Presidential debate #3: a useful summary

Bob Scheiffer: Hello, and welcome to the third and final presidential debate, which, at the request of Fox News and the Republican National Party, will include absolutely no fact-checking until after Election Day.  Since tonight’s debate is further about foreign policy (which no American cares about) and is also being broadcast opposite Game 7 of the National League Championship game (which every American does), it’s clear that no one will be watching tonight, and so this is pretty much an exercise in pointless political bloviation.  For our first issue, let’s talk about Libya again.  What happened? Was it an intelligence failure? A policy failure?  An attempt to deceive? Events of an parallel universe spilling over into our own?  What?

Mitt Romney: The Mid-East is changing in some disturbing ways.  However, rather than have my previous “Obama is a liar liar pants on fire” stance fact-checked again on live TV, today I’m going to agree with what the President has done.  Bully for you, sir!  Congratulations on that dead bin Laden fellow.

Barack Obama: You’re welcome.

MR: Rats, that came out wrong.  What we need now, I mean, is a much more robust foreign policy.  We can’t kill our way out of this mess.  My strategy’s pretty straightforward: go after the bad guys, kill them, and take them out of the picture.  You know, because al Qaeda is bad.

BO: It’s nice to hear that you finally think al Qaeda’s the bad guy instead of Russia, you know, after 20 years or so.  ‘Cause the 80s is calling, and it wants its foreign policy back.

Home audience: Mr. President, the 90s are calling, and it wants that joke to be retired.

MR: What did we say about fact-checking?  And besides, I said that Russia is our greatest geopolitical foe, but in that same paragraph I also said our greatest threat is a nuclear-armed Iran.  Well, not paragraph exactly… more like as an afterthought response to cover my ass when Wolf Blitzer practically burst out laughing at me.  That’s another newscaster I should look into firing. In any event, I’ve got “clear eyes” and a “full heart” when it comes to dealing with Russia, so I “can’t lose.”  Suck on that, Peter Berg.  (Also, folks at home can by a plagarized bracelet at our website!)

BS: On to the war in Syria.  Mr. President, it’s been a year since you told Assad to go, and in the meantime he’s been killing his people.  What gives?

BO: Look, we’ve organized all our allies to put sanctions against Syria.  We’ve provided humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees.  We’re mobilizing opposition forces inside Syria.  But sooner or later, Syrians will have to act for themselves.

MR:  Syria is important.  It’s Iran’s only ally, and it’s their route to the sea.  You know, outside of the fact that Iran itself has more than 1000 miles of coastline… and it doesn’t share a border with Syria…  er…  damn you, Google Maps.  Look, what the President did lacked international leadership. What I would do would tell Assad to go.  I’d organize our allies to put out sanctions against Syria.  I’d send humanitarian aid to its refugees.  I’d mobilize opposition forces inside Syria.

BS: Er… would you do anything different from the current administration, like enforcing a no-fly zone?

MR: Well… if… and… [ sigh ]… No.

BO: Boo-yah.

BS: What about Egypt, Mr. President?  You eventually said it was time for Mubarak to go too.  Some in your party said you should have waited a bit longer.  Do you regret it?

BO: No.  The Egyptian people were demonstrating for democracy, for a transparent and non-corrupt government.  We have to stand with them and ensure that the Egyptian government comes in line with the greater world community.

BS: How about you, Gov. Romney?  By pointing out a rift between the president and his party, I’ve given you a chance to call Mr. Obama’s diplomatic skills into question.  Would you have done something different?

MR: Well… if… and… [ sigh ]… No.  But I wouldn’t have doubled our deficit!  Budget cuts!  Death panels!  OBAMACARE!

BS: You know this is debate about foreign policy, not domestic policy, right.

MR: Yeah, but the foreign policy team I’ve hired is precisely the team that worked for George W. Bush, but since I’ve done everything in my power to distance myself from him, I can’t mention them.  Deficits and Obamacare and my patented, copyrighted, surefire Plan for AmericaTM is all I got.

BS: Fine. Why don’t you shoehorn that into my next question: what is America’s role in the world?

MR: America has a responsibility to defend freedom and promote the principles that make the world peaceful, such as human rights, human dignity, tax cuts for millionaires, free enterprise, freedom of expression, tax cuts for billionaires, elections, unicorns,  rainbows, and tax cuts for trillionaires.  So we want to promote the principles of peace, which is why we need a really big ass military, cause nothing says Peace, love, and kumbuya more than the threat of gunships and missiles.  Also, Obama sucks because unemployment still exists.

BO: Look, the US is the world’s one indispensable nation.  Fortunately, we’ve got lots of allies, and our bonds have never been stronger.  So let’s let, you know, the world help take care of the world, and let’s let America focus on, you know, America.  Let’s focus on new manufacturing jobs and less oil imports.  Also, Romney sucks because tax breaks for billionaires.

MR: Have you even looked at the policies my Plan for AmericaTM details? Step 1: Cut taxes.  Step 2: ????  Step 3: Profit.

BO: If your plan worked so well, why is Massachusetts ranked 48th in the nation in terms of small business development?  Look, to plan for the future, we need to invest in education, but you want to slash spending for education to pay for tax cuts to bazillionaires.

MR: Hey, look, in Massachusetts we had a bipartisan effort to promote education principles and as a result our fourth and eighth grades are #1 in the nation.

BO: That happened 10 years before you took office.

