The debate is starting in less than an hour! ARE YOU PUMPED?!?!?!!1?!
Yeah, me neither. Maybe after I eat.
But! Are we all emotionally prepared? Let’s make up a drinking game! Yes, I don’t drink, but I do know at least one person who will be watching the debate from the Pub, which sounds like a splendiferous idea. Anything to dull the pain of our country’s impending voyage into the Sun.
Truth be told, I’m not quite as excited about making up a drinking game as I was when I first thought of it, because I saw a kickass one created by the gals over at Feministe. And I think we all know that, purely on principle, I could never equal anything from that magnificent domain. So why don’t you just go there. I will, however, excerpt a couple of my favorites:
- Every time the candidate steers away from the question asked to highlight his own talking points (we call that a Palin), drink twice.
- For every mention of failed bipartisanship efforts that failed because the opposing party are a bunch of sniveling assbabies, drink.
- Every time someone mentions terrorism, drink. If someone mentions terrorists in a non-terrorist context, like the Iraq War, drink twice.
- When McCain grumpily alludes to the more important things he has to do, chug.
- Spit out your beer and yell at the TV if McCain insinuates Obama is a) Muslim or b) the antiChrist.
So yeah. You should totes go read the whole thing. See you in 30!
8:59 We’re watching this on NBC HD. How exciting.
9:00 How come my college doesn’t have an auditorium like that, suitable for a debate? Stupid private colleges. We’re reminded that Obama is black and McCain was a POW, like, thanks bud, I hadn’t caught that. I feel that, were I a drinker, I would already need to be throwing back a few.
9:02 I think it would be cooler if this debate were sponsored by, say, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and if each contestant were required to work that into each answer.The moderator, Jim Lehrer, tells us that this debate is about national security and foreign policy.
9:03 Assuming that ‘stage’ directions are in order, the candidates are arranged by their political leanings (i.e. Obama is on my right). Ooh, they asked about the money! Barack goes first! He mentioned the big G.D. – oh yeah, he went there. He says he has a series of proposals to make sure the Average American is unaffected, and enumerates them.
9:05 He mentions the homeowners, which is accurate. And ditto for the golden parachutes and CEO bonuses. Oooh, he makes a shot at McCain and Bush!
9:06 McCain talks about Senator Kennedy before talking about anything substantial; like, I understand people are worried, but could you be any more transparent in trying not to look like a grump with a heart of stone?
9:07 Gah! 2nd mention of ‘Main Street’. He’s also not happy about the financial crisis, which, duh. He also says ‘my Republicans’ were not part of the solution in the Congress. We have a lot of work to do, but wtf? Ties it to foreign oil? Excellent job in COMPLETELY evading Obama’s accurate statements about your asshattish fiscal conservative policies.
9:09 Obama wants to look at the root causes, like go back years. You think? He totally disses the completely anti-regulatory Republican talking points and says we’re not living in the 21st century.
9:10 McCain takes it even farther back – Eisenhower, bitches! My dad says McCain used this exact same story last week, and quotes it word for word. Needless to say, he doesn’t address A DAMN THING Obama said, except for saying he ‘hopes to’ vote for whatever bill is currently on the floor.
9:11 Oh, SNAP! [3rd mention of ‘Main Street’]. Obama BRINGS IT BACK to accountability not just during crises, but regulation for years before has been lacking. He also ‘fundamentally disagrees’ that we can just hold ourselves accountable during selected times rather than all the time. You think?
9:13 McCain says we have to fix the system. I expect to see his resignation tendered by Monday. He also has a FUNDAMENTAL BELIEF (minor fist pounding) in the AMERICAN WORKER and name-drops the United States of America and exporting and importing and if we just have hope, happy days will come! Gag me.We also have to ‘reduce spending’ in Washington, which is out of control. Whose fault is that, Johnny boy? Could that be the defense costs? He will also veto every single bill that comes across his desk that asks him to spend money (apparently, as opposed to most bills, which are actually blank checks).
