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The Undecided Voter's Guide to the Presidential Debates

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posted on Sep, 30 2004 @ 03:38 PM
It's campaign season, and many citizens of America wonder how they can get more involved in our great country's democratic process. Eligible voters and African Americans who don't live in Florida all can make a difference in the way America works.

Little Jimmy: "Uncle Sam, how can I make this country a better place for me and my stuffed animal collection?"

Uncle Sam: "Well, little Jimmy, how old are you?"

LJ: "Forty Seven"

US: "Well then, Jimmy, you could run for president and make things better from the top!"

LJ: "I don't think I want that job."

US: "Ok, Jimmy. The best way to make a change is to vote."

LJ: "But who do I vote for?"

US: "That's the beauty of this country, Jimmy. You can vote for whomever you want!"

LJ: "Great! I'm gonna vote for Martin Sheen!"

US: (chuckles) "Well, Jimmy, it's actually very important that you inform yourself before you cast your vote. Get some information on each of the candidates and vote for the person who you think will do the best job of running the country. It's that easy."

LJ: "How do I do that? I can't read!"

US: (pauses) "Um. I guess you need to watch the debates. They're like the playoffs of the presidential campaign! It's fun."

LJ: (stupefied silence)

US: "Ok, Jimmy. Here's a helpful and simple guide to watching tonight's debates between the two major party candidates for president. Have your mom read it to you."

1. Find a comfortable place to sit. Make sure you have adequate snacks and beverages to munch on. Grab a pad of paper and a pencil.

2. Write John Kerry on the left of the paper and George W. Bush on the right. Draw a line between them. It's ok to make doodles out of the candidate's names, they probably won't see it.

3. Do not watch any pre-debate coverage. Set your television to a channel it's on, then turn it off until exactly 9 eastern time.

4. Trust Jim Lehrer. He may not ask the difficult questions, but he's smarter than you are. As a general rule, you should hate any candidate who talks to him in a nasty way.

5. When the debates start, give John Kerry 10 points as he walks onto the stage. Give George W. Bush 25 just for showing up in the first place, even if he leaves early.

6. Listen carefully to the opening statements of each candidate. Take off points for grammar mistakes or made-up words. Give points to either candidate for each time he mentions Osama Bin Laden.

7. As the debate proceeds, do not expect a contentious atmosphere, as that is evidently against the rules. Two points should be deducted for any name calling. Examples of derogatory names are: Liberal, flip-flopper, idiot, Nazi, child molester, etc. (note: saying someone lied is not name calling, it is a claim, see #8)

8. Claims will be made on both sides. False claims are cause for the deduction of two points. Claims that are true should be given one point, two if the claim receives applause, three if you find yourself applauding by mistake. False claims include:

- We invaded Iraq to liberate the people from Saddam Hussein
- Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda
- John Kerry voted for and against the same bill for Iraq appropriations
- America is winning the war on terror
- The economy is improving

Claims that are true:

- John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam
- George Bush is very good friends with Enron CEO Kenneth Lay
- John Kerry will raise taxes on the rich
- George Bush sat in a classroom and did nothing for 7 full minutes as America was attacked the morning of 9/11
- John Kerry has a weird looking white-guy's tan

9. Opinions are not the same as claims. Saying that "Iraq is in good shape" may seem like a false claim, but is technically an opinion since "good" is a rather flexible term. Any opinion, such as "The economy is on a roll" or "I like this tie I'm wearing" is worth one point to the side you agree with. For example, if George W. Bush says "My tax cuts are making America stronger" and you think that's bullsh*t because you're using your B.F.A. to flip burgers, John Kerry gets a point. Likewise, if John Kerry says "I'm not a traitor" and you disagree, the point goes to Bush.

10. Any jokes made about John Kerry's tan by the either candidate is a mandatory 5 point deduction for whoever makes the joke. This is a presidential campaign, for fook's sake.

11. Listen carefully to the questions of the moderator. He will ask questions and the candidates should answer them. Non answers should cost either candidate a point. For example, if Lehrer asks Bush "Why wouldn't you testify to the 9/11 commission under oath?" and Bush answers with "We must remain vigilant in the face of terror..." (pronounced "tear") dock him a point.

12. In general, give bonus points for flourishes, like snaps or witty references to policy failures that garner laughter or applause. If either candidate is heckled, watch their response carefully and give points for a good recovery. Eat snacks if the candidates say things you don't understand.

13. Give both candidates five points if they actually talk about education during the debate.

14. Every time George Bush says "Weapons of Mass Destruction" give him one point. Deduct a point for each time he says "liberate"

15. Each time John Kerry mentions his Purple Hearts, deduct a point. Every time he says "Osama Bin Laden" give him a point.

16. Nobody deserves any points at all when talking about 9/11. No matter what they say.

17. When the debate is over, turn off your television, put down your food and the remote and tally up your points.

18. Now, crumple up your paper, throw it away, and go learn to think for yourself. You have more than a month to educate yourself.

Aren't politics exciting?


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