MR: Well, yeah, but I didn’t screw it up when I got the job!  Therefore, my Plan for AmericaTM works retroactively. QED.  Thus, if Americans vote for me in November, then they’ll retroactively be rich right now!

BS: Gov. Romney, you’ve said you want to boost the size of the Navy.  How can you do that without driving us further into debt?

MR: Easy. Kill Obamacare, PBS, and voucherize Medicare.  I can run the US better than the federal government.  How’s that for reducing the size of government, baby: just me!

BO: Your numbers still don’t add up.

MR: Quiet you, of course they add up.  But even if they didn’t, and there’s absolutely no chance that they couldn’t, we still need a bigger Navy.  It’s smaller now than at any time since 1916.

BO: True.  We have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s what are our capabilities? *

* Actual– and utterly awesome — zinger.

BS: Would you say that an attack on Isreal is an attack on the US?

BO: Well, Israel is our friend, and if they got attacked, we’d certainly stand by them… you know, hopefully enough to either side so that we didn’t get hit by the Hezbollah shells.  And look, if the real question here is about Iran, there not gonna get a nuke, alright.  Everyone just needs to chill the fuck out about that.

MR: Israel isn’t just our friend in the region… it’s our BFF there, okay.  In fact, I’ve had this little locket made here — see, it’s a little heart that can be broken in two, with the words “Best” on one side and “friend” on the other — and I’m going to give one of them, probably “friend,” to Shimon Peres while I have keep the othe—

BS: And about Iran?

MR:  We need to do something to stop them.  They’re four years closer to a nuclear weapon.  They’ve got more centrifuges now, and they’re spinning them faster!  That’s why we’ve got to have sanctions against them.  That’s why we need international pressure brought to bear against them.  You know, exactly like what the current administration… is… doing… right… oh poo.  But… oh!my administration would have Ahmadinejad indicted under the Genocide Convention.  See, Israel… we’re BFFs!

BS: There’s newspaper reports that the US and Iran might be meeting to hammer our some kind of nuclear agreement.  What deal would you accept?

BO: First off, ain’t no such thing.  I get classified stuff all the time, I oughtta know.  Second, the only deal we’d except is “End the nuclear program.  Period.”

MR: That’s pretty tough talk from a guy who started his administration with an Apology Tour.  The current administration projects weakness to the world.  Granted, I’d do exactly the same thing as them — sanctions — but by God I’d make them sanctionier.

BO: All right, I’m tried of this: that Apology Tour shit has been debunked and disproved and thrown out by everyone who’s looked into it.

MR: You went to the Middle East and talked to the leaders of countries the previous administration had made into enemies, and you didn’t even try to assassinate one of the them.  That’s an apology tour by any definition other than, you know, the actual one.

BO: Oh, you mean the trip during which I never said “I apologize” or “I’m sorry” on?  The trip when I said if America has been arrogant, its because Europe has chosen to use it as a scapegoat for its own problems.  The trip I earned the Nobel Peace Prize for?  That one, bitch?

BS: On to Afghanistan. Are we going to be out by 2014?

MR: Oh, of course.  Pay no attention to my running mate may or may not have said during the Vice Presidential debate.

BO: Oh, of course.  Just listen to what my running mat did say during the Vice President debate.

BS: What about Pakistan?  It’s still a safe haven for terrorists.  Should we end our relationship with them?

MR: Well… they’re a ally… well, not really an ally… they have nukes… and a government… well, maybe not… and the Taliban… or al Qaeda… and strained…  so, in conclusion… what was the question?

BS: What about the rise of China?

BO: We’ve stepped up and filed a number of trade violation suits against China, and we’ve won almost all of them.  Also, Romney sucks because outsourcing to China!

MR:  Oh yeah?  Obama sucks because we owe China $16 billion in IOUs.  But seriously, the Chinese are like us: they want peace and sunshine and butterflies and rainbows and puppies… maybe not puppies… do they dogs in China?  We should make friends with them and broaden trade between us.  That’s why on Day One I will declare them MONEY LIARS and ask the world to shun them.

BS: Dufuq?

MR: Look, they’re not gonna start a trade war with us?  I already shipped ’em all our best jobs.  Don’t sweat it.

BO: Straight from the horse’s mouth.  Don’t forget about wanting to bankrupt US automakers, too.

MR: Dammit, man, will you let that go?  Did you even read the op-ed I wrote?  I didn’t say “liquidate Detroit.”  That’s just silly.

BO: But you did say not to provide government assistance: “But don’t ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass — they bet on management and they lost.”  That’s kinda the point we’ve been making.

MR: I think we all agreed that fact-checking is in violation of the rules of debate.  And while we’re on that subject, I love teachers and education and research and kitties.

Joe Biden (in the audience): Malarkey!

BS: Quiet, you.  It’s time for closing statements.

BO: The America I inherited was a lemon, banged up by the policies of past Republicans.  Mitt Romney wants to repeat them all over again.  I’ve got a different vision of America: incremental improvement.  Change, in the “Delta x” sense of the word.

MR:  The America I’m inheriting is a lemon, banged up by the policies of Obama.  Barack Obama wants to repeat them all over again.  I’ve got a different vision of America: one in which 47% of its inhabitants just shut the fuck up and accept the benevolence of their 1% betters.

BS: Now, I’d like to leave you with the words of my mother. “Go vote, you lilly-livered pansy-ass.”


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