Do I even need to caption this photo?
By noon today, the question has become whether or not John McCain will show up tonight or not. As of now, he supposedly will. Mmmm, crow. Tasty. I guess it’s time to start concocting drinking games. But if he doesn’t show up, there will be no debate, according to Frank J. Fahrenkopf of the Presidential Debates Commission. I imagine he’ll have to show up, because I think by now he realizes how stupid he looks for having suspended his campaign (because “the economy is exploding!”), and half of America’s disbelief, two days ago. But as we sit here and wonder what will happen tonight, it’s important to note that both sides are going what’s become the usual pre-game strategem in these sitautions: Lower the hell out of everyone’s expectations. The McCain camp is even highlighting Senator Obama’s being a seasoned debater and a world-class orator while the Obama camp is saying that foreign policy (if they go ahead with tonight’s scheduled topic and don’t end up switching to something on everyone’s minds like, oh, I don’t know, the economy?) is McCain’s strong point.
So, in the spirit of how this election is going and the indecision of John McCain (and the great unknown of whether or not we’ll have a bailout by the weekend), I give you the least comprehensive (and fairly one sided) A to Z pre-debate primer that I can. Enjoy!
A is for the Apollo Theater, as in It’s Showtime at the Apollo! I mention this only because I was reminded that Chris Rock intro’d Obama there at a rally. And I was reminded of that by this interview Mr. Rock did with Larry King where he boils this election down to it’s simplest form: Vote for the guy with one house, not the guy that doesn’t know how many houses he owns. Or, maybe not vote for the woman who you feel bad for when they let her talk for longer than four minutes. “It’s like Kim Kardashian on Dancing With The Stars, all that ass and she can’t shake it.”
B is for Plan B on tonight’s debate, should McCain not show up. One suggestion is to have the audience ask questions of moderator Jim Lehrer. Personally, I’d find that fascinating, but I think it wouldn’t go over so well with most of the unwashed masses, probably something to do with the reasons they already don’t watch the NewsHour.
C is for “The Common Man.” You’ve seen McCain called such. Supposedly, a majority of voters think that he and Sarah Palin look like your typical American couple, some kind of outdated idea of “normal.” The only thing normal about McCain is that he graduated near the bottom of his class, crashed five or six planes, and lies and gets angry with the best of them. He’s normal in all the ways we hate about ourselves. Obama has a name that isn’t normal, he sounds like an immigrant, and he worked himself up from nothing and went to Harvard. He’s the first black candidate for President on a major political party’s ticket and was voted in a survey to be the guy Americans would most want to have a beer and watch football together with, yet he’s not considered to be like us, to be “the common man.” Rather than pandering to our current idea of “normal,” or something similar to us, the supposed “common man,” can I suggest to you the new normal? And that’s not McCain, a man of the past who looks like grim death. And appears to have Tyrannosaurus Rex arms.
D is for drilling, as in off shore oil drilling. I mention this because you never know, this may come up somewhere in these debates. And off shore oil drilling may be the only real issue I mention in this entire primer.
E is for Elitism, or the ridiculous idea of it as being a bad thing. I’m going to go ahead and quote Aaron Sorkin’s excellent piece on what the dream-like meeting between Barack Obama and fictional ex-President Josiah Bartlett would look like: “You were raised by a single mother on food stamps. Where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word ‘patriot’ back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie: the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it.”
F is for being a Fiscal Conservative.
F is also for “Fire!” which John McCain just called out in a crowded theater.
G is for the Glass Ceiling, which is in desperate need of being shattered. It would be great to have an African-American or Female President. Even better would be to have a President who just happened to also be African-American or a woman. Or anything that isn’t necessarily an old white man. The sad thing is, I feel like to really run as the candidate who wants to be the first one of these, you do have to be extraordinary. In this counter, it’s a shame, but it seems like you still have to shake people out of their old tired molds. You have to not only be great, but show that you have what it takes for continuous greatness. I think Obama’s showing that. And Sarah Palin, as much as I love to seeing a woman on the Republican ticket, is turning heads, but for none of the right reasons. And now she’s apparently turning them away.
H is for hunger, as in how hungry we all are to have this election over with already. Right? Also, H is for fighting poverty and disease and hunger, which is something Bono is still fighting for. But he needs your help! I mention that because… Well, have you noticed 2008 is starting to smell a hell of a lot like 1987? We’ve already had a Black Monday, a writer’s strike, and now all we need is for a really great U2 album to come out. (Never mind, I guess the 80s writer’s strike was in 1988, but regardless, the 80s are coming back to eat you!)
