaking time! I related to foreign countries while my “friend” here was learning about them in geography class!

PR: Did you just use air quotes when you said friend? So uncool.

JB: Whatevs. I’ve been in the situation room. I get CIA briefings. I’m a foreign policy badass. You look like a white kid with a Eurail pass and a backpack trying to score with hot Scandinavian girls.

PR: Sha. As if. Your foreign policy is a hot mess. You won’t even call people terrorists. What kind of American doesn’t accuse anyone and everyone on foreign soil of terrorism?

JB: I’m over here.

PR: I know. But the camera is over there and I need to gaze into it with a sincere look on my face.

MR: Gentlemen, let’s move along to unemployment. It’s a big problem facing our nation, you know.

JB: Is this where I talk about being from Scranton?

PR: Yeah, and I bring up Janesville.

JB: No one knows where Janesville is. Everyone knows about Scranton because I’ve been name dropping it since you were in diapers.

PR: Name dropping it hasn’t fixed its unemployment rate. Janesville has less unemployment than Scranton.

JB: Because of the shit-ton of stimulus money you begged for. You’re welcome, by the way.

PR: I’m not a hypocrite!

JB: Did I say you were?

MR: Next up, let’s talk a little about entitlement programs. Social Security and Medicare. What’s next for those programs?

PR: Slash and burn them! Private sector! Vouchers! Money money money!

JB: What the hell was that? Was that like supply-side fugue state thing? You make no sense and you’re pulling the plug on grandma only not grandma today, grandma 30 years from now.

PR: No, I’m not.

JB: You totally are.

PR: Nuh-uh. I’m doing what Reagan did.

JB: Dude. I was in the room when Reagan did his Social Security thing. Remember? Oh right. You were at recess. Or was it snack time at your elementary school?

MR: ::eye twitches:: Maybe we should talk about the wars…

JB: My son fought in the wars.

PR: ::mutters:: We know. Is he from Scranton too?

JB: Shut up or I’ll bring up my late wife and daughter who died in a car wreck.

PR: Fine. Let me tell you about my trip to Afghanistan where I met with many generals and learned many important things about military strategy. I also learned how to pronounce the names of many Afghan towns and regions. I’ll recite them all if you want.

JB: I know them already. Because of all my foreign policy experience.

PR: Well, those places are dangerous. We need more troops there!

JB: You are a fucking idiot. You want to send more Americans to be killed in a hostile environment in a country that doesn’t want us there and is actively killing our personnel? Fuck that noise. We’re out in 2014. End of story.

PR: Why do you hate the military?

JB: Why are you hell-bent on killing them off? You want to go to war in Syria and Iran and stay in Afghanistan.

PR: We believe in peace through strength.

JB: Nice talking point, bro.

PR: Thanks. Wrote it myself!

JB: Figures.

MR: Ok, we’re almost outta time. And I need a drink so let’s talk religion and abortion for a minute then hit the bar across the street.

PR: I love Jesus and hate abortion.

JB: I also love Jesus. But I love getting the women’s vote too so I’m down with legal access to abortion even though I don’t like abortion myself.

MR: And closing statements.

JB: You cannot elect this clown and his buddy Mittens. They suck. Barack and I get you. We do. Really we do. I’m from Scranton and know people just like you. So, I know what you want and I’ll make sure Barack does it. It just might take a while.

PR: Mitt and I will make you totally rich if you vote for us.

MR: Thank you and good night.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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