Live From Academic Auditorium

Feature written by James Baughn on Tuesday, September 26, 2000

from the the-wide-wide-world-of-sports dept.

Dumbbell: Liiiiiiiivvvvveeee from Academic Auditorium, it's the first Missouri Gubernatorial debate. I'm Bryant Dumbbell...

Spladden: and I'm John Spladden. For the next hour we'll be bringing you the play-by-play debate action between Republican Jim Talent and Democrat Bob Holden.

Dumbbell: This debate is sponsored by "Dial-A-Dossier" -- We Can Find Skeletons In Any Closet(tm). And by "eLobby.com", your online source for buying and selling political favors.

Spladden: This is shaping up to be one hell of a match. The victor in this contest will be on his way to claiming Missouri's highest office... while the loser will probably become a perennial candidate.

Dumbbell: And here they are now...

Spladden: Ooh, did you see that handshake? That didn't seem very sincere.

Dumbbell: No, it didn't. Well, while the college president gives his boring welcome message, let's go to commercial. We'll be back with the play-by-play in 60 seconds.

Announcer: Do you need dirt on your opponent right this minute? We at Dial-A-Dossier can help. Our staff of researches, librarians, journalists, trash-pilferers, and spies can track down any speck of dirt on your competition within hours. At Dial-A-Dossier, if we don't uncover a scandal within three hours, you get your money back. Guaranteed. Don't delay, sling mud today!

Spladden: And we're back. The candidates have taken their podiums. And now the moderator will open the debate.

Moderator: On your left is Bob "The Treasurer" Holden, Democratic nominee for Governor. And on your right, Jim "The Geek" Talent, the Republican contender... Gentlemen, are you ready? Then let's get ready to RRRRRRRRRUUMMBBLLEE!!!!!

Moderator: Jim Talent, since you were the winner in the fence-sitting competition, you get to present your opening remarks first.

Talent: Before I begin, I would like to take the time to thank...

Dumbbell: Aw, geez, here they go thanking everybody. This isn't the Academy Awards!

Spladden: Now calm down, Bryant. I'm sure the mud-slinging will begin shortly.

Talent: ...Now let's look at my opponent. He's part of the failed establishment in this state responsible for the horrendous road network, skyrocketing drug use, and failing public schools.

Dumbbell: Alright, we're seeing some action now.

Spladden: Naw, this is the usual let's-blame-the-opponent-for- everything-that's-possibly- wrong-with-this-state strategy.

Talent: ...With my proposals, we can be better than we are. Thank you.

Dumbbell: That was a strong first impression. Let's see how Holden does.

Holden: I too would like to thank...

Dumbbell: Not again! Get on with the good stuff!

Holden: ...We need to keep our fiscal house in order. Unlike those idiots in Washington, Missouri actually has a balanced budget and a triple-A bond rating. But if we start embarking on my opponent's hare-brained schemes, that won't last long...

Dumbbell: Yadda yadda yadda. C'mon, Holden, most people can't tell the difference between a triple-A bond rating and a triple-A baseball team.

Moderator: Okay, now we'll move on to the question-and-answer portion of this debate. Mr. Talent, you go first.

Talent: I'd like to take "Issues That Will Never Be Resolved In Our Lifetime" for $200, Alex.

Moderator: Sure. How do you feel about partial-birth abortions?

Talent: I'm certainly against such a heinous act. We need to ban partial-birth abortions...

Spladden: That's certainly a safe answer for this part of the country. Here's comes the rebuttal.

Holden: I also oppose partial-birth abortions. But we need to ultimately leave this decision up to families, not lawmakers.

Dumbbell: Ouch, the audience is mixed on that wishy-washy response.

Spladden: Well, it would be political suicide to say you supported abortions here in the Bible Belt. But then again Holden is a Democrat. It's a tough play for Holden and he seems to be handling it pretty well.

Moderator: Your turn to pick a category, Mr. Holden.

Holden: I'll take "Issues That Are Politically Incorrect To Oppose" for $300.

Moderator: What are your thoughts on health care in this state?

Holden: Well, prices on prescription drugs have skyrocketed recently. I support prescription drug discounts for all of our seniors barely making ends meet on a fixed income.

Talent: Um... well, sure, I... support that too! Freebies for all seniors!

Spladden: Whoa, the crowd doesn't like that answer.

