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Translating Bush and Kerry in the Final Debate

“I’d like to welcome President Bush and Senator Kerry to our third and final debate,” said the moderator. “And I shall remind the audience to at all times maintain silence. Anyone audibly displaying emotion will be evicted by force.

“My first question is for Senator Kerry. Sir, do you think our children will ever live in a world as the safe as the one in which we grew up?”

“What safe world was that? The world of the Great Depression, of World War II, of the Korean War and the debacle in Vietnam? Are you referring to the civil rights battles of the Fifties and Sixties as being safe? We have in fact always lived in a wretched and dangerous world, but we can indeed become safer, and the only way to do that is to remove George W. Bush from the White House. This arrogant and intemperate man rushed us into a war we did not need to fight and he did so with inadequate numbers of troops to maintain peace – as his envoy in Iraq, J. Paul Bremer, recently and quite publicly noted. Furthermore, at our nation’s ports the president is permitting ninety-five percent of the containers to enter without being examined. Why isn’t he himself down there peering into those containers?”

“I’m prepared to personally examine as many containers as I can, though I don’t think I should allocate more than five hours of my day to this task. I know damn well I could examine more containers per hour than John Kerry, a guy who’d be too busy lecturing his servants how to polish crystal and silver.

“My opponent doesn’t understand that we can only be strong if we stay on the offensive and hold countries accountable if they harbor terrorists. I have a comprehensive plan, a manly plan. And what does my opponent have: the pitiful idea that terrorism is only a nuisance, like prostitution. This guy, if elected president – which many times a day I fall to my knees and pray he won’t be – could very well get us all killed.”

“President Bush,” said the moderator, “how could we have had such a shortage of flu vaccines? We’re a nation of vast wealth.”

“Some two-bit company in England didn’t produce anywhere near the number of vaccines they’d promised and we’d depended on. I’d liked to have booted some tail.”

“That underscores the president’s lack of vision,” said Kerry. “More than five million vulnerable human beings have lost health care coverage on his watch. We now have forty-five million uninsured, a million of them right here in what would otherwise be your desert paradise of Arizona. I have a plan that would give every man, woman, and child in this nation the same superb health care we enjoy in the United States Senate.”

“A litany of complaints is not a plan,” said the president. “What he’s talking about would cost the nation five trillion dollars. He makes empty promises, standing there like a giraffe from Massachusetts.”

“Senator Kerry,” said the moderator, “how can you achieve your goals if you keep your pledge not to raise taxes on those who make less than two hundred thousand dollars a year?”

“I would restore fiscal discipline. I would tighten belts. I would pull the straps of girdles and corsets. I believe in the pay-as-you-go approach.”

“Isn’t that ridiculous?” said the president. “This liberal voted ninety-eight times to raise taxes. His rhetoric doesn’t match his record. Let’s not forget that Ted Kennedy is the conservative senator from Massachusetts.”

“Our oil-splotched president – that being other people’s oil since he never found any when he was in the business – didn’t do his homework. If he had, he’d know that I’ve voted for tax cuts more than six hundred times.”

“Mr. President,” said the moderator, “what can we do about the divisive issue of gay marriage?”

“The first thing we do is emphasize that most gays are Democrats, probably about ninety-five percent of them. But I do believe respect is important, and my public position is that I respect them. I just don’t like bad lifestyle choices of either a political or sexual nature.”

“For decades I have talked to many gay people – though I’ve never had any of their urges – and I know that being gay is not a choice. Gay people are born that way, and I respect that. I respect Dick Cheney’s daughter, and future Vice President John Edwards and I often profess our admiration for that young lady. She didn’t choose to be gay any more than she chose to be the daughter of Machiavelli.”

“Senator Kerry, you’re a Catholic,” said the moderator. “Your church says it’s wrong to support abortions, yet you support abortions. How do you reconcile that?”

“I am a very religious man. We are all God’s children and He determines everything. I’m proud to again tell the nation that I was a devout alter boy. And no, I was not molested. Those men in robes, despite their powerful inherent urges, would never have tried anything perverse with a future warrior. At any rate, I passionately believe in a woman’s right to make this most personal of decisions. In Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court vowed to stay out of the bedrooms and abortion clinics. It’s clear that this president is trying to appoint justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade.”

“Is that true, Mr. President?”

“I believe in good laws to reduce the number of abortions and promote the culture of life. Adoption, maternity group homes, and abstinence are wonderful alternatives.”

“He didn’t answer the question,” said Kerry.

“I did so. And I challenge Democrats to practice more abstinence.”

“In that case, Mr. President, I challenge you to vow you’ll abstain for the next four years.”

“I’m prepared to make that pledge if you’ll do the same.”

“I so pledge.”

From the audience their respective wives gasped.

“President Bush,” the moderator said, “our social security system is in deep doo doo. What do you think we should do?”

“We should take lots of that money out of the social security system. That means take it out of the government’s hands and invest it in individual accounts. I know a lot of wealthy folks our citizens could hire to make that money grow.”

“That would be a disaster, a two trillion dollar hole,” said Kerry. “Today’s workers pay for today’s retirees. We must not privatize social security or cut benefits. I certainly wouldn’t. It’s elementary. This president’s tax cut for the wealthiest one percent of the population would have saved social security for another seventy years.”

Laughing, the president said, “I don’t know where my opponent gets those numbers, probably from some drug-crazed hippie living on the streets of San Francisco. I’ll tell you another thing we should do: ask the senator’s wife to donate her unearned fortune to the social security system. That would save it for quite a spell. I’m also prepared to order my wife to turn over her personal fortune to social security.”

