|||||||||||  Tuesday, Jack-O'Tober 3, 41 A.B.  |||||||||||

"It is better to be silent and let others think you're an idiot
than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

- Mark Twain

So, tonight is the first so-called debate between Messrs. Bush and Gore.

If your name is Jim Lehrer and you're frantically surfing the Web in search of questions to ask these two gentlemen, you've come to the right place!

Here are my personal recommendations:

1)  Mr. Bush, you say you want to give everybody in America a big tax cut.  You say that the federal budget surplus doesn't belong to the government but to "the people" and ought to be given back to them.  In point of fact, until the national debt is paid off, doesn't it really belong to the people and institutions who loaned the government money over the years?  And aren't you a bit like the man who promises his wife and kids a big cash Christmas gift in an attempt to get them to love him even though his credit cards are maxed out and bill collectors are on the phone and at the door?

2)  Mr. Gore, you say you want to boost defense spending.  Although Mr. Bush is the one who has been saying that we've neglected our military and must spend more on it, you, in fact, want to spend even more than he does.  Yet ABC News tells me that the U.S. already is spending 60 times what Russia and China combined are spending in this area.  What the fuck?

3)  Mr. Bush, in the face of recent gasoline price rises and the prospect of a home heating oil shortage this winter, you say we ought to allow oil companies to begin drilling in that part of Alaska many people think ought to be kept forever in a pristine state.  Since experts say it would be at least 5 years before any oil from that drilling might make it to market, do you really think this suggestion is much comfort to consumers today?  And since all the oil in Alaska would only supply America's needs for a very few short years, is it really worth forever trashing a terrain that's been home to many, many species of animals for thousands and thousands of years?

4)  Mr. Gore, at a Town Hall meeting sponsored by ABC News' "Nightline" program in New Hampshire last December, you said "I think the Constitution forbids the teaching of evolution in schools, unless—except in religion class, not in science class."  Could you elaborate on this?  And a follow-up question: Did YOU ever inhale?

5)  Mr. Bush, I've been wracking my brain in an attempt to recall the name of a single son of a famous man who surpassed his father in talent or accomplishment.  One-term President John Quincy Adams, for example, never matched the achievements of his father, President John Adams - which is really saying something when one recalls that his father was a divisive, one-term bust as chief executive himself.  What reason do we have to believe that you'll be any different?  And why, when I look at you, does the name "Frank Sinatra, Jr." keep appearing in neon above your head?

6)  Mr. Gore, capital punishment has been in the news a lot this year.  Illinois' Republican governor, for example, went so far as to halt all executions in his state until officials there can figure out why the hell so many people condemned to death by the Illinois justice system have later been exonerated and released.  Yet you said in an interview that if we're going to have the death penalty in this country, we simply have to just accept the fact that innocent people are going to be put to death and get on with it.  Exactly which Christian faith did you say you belong to again?

7)  Mr. Bush, you're on record as saying that you will appoint to the Supreme Court only those people who will take a "strict constructionist" view of the U.S. Constitution.  Yet isn't it true that the framers of the Constitution often bitterly disagreed amongst themselves as to what that Constitution "really" meant, and in fact didn't they often leave it purposely vague in many places so that it might bend to future needs and conditions no one could foresee?

8)  Mr. Gore, you've run for president before.  Nobody much cared.  Nobody was very impressed.  Now, all of a sudden, we're told you're the best man for the job.  What the hell has changed?  Have you gotten that much better over the last 8 years while holding a job once described as "not worth a pitcher of warm spit" or have our standards simply slipped precipitously, as the popularity of Regis Philbin would seem to suggest?

9)  Mr. Bush, you once said that your favorite political philosopher was Jesus Christ.  We hired a panel of experts to tell us exactly what Jesus Christ's political philosophy may have been.  It turns out that nowhere in all the words ascribed to him does he mention voting, ballots, Congress, democracy, separation of powers, legislature, executive, judiciary, freedom, civil liberties, republic, advice and consent, search warrant, Constitution, Bill of Rights, the rule of law, trial by jury, probable cause, or any of the other elements associated with our American form of government.  In Luke 19:27, however, he does say this:  "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."  Is that what you were thinking of when you made your comment?  And will we still be able to emigrate to Canada after your investiture in January?

10)  Mr. Gore, an Olympic athlete was recently stripped of her gold medal after tests revealed that she had taken a cold medication before her event.  If you are declared the winner of tonight's debate, but subsequent testing reveals you had taken the exact same cold medication before participating in it, would you agree that you ought to be disqualified and Mr. Bush declared the winner instead?  I mean, can we really afford to have looser standards for presidential candidates than we do for athletes?  Why or why not?

I have more questions, Mr. Lehrer - many, many more - but I hope that's enough to get you going.

If you find yourself stumped at any time after you've exhausted these, please feel free to instant message me.

I'll be on Yahoo with the nick "CynicalHeadshaker."






(©Now by Dan Birtcher,
President-Elect of People For A Better Inquisition)