I is for I. You. Taking responsibility for myself/yourself/one’s self. The Royal We. The occasional mea culpa. And not talking shit about gooks and Chelsea Clinton and telling Spain to fuck off and bulldogs and/or pigs wearing lipstick. You sexist bastard. I also stands for this quote from Senator McCain’s memoir Worth Fighting For in which he said, “I don’t torture myself over decisions. I make them as quickly as I can, quicker than the other fellow, if I can. Often my haste is a mistake, but I love with the consequences without complaint.” It may be asking too much, but I could also stand for intelligence and maybe a plea for a little of it during this election season?
J is for Jamie Lynn Spears. And a comparison of her versus Bristol Palin. And also a little bit of hypocrisy.
K is for Katie Couric, and I think we should all thank Sarah Palin for making Katie look like a serious journalist.
L is for Lesbians. They make everything better. Just ask LiLo, Mark Ronson’s little sister, Ellen, and the former Amanda Lee Rogers. I’m starting to wonder if Sarah Palin might secretly be one considering how bad she wants to fuck women over. (Also, here’s a Sarah Palin name generator. Get your crazy Sarah Palin name! Mine is Khaki Salmon Palin. That’s awesome.)
M is for money. Your’s, specifically. Say hello to it. Tell it how much you love it. And then wave goodbye to it as the wind blows it away. Also, bailout money. As in, “If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,” as President Bush declared on Thursday as he watched the $700 billion bailout plan implode in front of him.
N is for National debates! Like tonight’s. If tonight’s happen. If tonight’s happen in…
O is for Oxford, Mississippi, home of the first scheduled debate, which will be at the University of Mississippi, school still trying to overcome it’s past racist image. I guess we’ll just see. It’s scheduled to be on foreign policy and national security, but I kinda get the feeling people want to talk about something else…
P is for Henry Paulson, Treasury Secretary. I could say a lot about this poor bastard, but… Well, in a way, I just kind of feel bad for him.
Q is for Questions! Questions for tonight’s debate. Presidential questions. And questions Sarah Palin coulnd’t answer. (I just realized that we’re already up to Q here and I haven’t mentioned Joe Biden once yet. Uh… Sorry?)
R is for Rocket Science. “It’s not rocket science,” say Governor Sarah Palin to the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman in October of 1996 about running the town of Wasilla, Alaska. “It’s six million dollars and 53 employees.” R is also for Russia! Don’t forget that Sarah Palin is an expert on Russia since she can see it from her house.
S is for Sexism. While a lot of the criticism of the Governor of Alaska is warranted and just, there is still a tremendous amount of sexism out there on both sides. S is also for McCain suspending his campaign in name only.
T is Ivana Trump. Yeah, that’s right: “We want to see Ivana because we are so desperate in Alaska for any semblance of glamor and culture,” said Governor Sarah Palin to the Anchorage Daily News on April 3, 1996.
U and V are for “Unfair verbiage.” I guess it is unfair to attack a man who says that the fundamentals of our crashing, failing, and plummeting economy are strong. V wold also be for the job of Vice President, which Governor Palin wants. When asked about it on CNBC’s “Kudlow & Company” on July 31, 2008, she said, “But as for all that V.P. talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it, exactly, that the V.P. does every day?” Excellent question, Sarah.
W is for WaMu. Time to start converting your money to euros or maybe looking into a nice, plus Swiss bank account. Or something offshore? “Oh, hello there. Why yes, I would like to buy this bucket of whiskey and all this questionable looking porn with my Grand Cayman Visa.” W is also for W, the new Oliver Stone movie that I think I actually want to see. And how often do you get to say that? But since it’s about a guy who’s been kicking this country into the ground for the last eight years, it seems somewhat relevant.
X is for Xanax. Enough said.
Apparently Jill Greenberg is in just a little bit of trouble because of this photo.
Y is for yellow teeth, which is one of the ads that appeared on the page (such a stretch, I know) for this excellent Entertainment Weekly interview with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I love this quote from the host of the Daily Show: “There’s this idea that people who hunt and have ‘good’ values are somehow this mythological American; I don’t know who ‘this’ person is, I’ve never met them. She is no more typical ‘us’ than I am, than Obama is, than McCain is, than Mr. T is. If there is something quintessentially or authentically American about her, I sort of feel like, you know what? You ‘good values people’ have had this country for eight years, and done an unbelievably shitty job. Let’s find some bad values people and give them a shot, maybe they’ll have a better take on it.”
Z is for the crazy zealots of the world. We thought we were done with them as Bush was heading out… but no. Thanks for bringing back the witch hunters, Sarah Palin.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to tonight. Big time.