“That’s mathematically inequitable.”

“But ethically equal.”

“This president’s hostility toward women is further underscored by his denying a decent minimum wage to nine million mothers who are struggling to raise children. If he had simply raised the minimum from about five dollars an hour to seven, each of these poor women would have earned almost four thousand dollars more. But this president instead preferred to give a hundred-thousand-dollar-plus tax break to his millionaire friends. I’m tired of his talk of family values while he creates conditions that make it impossible for millions of families to flourish.”

“I again say to you Democrats, particularly the majority who have loose morals and are undereducated, go back to school. Learn a trade. Learn a profession. It’s time for you ignoramuses to get a real education. Quit producing more children than you can take care of, and start maintaining morality and discipline in your homes. Don’t you have the sense to make your kids behave at school?”

“Senator Kerry, what do you think we can do about the immigration crisis?” said the moderator.

“The borders are leaking more now than before 9/11. We also need to enforce the laws against hiring illegal aliens.”

“It ridiculous for my opponent to deny that we’re much better protected today with me in charge. Remember, I was the governor of a border state, and a real big one. I know all about protecting borders. As president I’ve put a thousand more agents to work, and they’re armed with a lot of neat high-tech equipment. And if necessary, I’ll go down and personally patrol the border. It’s not that far from my ranch. Senator Kerry, even with his wife’s fleet of jets, probably couldn’t make it there from Massachusetts.”

“I could most certainly report for border duty, Mr. President. And far more regularly than you showed up for your National Guard commitments. I know about duty. I’m in fact at this moment ready to wince because of the recurring agony of my war wounds.”

“Senator Kerry, what is your position about reinstituting the draft?”

“I’m not only against the draft, I’m against this president’s back door draft that first recalls reservists then holds them for periods far longer than even my tour of duty in Vietnam.”

“That’s been the only way to protect my dear friends, the Iraqis. Now the best way to take pressure off them is to train them to be great warriors. We’ll soon have a hundred twenty-five thousand of them.”

“I suggest you join them in combat, Mr. President.”

“I will, if you’re by my side.”

“While we’re alluding to firepower, I’d like to ask the president what he thinks about legal assault weapons,” said the moderator.
“The best way to serve America is to prosecute the criminals. Assault weapons don’t kill people. People kill people. And we need to kill the people who’re killing people.”

“I’m a hunter and I’m a gun owner,” said Senator Kerry. “In my lifetime I have doubtless killed far more people and animals than this preppy president. I also used to run one of the largest and toughest district attorneys offices in the country. I know about prosecuting. I’ve put countless people behind bars. I also know about the real world. If the president lived there, he’d know that the police are often outgunned by criminals armed with assault weapons. That’s why most law enforcement agencies wanted a ban on assault weapons. Instead, this president kowtowed to the National Rifle Association.”

“I did not. And I want to emphasize that I’m ready to ensure our police always have the advantage in firepower. I’m willing to arm every officer in this nation with a bazooka and make sure every police department has plenty of tanks. That’s the price we must pay to maintain law and order and to ensure that no American ever has to live without a personal assault weapon.”

The audience erupted, some gasping, others cheering.
“Quiet, or I’ll have this building cleared,” said the moderator. “President Bush, what part does your faith play in your decision making?”

“It plays a real big part. I pray for the troops. I pray for my family and my little girls. I pray for guidance. I can do His work because prayer has given me calmness in the storm.”

“I respect that, and am confident that I pray even more than the president, who was never an altar boy. But I believe that decisions should be based on earthly considerations, and only after open consultation with our allies around the world.”

“What you’re really saying is that you want retreat and defeat in Iraq.”

“I didn’t say or imply that.”

“That’s what your policies would lead to.”

“That’s speculation. What is fact is that your policies have made America countless enemies it didn’t have before you attacked Iraq.”

“Our country had been attacked.”

“Not by Iraq.”

“Terrorists were everywhere.”

“Not in Iraq.”

“You’d be soft on terrorism.”

“Nonsense. I plan to kill every one of them, and more than a few I’d personally eliminate in hand-to-hand combat.”

“For all you know, I’ve already done the same.”

“I doubt it.”

“Gentlemen,” said the moderator, “stop this conversation at once. It’s against the rules.”

“I don’t think my opponent wants the Iraqi people to be free,” said the president.

“I certainly do.”

“Yet you would’ve permitted Saddam Hussein to remain in power.”

“We had him weakened and contained, and United Nations officials were on the ground, verifying what we’ve learned and relearned: Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.”

“Then why did you vote in the Senate to authorize force?”

“You misled me.”

“I was looking at the same intelligence reports you were.”

“Nonsense. You were privy to more misinformation.”

“You think it’s politically beneficial to change positions, so that’s what you’ve done – change positions.”

“Gentlemen, I’m sorry but I’m going to have to shut you both up.”

“You can’t shut me up. I’m not only the president but I’m speaking for God, who every day tells me I’m his instrument of liberation here on earth.”

“That’s not what He tells me,” said the senator.

“God may listen to you, but He doesn’t talk to you. He wouldn’t waste time on a flip-flopper who lacks core convictions.”

“What an outrageous and self-serving statement.”

“That’s the problem with Democrats. You still can’t accept that God is on our side.”

This entry was posted in Campaign 2004, Debates, George W. Bush, John Kerry.