Obama-McCain fourth debate…

The details of the fourth and last debate are shrouded in mystery, but I can reveal that the candidates’ campaigns have been discussing a short-list of dramatic debate formats. Let’s face it: the first three debates were lame. Worse than that, they failed to test the two candidates beyond the prepared scripts. Presidents need to be quick witted, able to handle pressure, knowledgeable, and resourceful. Hence, many novel and fanciful formats have been muted.

Here they are:

The Pub Crawl format
McCain and Obama go on a gigantic bender across Manhattan, starting at Sam and Joe’s Smokin’ Hot Pub on Fourth Street and ending somewhere in Harlem. The rules are simple: the candidates must choose in each pub from a whiskey (American of course), a Budweiser or Miller (not Light!), or a large Cosmopolitan cocktail (the Obama campaign insisted on this). Wine was dismissed as an option early on, because it was considered foppish and elitist and too likely to involve something foreign or French.

The candidates have to debate the issues amid the din and noise of a busy Manhattan bar, chatting to the locals and jostling for seats among the regulars. As the alcohol takes its toll, we’d really get to see them open up and tell it like it is. Finally, to end the night, the candidates would be filmed arriving home at 3am in the morning, roaring drunk and greeted by their wives.

The Survivor format
More like The Edge than a debate (McCain takes the role of Anthony Hopkins, while Obama is Alec Baldwin), this format involves the candidates crash-landing in a remote forest location in New Hampshire and being filmed as they struggle to reach home, while avoiding the young-man vs. old-man humiliations of relying on each other while inevitably clashing over women and status. This takes place over the last weekend in October, but there was some risk than one, or both, candidates would die. Considering this a pleasant potential outcome, the Palin supporters have been strongly urging McCain to take up the challenge. McCain, never one to shirk a return to survival mode, is said to favour this option too. Obama’s team have asked for strategically placed latte machines along the proposed route as a precondition of participating.

The Chess game format
Here, like Max von Sydow in The Seventh Seal, the candidates play a game of symbolic chess against each other. Every move must be accompanied by a mini-play or pageant of the candidate’s choosing on the themes of Evil vs. Good, Greed vs. Selflessness, The Common Man vs. God, Hope and Despair, and The Ages of Man. A select audience of theatre critics, chess masters, and journalists scores the opponents on various factors, such as style, content, drama, acting, and chess ability. While the Obama team feels that he can win the chess game, they’re worried that the black and white pieces would be too racist in symbolism. McCain’s team have been tutoring him in controlling his anger long enough to actually finish a game without thrashing the pieces and board. He also has to understand that he can only make one move at a time…

The Foreign Leaders format
Let’s face it, the last three hosts have been feeble. To juice things up, the organisers will invite five mortal enemies to host the debate… Emboldened by the collapse of the American capitalist system, the premiers of Russia, Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, and Spain (!!) square off against the two candidates. The five premiers would bombard the two with questions, water from water pistols, and rotten fruit and vegetables. The candidates would have to show considerable poise, strength and wit to overcome the constant bickering and attacks from all five veteran foreign leaders.

The Rapping Format
Obama’s team suggested this one: rapping out answers to difficult questions in rhyme and to music. Obama even composed some sample lyrics in anticipation of the debate:

You gotta tax the rich
‘Cos we’re in a stitch.
The banks ain’t legit
Put my budget in deficit.
Finance the war
That’s the score.
Change change change
It’s what we got to arrange…

McCain is a naturally angry rapper, so his team, despite the “coolness deficit”, are considering this option quite seriously.

I might be old
But he’s just cold.
No more tax
But can’t relax.
There’s a war to win
To leave is a sin.
I’m the Maverick
Solid as a brick.

And finally…the Risk format
Risk is the classic game of world domination and strategy. Here, the opponents face off over a large map of the world and try to out wit each other in dominating areas of the map. McCain, playing with the red team, starts with most of Central Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Africa, with Venezula thrown in. Obama starts with most of North America and Europe. The difference in this game is that the US armed forces actually participate, in real time, across the world, invading countries and bombing countries. Armageddon!