Senators McCain and Obama came to Blue Grass this week for a fourth debate, because they recognized that my vote might decide the 2008 election.
We sat at my kitchen table. They came dressed for farm work, both in new bib overalls and ironed flannel shirts.
Me: Senator Obama, say some good things about Senator McCain.
Obama: Well, let’s be clear. For a man his age and considering the dreadful things he’s been through over many decades, like skin cancer and five years of torture, yes, for a man his age, I think he’s doing okay. I hope I’m as chipper at 72.
Me: Senator McCain, same question about Senator Obama.
McCain: That one gives a great speech, which he learned how to do at those Ivy League schools that Bill Ayers and other terrorists might have attended while they were making bombs. I dropped bombs on Hanoi, but I sure didn’t make them in my college dormitory room. Senator Obama has yet to deny that he associated with all the terrorists, socialists and Woodstockists that he could have associated with back then. America doesn’t know the real Barack Obama, and neither do I.
Obama: Well, several things. First, I was eight years old when Bill Ayers was doing acts that both Senator McCain and I deplore.
McCain: Don’t you dare associate with me after associating with that other one! My friends, that is radical, left-wing McCarthyism. And so, Senator: What exactly were YOU doing in 1968 when your pals in the Weather Underground were cherry-bombing Congressional toilets? You used to call yourself, “Barry.” Was that your underground handle? Weren’t you in the Manson family? Did you or did you not help kidnap Patty Hearst? There are a lot of questions that Senator Obama has yet to answer about what he’s not done. Did you smoke heroin at Woodstock? Did you help sink the Maine? Just how many whites did your father kill when he was a Mau-Mau in Kenya? And wasn’t your mother a liberal? Did you fire on Texas-Americans at the Alamo? Why did you marry a woman who is too tall to be in the American mainstream? If you’re so good, why can’t you dunk?
Obama: I confess to everything.
McCain: Not fair. You can’t make these questions disappear by being agreeable.
Me: Fellas, let’s talk taxes.
Obama: I’ll tax the rich, and cut taxes for everyone else.
McCain: Tax-terrorist! This is class war on my wife. My friends, I promise not to tax anybody’s income, anything, anymore.
Me: How will you raise money for the military, the $700 billion bailout, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
McCain: I have a three-point plan. First, I’ll secure the borders by charging a $100,000 tax-deductible entrance fee for every legal immigrant, and $200,000 on every illegal one who we don’t catch. Second, I’ll put a sales tax on 1960s memorabilia, especially those posters that made me dizzy. Finally, I’ll send out Marine recruiters to sign up volunteer taxpayers.
Obama: I’m speechless.
McCain: That’s a first. I will stop federal spending. No more pork, no more chicken in every pot, no more earmarks for Alaska. The way we get to a good society is to stop spending on it. You don’t improve education by throwing federal tax dollars at teachers and schools.
Obama: Taxpayers paid for your college education. They pay for your health care, for your retirement, for much of your financial security.
McCain: So what’s your point?
Obama: Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
McCain: I’m for all babies. I’m for Joe the Baby. I’m also for bathing.
Obama: I prefer showers.
McCain: Elitist snob! I’ll make the federal budget so thin, that it’ll be skinnier than…my wife.
Obama: My wife is skinnier than yours. Look at her legs.
McCain: My wife’s the skinniest. Look at her bogus.
Obama: My wife’s smarter.
McCain: My wife has capital gains.
Obama: My wife’s meaner.
McCain: You don’t have a clue. Anyway, my wife is…blond. I win.
Obama: My wife isn’t. I win.
(They stopped. No one said anything for a while. They looked at each other, maybe for the first time.)
McCain: You know, we can do better than this.
Obama: You’re right, John. We can.
McCain: So why don’t we?
Obama: We both promise change, and yet we’re both afraid to.
McCain: It’s so easy to pin tales on a donkey, so to speak.
Obama: And we always know what elephants leave behind.
McCain: We insult the voters
Obama: …and they cheer us.
McCain: Promises we can’t keep.
Obama: Promises we shouldn’t keep.
McCain: Still, every once in a while we elect someone who is up to the job.
Obama: Who doesn’t disgrace it.
McCain: Who changes the way the country goes and does
Obama: …for the better.
McCain: However this election turns out…
Obama: …let’s find some common ground.
McCain: …and move in a different direction.
Me: Gentlemen. To the fields! We have work to do.
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