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Fun and games at Electoral College

Presidential debates could trigger gag reflex

By Leigh E. Rich

In the Sept. 29 issue of the Chicago Tribune, David Martin of Ottawa (that’s in Canada, for those of you geographically challenged) offered Americans a little something to make the U.S. presidential debates all the more spirited.

And we truly mean spirited. (Not mean-spirited—let’s leave that to the candidates and their unassociated 527s.)

Published the day before the first of three presidential head-to-heads and this week’s veep dual, Martin’s “Official 2004 Debate Drinking Game” has surely created more inebriated debate watchers than even the intra-familial rivalry at your last Fourth of July barbecue.

Martin’s nonpartisan drinking game provides stipulations such as: “Every time President Bush says the word ‘safer,’ take a drink. If he uses the word ‘democracy’ in the same sentence, make it a double.”

Or, “For every John Kerry reference to the U.N., have a drink.”

And so forth in the vein of other drinking game greats such as “Flip the Cup,” “S*M*A*S*H” and “Hi, Bob!”

(For those of you truly looking for creative ways to find liver and brain cells where they are and stop them and kill them before they do harm to you, the regulations of many other drinking games—ranked by type and buzz level—may be found online at The Webtender.)

But, we ask as both presidential candidates continue to court our state to such excess that perhaps Congressman Tancredo ought to secure Colorado’s borders, what does Martin know?

He’s a Canuck, for Uncle Sam’s sake!

And with a caveat that The Colorado Statesman does not condone the imbibing of gratuitous amounts of alcohol—or any fluid for that matter, as you can die from drinking too much water—we print here the official rules for the 2004 Abate the Debate Game for any student currently attending Electoral College.

Feel free to substitute fermented beverages with fruit juice, Tab, grape tomatoes, V8, Hershey’s Kisses, Pringles, humble pie or pride.

We guarantee you’ll feel nauseated by the end of the night.

The 2004 Abate the Debate Game

Drink when President Bush:

• States war is “hard work.” Drink twice if Bush also says that he had to make a “tough decision.”

• Reminds the world how much safer it is without Saddam Hussein. Drink all of your beverage if Bush says, “Tonight, Saddam is in jail.”

• Accuses Kerry of being inconsistent or a flip-flopper. Drink twice if Bush says Kerry voted for the $87 billion in military funding before he voted against it. Drink three times if Bush cites Kerry’s “wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

• Promises to make tax cuts permanent for those making more than $200,000 per year. Swallow hard if Bush adds a nod and wink to anyone associated with a current no-bid contract in Iraq.

• Discusses any type of tax-free savings accounts. Then pour half of your beverage into another cup and place it in the fridge until 2008.

• Pauses longer than five seconds before answering a question.

• Mentions Saddam Hussein, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden or trial lawyers. Drink twice if Bush mistakes Hussein for bin Laden and vice versa.

Drink when Sen. Kerry:

• Accuses Bush of misleading the public.

• Promises to increase tax cuts for the middle class or roll back tax cuts for the wealthy. Pour your beverage down the drain if you make more than $200,000 per year.

• Mentions a general by name. Buy a drink for Kerry if he says he defended America when he was young and will defend America as its president.

• Says the current administration is responsible for Halliburton’s no-bid contract or the failure to enact a patient’s bill of rights.

• Refrains from talking about the Mekong Delta. But drink your entire beverage in one gulp with any reference to purple hearts.

• Says that presidential policy must be shaped by a moral duty owed to America’s future generations. Then pass your beverage to Ralph Nader or David Cobb.

• States that average Americans should receive the same level of health insurance as U.S. senators. Down your entire beverage in simultaneous jubilation and disbelief if Kerry advocates for national health insurance.

Drink when either candidate:

• Uses the phrase “war on terror.” Drink twice if either claims or denies a connection between al-Qaida and Iraq. Hang your head in shame if either uses Sept. 11 as a political platform.

• Invokes an anecdote about how he just visited with John and Jane Doe from Hometown, U.S.A., in the answer to a question. No, don’t take a drink—throw your entire beverage at the television screen.

• Actually talks favorably about the lower classes. Or homosexuals.

• Mentions job outsourcing, tax loopholes, Medicare, the rising number of uninsured Americans, or the amount of jobs lost or created over the last year.

• Accuses the other of sending mixed messages or demeaning America’s troops and allies.

• Claims that he is above the mudslinging.

• Mentions Yale.

• Compliments any member of the other’s family.

• Cites figures estimating the cost of the war in Iraq. Drink 90 percent of your beverage if either claims or denies that America bears 90 percent of the war’s cost or the war’s casualties.

• Cites figures estimating the current deficit. Look longingly at your beverage, but do not drink, if neither explains how continuing to spend money the country doesn’t have is economically possible.

• Says his opponent doesn’t support U.S. troops in the war on terror. Drink 87 billion times if either candidate mentions the October 2003 vote for military funding. 

Rich, L. E. (2004, October 8). Not much more than games at Electoral College. The Colorado Statesman, p. 13.

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