9:16 If I have to hear the words ‘pork-barrel’ one more time, I’ll shoot myself. Obama totally nails McCain on his entirely ridiculous tax plan and how he hates poor people. McCain smirks and shakes his head, like he’s above it all, and then brings it back to his beloved ‘pork-barrel’ spending, which is a tiny fraction of spending but has apparently tripled and and is ‘out of control’! Oh, zounds!
9:19 Obama puts up a finger and then hand like he’s bidding at an auction when McCain starts talking out of his upper colon. He nails McCain for making fun of his $800 billion dollars because he actually cares about things like health care, which McCain obviously doesn’t need because he’ll be dead in 2 years (my words, not his).
9:20 Lehrer calls McCain on his dodging Obama’s point twice; McCain proceeds to talk even more obscurely and specifically about ridiculousness that misses the main point, and then GOES BACK to the pork-barrels. I mean, my God. You’d think the pork-barrel spending was the one that stuck him in the Hanoi Hilton, rather than the Viet Cong.
9:22 You know, Obama is kicking ass and making total sense, but like my Dad said, I’m terrified to get up tomorrow and find out that everyone thinks McCain won. I may have to move to Sweden sooner rather than later.
9:23 Obama TOTALLY CALLS him on the ridiculous FREE MARKET worship, like the Free Market ™Th is going to come down in an agora ex machina and save the world. To counter this, McCain goes back yet again to his fucking pork-barrel, at which point I have a brief bout of pre-syncope.
9:26 McCain chuckles nervously and I piss my pants at the sight of his rictus.
9:27 My family starts whining about the ballgame; I miss Obama’s 2-minute-long speech on hopes and dreams and plans and goals, which sounded lovely. I hear mentions of more affordable college, and science, and healthcare, and infrastructure, which are all things I’m a fan of.
9:28 Oh, it’s ‘what priorities would you change’. McCain says – wait for it – REDUCE SPENDING! I decide to get a new piece of bread every time he mentions that. He’s going on about ‘killing’ something that probably wasn’t actually living – random Republican posturing and references to stereotypical masculinity? Check.
9:31 Obama also says we can reduce spending, but by cutting things that actually are superfluous. Hehe – he says that his ‘wild liberality’ is actually just him opposing Bush’s policies. I’ll say. Not liberal enough for me by half, but I’m warming up to him in spite of myself anyway.
9:32 McCain mentions a spending freeze. I get more bread. Obama says that a spending freeze would be using a hatchet where a scalpel should be used. Hmm, are you saying McCain doesn’t understand or perhaps care about the delicate nuances of our country’s infrastructure, and at this point is grasping at bullet points from a ‘Conservatism and YOU!’ pamphlet? Intriguing.
9:36 McCain dog-whistles ‘you socialist bastard’ at Obama for daring to say that poor people should be able to go to the doctor. He mentions spending restraint. Again, nowhere in this is he mentioning the defense budget, which he most certainly has NOT ‘fought against his entire life’. My ass. How can people believe this drivel?
9:37 Obama says orgy, and calls McCain on saying he’s going to be different from the current government when he in fact aided, abetted, and wholeheartedly supported Bushie. Mccain again admits to being an asshole, but tries to spin it like he’s an asshole to the President instead of, say, his wife.
9:39 Oh LEHRER WENT THERE! IRAQ! McCain says the problem was with strategy; i.e. the ‘shock and awe’ was poorly thought-through. What about the original motivation for the war, John? Mmm? Oh we are NOT seeing a fledgling democracy. Do I need to get all linky on you? I honestly don’t know if he’s incredibly stupid, or smart and just incredibly shameless in stating these bald untruths.
9:41 Again, Obama wants to talk about original rationales and root causes, and thinking things through beforehand, only this time w/ Iraq. I expect this to be a running theme – Obama thinks, and McCain is actually a reject from the Hall of Presidents in Disney World.
9:42 TESTIFY, BARACK! Oh, McCain. How I wish to throttle you. Why does everybody keep saying the surge has worked?
