Scenes from a Debate Drinking Game

It wasn’t supposed to be that bad. I mean, I knew there were risks involved, but I had no idea just how bad it could be. Worse, I got my hopes up, thinking I might get off easy. No such luck.

Let me explain.

A national pastime since George W. Bush’s 3rd State of the Union address, the political drinking game has expended to include presidential and vice presidential debates. While rules vary slightly from host to host, the general premise is simple: when a candidate says or does something from a predetermined list, you drink. Popular Bush SOTU drink lines have included “9/11,” “terror/terrorism,” “nuclear” (pronounced incorrectly), “Islam/fascism/Islamofascism” and “Katrina” (designated drivers only).

For Thursday night’s Vice Presidential debate between Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden, in addition to the “all drink” keywords like “maverick,” “Bush” and “change,” my friends and I assigned each person their own wild card. My wife, for example, got “Main Street” – potentially dangerous, but only got mentioned 4 times.” I got “excessive folksiness.” I should’ve bailed then. Foolishly, I thought that a week or so of painfully embarrassing interview segments would keep the Thrilla from Wasilla subdued, less cartoonish. I knew she was a seasoned debater, and given her background as a sports reporter and beauty contestant, I knew her poise wasn’t going to be an issue. We’ve seen her capably deliver scripted lines at the convention in St. Paul. While expectations were set so low that she only had to avoid accidentally setting herself on fire to be considered a success, I assumed Palin would use the debate to add some gravitas to her persona.

I was wrong.

“’Can I call you Joe?’ Ehhh…borderline, but I’ll drink.”

“….Did she just wink at me? Seriously? WTF?”

“’Darn right…’”

“Joe six-pack and hockey moms in the same sentence….jeez.”

“Oh. c’mon! Now Joe’s talking about Scranton….Damn you, Biden”

“’Drill, baby, drill’…..ughhh”

“OHMIGAWD…She just winked again!….No, I am NOT being too loud!”

“Little bit of reality from Wasilla Main Street there’….C’mon, honey, we’re both drinkin on that one! Woo! Git out the way, guvmint!”

“Oh god….Joe’s in Katie’s restaurant again.”

“A shout-out? Who gives a shout-out in a vice presidential debate?!?!?…….Just @#$%^&! shoot me.”

“’Say it ain’t so, Joe?’….’Doggone?’…‘You betcha?’ What, she’s channeling Frances McDormand in Fargo now? That’s it! Honey, I’ma gonna go bed now, m’kay?…..Stupid……

And if you’re gonna quote Reagan, know what yer talking about, ya’…big…pander…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

God, I hate politics.

– Michael Turner