Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Tom Brokaw. Welcome to this B-level Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate, for candidates generally considered, shall we say, less likely to win the nomination. I'm not saying they are unfit - that they are kooks, cranks, idiots or nutty as so many fruitcakes. I'm simply saying that in this man's America, anyone has the potential to become President, and they should have a forum to explain why they are running, and what makes them fit for the highest office in the land. Let's now hear each of our Left Field candidates, so to speak, give a brief statement of their ambition. First, former heavyweight champion Michael "Iron Mike" Tyson. Mr. Tyson?
Thank you, Tom. I'm know I'm not as ruggedly handsome as Joe Lieberman, and I'm not as sharp as Al Sharpton, and I'm not as charismatic as John Kerry, but, gosh darn it, I'm good enough, and smart enough, and people like me! Or I kick their ass.
Thank you, Mike - and may I speak for all of us when I say - please don't hit me. Now let's hear from Former First Lady, the honorable senator from New York, Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton?
Are you offering the ring to me, Frodo? Dost thou do so of thy own free will? Give it to me - hand it over. Don't worry. I shall use it wisely and humanely, and I shall be queen of all Middle, Lower and Upper-Middle Earth. All shall look upon my incredible, eye-popping beauty and DESPAAAAAAIR!! So cough it up. Hey! Come back here! Gimme that ring!
Thank you, Mrs. Clinton. By the way, candidates, you'll find assorted sedatives next to your water-glasses; please use them liberally as needed. And now, renowned television personality and physical culture exponent Anna Nicole Smith. Ms. Smith?
Ooh - I feel so... so big today. What does a President do, anyway? I could do that - whatever it is... There's nothing I wouldn't do to make a friend, or get a vote. Do you really want some dried up hag, or me, ever so lush and ready? Maybe I'll just loll back here and take a nice little catnap. Tom, you look so cute in your blazer. Have you been working out?
Thank you, Anna. Please, candidates, do not use the sedatives for recreation at this time. And now, the Tim Russert Bobble-head Doll. Tim?
Hey, Tom! Tombo! Yeah, you, ya slick weenie Brokaw! I got yer breaking news right here! News flash: my eyebrows possess hypnotic-ray powers! Saddam beware! Stand back! Tom, ya squirrelly tool! Jumping Jack Flack! Fire them ack-ack guns! News flash: I'm smarter than any President except Zachary Taylor! Hey, Tommy! Ya pumped-up wanker!
Thanks, Tim, you're trenchant as always. Maybe a bit too goddamned trenchant. Next in line we have, in response to the plaintive cries of millions of little people, one of them - a little person - a token nobody. Mr. Rockwell, I invite you to speak your piece and then sink back into your well-deserved obscurity.
Hey, thanks for nothing, Brokaw. Listen - America is declining, like the Roman Empire. It can be seen everywhere - for example, plain strawberry Pop-Tarts are being discontinued, all we have left are the decadent Frosted Brown Sugar ones! We must reverse this decline! I call for radical reforms that will strengthen the moral fiber of our youth, and reduce their tendency to rove in gangs! I call for-
Thank you, Mr. Rockwell. That's enough out of you.
Wait! I must speak -
Drag him out. And while you're at it, kick his ass a couple of times. (Applause.) And now, our final panelist, the renowned basketball coach Bobby Knight. Mr. Knight, if your rage is under control at the moment -
What the hell do you mean, you worthless little puke, asking me if I've got my rage under control? Of course I've got it under control, moron! Anger is a coaching tool, nothing more, you pencil-necked geek! I could snap your pencil-neck as easily as I now fling this metal chair through the control-room glass! Et voilá! You press are scumbags, all a ya. When I'm President - whack! No more press. Heads will fall into baskets, the tumbrels will roll. America wins big!!
(At this point a general donnybrook breaks out. Clinton clocks Tyson on the jaw with her purse, and he falls to earth like a harvested redwood; Smith stuffs the babbling Russert doll down her décolletage, where one could faintly hear the muffled curses continuing, if one were so bold as to get that close to the enraged, though still torpid Television Personality; Knight tosses heavy teak furniture in all directions like a gorilla on PCP. Brokaw cannily dons a helmet and ducks behind the podium, where he speaks urgently into his now-dead microphone:)
This is Tom Brokaw reporting from the political front. If anyone from security can hear me, get me out of here! And taking a wider perspective, is this what political discourse has come to in the post-9/11 America of 2003? Have we sunk so low? Apparently we have. What am I, a prize-winning journalist and commentator, doing moderating this grotesquerie? Why, if all of these idiots combined their best qualities in one person, the resulting monster would lose a debate with my left testicle - the dumber one. Yeah - I should be President! Me - Tom Brokaw - signing off. And may God have mercy on our souls.
Copyright 2003 David Warren Rockwell