9:43 OBama gets in a dig about vice-presidents: maybe he hasn’t had a meeting with Petraeus or whatevs, but his VP has and has lots of experience in the area. The elephant in the room, of course, is the question: “Why didn’t Palin know Russia was going to invade Georgia? Was her backyard foggy that day?”
9:46 According to McCain, we’re winning the war in Iraq, and Obama doesn’t want to admit it because he hates the troops, whereas McCain calls them ‘brave young Americans’ and, if you didn’t know, was a soldier himself back in the day.Obama goes on for a while and makes a whole lot of sense, and McCain once again pulls out some specific non sequitur and oh McCain just started talking again and now I’m yelling at the TV. Oh, of course Iraq is a major part of the War on Terrorism ™ NOW. Al-Qaeda wasn’t there when we got there, but we brought them there, so NOW it’s a huge problem. Semantics, McCain. Use your head.
9:50 Obama says we need to send more troops to Afghanistan. He totally calls the Repubs on the fact that 9/11 had nothing to do with Iraq and Al-Qaeda wasn’t there before, and that going there in the first place was a mistake. McCain sighs, thought out of sadness, pique, or confusion it is difficult to say. Ooh, poppies! Then they’ll sleep…apparently, there’s a big opium trade in Afghanistan now, which is something of a problem. I can see how it would be hard to defeat troops that had unlimited access to opioid painkillers. They’d be unstoppable!
9:53 McCain says ‘pull the trigger’ – second random Republican posturing and references to stereotypical masculinity! Does ‘Alexander the Great’ count as the third? ‘Cause he totally just went there. McCain goes on about Pakistan, which is fair because that’s probs where bin Laden is right now and clearly things are not good, what with the Musharraf and Bhutto assassination and all.
9:58 Well duh that Obama doesn’t want to randomly bomb Pakistan. He’s not an idiot. But McCain has sung about ‘bomb bomb Iran’! What now, bitches?! McCain counters with his history – i.e., he hasn’t done it YET. Random public-interest story about a killed soldier, who we are supposed to believe Obama hates, as he does all soldiers. Ooh, McCain brings up his Vietnam-ness. Jim tries to break in, but McCain’s on a patriotic roll and is practically sneezing red, white, and blue.
10:00 Again Obama mentions ‘making good judgments’, which we all know is not McCain’s strong point. Obama nails McCain on saying we could all ‘just muddle through’ Afghanistan, rather than focusing on it, which is what we should have done and McCain is trying to say he was always a fan of.
10:03 Obama kisses up to the moderator. He can use his sex appeal for good, I suppose. What’s threat of Iran to us, you ask? McCain walks a fine line between ‘no actual evidence’ and ‘dying to invade’, and brings up the Jews and the Russians (though not at the same time. As Putin would tell you, there are no Russian Jews. If you are a Jew, you are not Russian, and we will gladly help you emigrate to your non-Russian country).
10:05 McCain says Iran’s economy is lousy, like who are we to judge, buddy? But then awesomely, he says it’s lousy because their government is lousy. I want to see his face after the debate when he realizes what he said.
10:06 Obama says Iran wasn’t as strong as it is now before we invaded Iraq, so it’s our own damn fault. Also, they’ve apparently gone from 0 centrifuges to 4,000 centrifuges. I think the Science Center is a terrorist organization. They have a fucking PCR machine, man! Not to mention brand-new, state-of-the-art dissecting hoods so our delicate noses don’t get assailed by the stench of dead mink.
10:08 McCain stumbles over some long-ass name, Obama corrects him under his breath, as does my father on the couch. Apparently this dude doesn’t like Israel, which is unfortunate but not surprising, given the geographical location. McCain essentially says all diplomacy not in the form of smart bombs is for wimps and completely ineffective, and brings up Kissinger in order to associate himself with someone smart.
10:09 Obama rattles off the difficult name like it was butter, awesomely. Obama also calls McCain on name-checking Kissinger, who actually apparently believes the exact opposite of what McCain said he did. Hehe. McCain is furiously writing notes on his little pad with what looks like a Sharpie, like he just remembered to get cat food on the way home.
