Opinion » Bill Cope

Mr. Cope's Cave: I Ain't No Debate Moderator, Buuuut...

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Junior! You're alive!

Well of course I'm alive, Mr. Cope. I only had a cold.

A cold, huh? And it didn't have anything to do with the Cubs?

The Cubs? Heavens no! Why on Earth would I care what happens to the Cubs? I don't even like baseball. In fact, I hate baseball! It's just a big letdown. A big letdown, that's all baseball is. You go years and years, wishing something would happen, and you get all excited when it looks like it could happen. And then you start to think about how great it would be if it really did happen... finally... after years and years of it not happening. And... and... then, it doesn't happen. So no, me staying home sick didn't have anything to do with the darn old Cubs. I had a cold, that's all. A cold!

OK. It just seemed like...

Never mind that! Could we just move on, Mr. Cope? And could we not talk about... about you-know-who? Ever again?

Sure thing. Whatever you want, Gilligan... whatever you want. Soooo then... what do you want?

Um, I was wondering if you saw the debate Wednesday.

Nope. Bowling night. I thought maybe the lanes might show it on their big overhead teevees, but they went with the World Series instead. Probably a smart move for a bowling alley.

But you heard about it, I'm sure.

Sure did. Mostly about how they are all bitching about the moderators and liberal bias and gotcha questions, blah blah blah.

But don't you think the moderators were asking gotcha questions?

Look, Dobie. I don't happen to think there's anything wrong with gotcha' questions. Especially the kind that bring out the man from behind the mask. I say it's a hell of a lot better to find out what kind of whiny little punk a guy is in the pre-election debates than wait 'til it comes out after he's been elected president.

But shouldn't the debates be about policy and issues and stuff like that?

Policy schmolicy! The difference between one Republican candidate and another isn't going to amount to a pinch of pepper. But think about this... if it weren't for Katie Couric's gotcha questions to Sarah Palin, we wouldn't have found out what a vacuous sack of dust bunnies Palin really is until maybe too late. And would it matter what she said about this issue or that policy, when such a defective specimen was a heartbeat away from the presidency? No, we didn't need to know what some team of advisers schooled her to say. We needed to know what a low-volume thinker she was, and it worked. Thank you, Katie Couric.

But...

And another thing... whenever these bastards start bitching about gotcha questions from the big, bad liberal media, you can bet it's because they either can't answer the question since they're too stupid to keep up, or they don't want voters to know what's really going on in their heads. If you ask me, the media isn't asking tough enough gotcha questions. With a really, really good gotcha question, we should be able to imagine the moderator thinking "Gotcha!... you sanctimonious, phony-ass, self-aggrandizing, black-hearted prick!"

Wow, Mr. Cope. That would make for one contentious debate. It would be like open warfare between the politicians and the press.

And what would be wrong with that? Every election cycle, we hear the same griping crud from the Republicans about how the "lame-stream media" is picking on them. I say it's past time the lame-stream media stuck up for itself and slapped back. That's what journalists are for, isn't it?... to go wherever events take them and report what they see? And if they happen to see that repugnant creeps are running for the highest office in the land, I'd say it's their duty to expose in exactly which ways the creeps are so repugnant.

Tell me, Mr. Cope... if you were a moderator at one of these debates, what kind of questions would you ask?

Ew! Good question. Let's see... I think I might start by asking one of the low-tier guys... maybe John Kasich or Lindsey Graham... which one he considered the biggest douche: Trump, Carson or Cruz. See, not only would it give us an insider's educated opinion on who the top douche might be, but it would also show us whether the questionee had the balls to be honest with the douches all standing there beside him. Then maybe I'd ask Fiorina whether she could, in her heart, imagine Jeb or Rubio acting like grownup men during some kind of national crisis, instead of behaving like hysterical high-school hall monitors during a fire drill. Oh, and I think I would ask Ben Carson if he made the book deal before or after he decided to run for president. I'd ask Bobby Jindal if even he can picture a world leader when he looks into a mirror. I'd ask Trump if he ever gets sick of listening to what falls out of his own mouth and I'd ask Jeb if he ever worries about it coming out that it was the shady shit he pulled in Florida that got his moron brother into the White House. And let's see... I'd ask Ted Cruz if he's ever dressed up as a Gestapo agent for Halloween and I'd ask Christie if he thought he could give up deep-fried food if a nuclear war broke out, and I'd ask...

OK, OK. I think I get it, Mr. Cope. You'd be as insulting as you could be.

You bet, Opie. We've seen all we need to see of how these horses' asses act when they're being oohed and aawed over by crowds of adoring rubes, hicks and hayseeds in Iowa or New Hampshire. We don't need to see any more sales pitches for promises they have no intention of keeping. What the American people need to see is how they act when their fibs and exaggerations are exposed. When their failings are hung out in the bright light. When their pasts come back to haunt them. When they're backed into a corner. Challenged. Attacked. When they are scared. Or caught. Or just plain pissed off.

You mean, when they're acting like regular people would under the same circumstances.

Exactly! We need to start remembering there's nothing special or remarkable about these candidates other than their gargantuan ambitions. And it's those ambitions we need to examine most closely, don't you think?

You could simply ask them why they want to be president, couldn't you?

Li'l buddy, that'd be like asking them why they still love their wives. You could guess the answers before you asked the question. I think a better question would be why do their wives still love them.

Uh, I'm not sure I get it. I'll have to think about that.

Yeah. And so would they. And isn't that all a gotcha question is?... one you have to think carefully about before you answer? And if you don't answer honestly, it could come back and bite you on the butt?

Hummm. I have to admit, Mr. Cope, I'm pretty confused right now. I have no idea how to answer that question.

Ha! Don't worry about it, Junior. Hey, it's not like you're running for president or something.