Tokyo Damage Report

The TDR guide to election reform.

Ever since that famous televised debate where Nixon got wrecked by the good-looking JFK, television debates have been increasingly sophisticated, scripted, manicured . . . and dull. Things took a dramatic turn for the  worse after the Gary Hart scandal where he full-on dared the press to uncover his affair, and they did. After that, the press could ask anything :  pot, coke, hookers, gay hookers, gay hookers on coke, anything.

In response, the candidates (like Hollywood stars on press junkets) retreated further into pre-scripted , uninformative answers that couldn’t possibly offend anyone. This, in turn, caused the press to scrutinize even more minute details looking for dirt (Al Gore sighed during a debate! Sighed!!!! Katie Couric asked questions about books!  Obama used a teleprompter! Clinton got . . . a $300 haircut!!!!! It was a scandal!). In other words it’s a vicious circle.  How boring are the debates nowadays?

It’s become common for folks watching to play drinking games. You know the kind: “Every time so-and-so says ‘terrorism’, take one shot. Everytime his opponent says ‘family values’, or ‘9/11’ take two shots.

Fuck that noise, man.

The only way I can think of to break the vicious circle is to have the CANDIDATES do shots.

One question, one shot.

At the beginning they’d be like, “The American people are resourceful. We are vigilant and believe in hard work. And I will make sure your voices are heard in Washington!”
Then they’d be more like. . .”Pakistan? How the hell should I know?!?? Not even Pakistanians know how to run it!”
Then they’d be like . . . “You know, you know what, buddy? Fuck Shrek! M’shorry. Shorry, but Jezzuchrizzz, , ,f’in Shrek, you know? Do we reallyneedanuzza friggin’ muppet?”

And by the end. . .what we’ve all been waiting for. . . the big question: Would they fight or make out?

This format would have three benefits:

1)    it would allow us to see who the candidates really are. How long before racist joke #1 appears? If someone is predjudiced that shit will come out. For maximum effect, the candidates’ spin doctors, press secretaries, and speechwriters’ faces could be visible in the corners, as their months of hard-working bullshit goes right down the drain.

2)     Most deals in DC are made over martinis anyway, so it’s only practical to know what kind of drunk one’s candidate is: a sentimental, weepy drunk? A violent drunk? A pedantic motormouth? A spontaneous karaoke-r? A touchy-feely ‘I love you man?’-er? Or the other big two: pervs and  solitary brooders?  Unlike affairs, past pot use, and ‘boxers-vs-briefs’, The “What type of drunk?” issue is something we DO deserve to know, because it DOES effect their performance.  But the DC press corps doesn’t touch the booze issue (maybe because they ply  their ‘unnamed sources’ with whiskey sours?) Anyway, nobody wants to wake up and we’re at war with Canada because the new President was a violent drunk and not a table-standing karaoke-singer as we’d assumed. So we need to know!

3) see how bad the candidates want the job.

Some would say that this would discriminate against women (less body weight on average) or mormons (who don’t drink) or people who typically drink very moderately (since they have normal sized livers instead of huge diseased ones).  OK, let’s go through these point-by-point:  as for body weight, dilute the booze accordingly. As for mormons, fuck ‘em. As for moderate drinkers, ditto. Like the honest and the modest, they have no business in Washington.

 Just as important is the follow-up conference the next day:  the shameful apologies, the outright denials of things confessed, the bleary eyes. This is not just reality-TV-style humiliation-for-the-sake-of-humiliation: there’s practical reasons for the follow-up conference. We the people need to see how well the candidates respond to hangovers.   No one wants to have a terrible law passed, or a missle launched, simply because the President had a terrible hangover and was in a murderous mood.


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  1. Oya September 8th, 2010 1:53 pm

    If you think politicians on TV, especially debates, are dull; you should take a look at the guys we got here in Italy. They are so entertaining we have a show which is just basically a montage of what they said/did on television, which airs everyday, and it is hilarious as fuck. And no words are needed. The president making "non pc" jokes about women has happened so many times people don't even care anymore. My favourite tho would be the party (in)famous for their racism and their crazy-ass antics. Everyone here is mad, and they're on tv, like, all day long. When they tried to run drug-tests on the senators, many refused. I remember seeing some guys with Champagne and mortadella hold a party…IN THE FUCKING PARLIAMENT
    So, yeah, our politicians are pretty rad. They still suck, but at least they're rad. (I almost forgot about our president making a joke on tv about obama being a nigger. awesome.)

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