10:12 Obama brings up McCain’s hilarious and completely random hatred of the Prime Minister of Spain, to point out how much he hates diplomacy and is kind of an ass. Obama’s laughing because McCain is now saying that merely sitting down across the table from somebody is akin to sleeping with them on the first date and not using a condom. Obama calls McCain on trying to sensationalize and dramatize everything, and my dad makes me laugh by pointing out that Republicans seem to think that not being on our social calendar would really offend other countries. I think they’d be happy.
10:15 McCain gets really defensive about his friend ‘Dr. Kissinger’ who he’s known for 35 years and would NEVER SAY THAT and DO YOU THINK YOU KNOW HIM BETTER THAN ME? Lehrer cuts him off and brings up Russia. Former roommate, I’m looking at you.
10:18 Obama says ‘loose nukes’ and I move to the edge of my seat, waiting for McCain to counter with a response that involves ‘nucular’.McCain is a condescending ass (this whole attitude is something of a racist dog-whistle, yes? He keeps calling him naive and saying he doesn’t understand. I realize that you always try to smear your opponent, but it resonates in an additional way in our racist county, and I’m sure McCain is lapping it up). And no, I’m not really paying attention to this whole Russia-Georgia thing. I can only keep track of so many names and countries and governments at a time, people. It’s not like I’m a Poli Sci or IR major.
10:20 My dad points out that, according to McCain, he is quite the jet-setter (McCain, not my dad). I remind him that McCain is the most absent senator out of the 100, so he very well could be visiting all of these countries. I guess it’s either that or calling his wife a cunt. Your bet.
10:24 We’re in the home stretch now, and I’ve been completely ignoring the talking heads on the TV in favor of reliving old family stories. Dammit, McCain said ‘nuclear’! I’ll give him that, I guess. The two start talking over each other, and I’m reminded of the polyphony seen in early operas that was actually a holdover from sacred music. What do you want? I’m not taking classes on politics, I’m taking an opera class.
10:25 Last question – likelihood of another 9/11? McCain goes first – says we are safer, but not safe. He’s apparently ‘worked across the aisle’. I really hate the way people call it ‘nine-eleven’. I don’t know – that particular abbreviation really irks me. Maybe it’s just because I heard Giuliani speak for two minutes. Okay, McCain is tough on torture. Good on him. It’s his one stance I agree with, and one that I think is uniquely well-informed (now, if he can just manage to stay firm on that).
10:28 Obama says we’ve done a lot w/ airport security but have a long way to go, what with transit and nuclear proliferation and needing to focus more on Al Qaeda, who are apparently now offered in 60 countries. I think that’s more than Pizza Hut. Obama will also restore our standing in the world, because we’re less respected now (and gives props to McCain for his position on torture), and gets in about how he loves America and isn’t actually how the cover of the New Yorker would have you believe.
10:31 McCain talks over Jim, who tries to wrap it up, to get in points about blood and heart and who the hell knows what else? Obama dings him and the Bushies for focusing on Iraq when bin Laden is still farting around a Pakistani cave, distinctly non-dead. Gets in again about health care, science, technology, instead of the defense spending, and how our economic problems are a national security issue.
10:34 Shut up, McCain. You’re being an ass and going over time. I want to go pee, dammit! Obama openly laughs at him. He is pretty cute, actually. I guess I could vote for him (NOT because of that. It’s called the halo effect. Look it up). Oh Obama, I love you now and understand that everything you have said could be tattooed on my ass, but please shut up. You know that when you make sense it pisses Johnny off and he’s going to go off again about spending and American hearts. McCain ends, both of the wives come up and kiss them to show that these are Real Men who are also Family Men. And…out!
So we’re done. The commentators talk to us about Kennedy, because that is clearly the most momentous issue here. I do hope he’s all right, though. My New England heart reaches out. Maybe I’ll go through this later and update some of my ramblings to links and sources, but for now I need to take a bit of a break.
Update: For a slightly different but still mostly entertaining and incisive live blog of the debate, Jezebel delivers.