Dumbbell: Look at the expression on Talent's face. He just realized this is a college campus and most of the people in attendance are students... they don't care about handouts for the elderly. Oops!

Spladden: Let's see how Talent covers up that blooper...

Talent: And I also support freebies for all colleges students! I propose giving tax credits to full-time students so they can have more money for beer and pizza.

Spladden: He shoots... he scores! The crowd goes wild.

Dumbbell: What a nice save that was! I haven't seen these kinds of policy gymnastics since at least '96! That was stunning. Holden seems a little flustered.

Moderator: Alright, moving on. Mr. Holden, choose a category.

Holden: I'll take "Two Plus Two Equals Five" for $400.

Moderator: A recent survey found that teacher salaries in Missouri are far below the national average. Do you think this has any impact on the quality of education and what would you do about it?

Holden: I'm certainly committed to public schools...

Spladden: Well, I think we all know where this is headed. Let's take advantage of this lull in the debate to turn it over to Bob Coasters in the E-SPAN DebateCenter studios in Jeff City. Bob, what's the latest on the other political news?

Bob Coasters: The candidates for State Attorney General, Jay Nixon and some other guy, debated earlier today in St. Louis. The challenger criticized Nixon's handling of the tobacco settlement, while Nixon responded with, "You're just a desperate candidate that only five people in this whole state have ever heard of." Both people in attendance seemed to agree with Nixon.

Meanwhile, in the Presidential race, Major League Baseball has sued George Dubya for unauthorized use of the term "major-league" when he called that New York Times reporter a "major-league asshole". According to an MLB spokesmen, "Major-league(R) is a registered trademark that may not be used in any publication or broadcast without the prior written consent of Major League Baseball".

And now back to you...

Dumbbell: Thank you for that scintillating report. Is that a new hairpiece you've got today, Bob?

Spladden: Jim Talent wrapped up his spiel about public schools. Nothing to see there. Now Bob Holden is talking about road and highway funding...

Holden: We need to reject any plan that ignores air, water, and rail transportation along with mass transit. Roads shouldn't be our only priority.

Dumbbell: What the heck? This isn't St. Louis! I don't think the tractor-driving Rednecks of Southeast Missouri are going to give a rat's ass about mass transit or airplanes.

Spladden: Definitely. Holden has really fumbled the ball on this play. Let's see if Talent can take possession.

Talent: Roads and highways should be a priority. I propose issuing $10 billion worth of bonds to help pay for improvements to such highways as 63, 65, and 70.

Dumbbell: Oooh, the crowd isn't too happy about that answer either.

Spladden: Both players have really messed up that play. None of those roads are in Southeast Missouri. Why do I get the impression that both of these guys think they're in St. Louis?

Dumbbell: Yeah, I don't think too many spectators in attendance today are too thrilled about paying increased taxes to pay off $10 billion for roads in St. Louis, Branson, and Jeff City.

Spladden: Whoa, we're past due for another commercial. We'll be back with the closing arguments right after this...

Announcer: Hiring a lobbyist... $10,000. Giving donations to both political parties... $50,000. Having Congress pass a spending bill that hands over $10 billion in subsidies to your company... Priceless. At eLobby, we can turn a $60,000 investment into $10 billion -- it's as simple as clicking your mouse and selecting which candidates you want to purchase today. eLobby.com: Your Choice For Buying And Selling Political Favors(tm).

Dumbbell: And we're back with the closing statements. Following this debate, E-SPAN will air the time trials in the "First Annual Washington Marathon", in which 1,000 lobbyists will run 24 miles to Capitol Hill to deliver political contributions.

Talent: At first glance we may not appear all that much difference. We're both nerds. We both like to wear the exact same outfits. But beneath the surface we're very different. We, for instance, both pronounce Missour-uh differently. And I have the really cool name...

Holden: Of course we're very different. I actually support public schools, and affordable health care, and fiscal responsibility. That's unlike my opponent, who, while in Congress, voted on a measure to dissolve the Department of Education...

Spladden: Look at that! Talent, who had been drinking a glass of water, just burst into laughter, sending water three rows back into the crowd!

Dumbbell: I've never seen anything like this. Talent is now rolling on the floor laughing!

Spladden: I don't think I've seen this kind of display since Bob Dole started rolling on the floor in '96 when Bill Clinton said he had "strong family values".

Dumbbell: Well, that about wraps it up. Both candidates have left the stage and are on their way to hold a press conference in which they brag about how well they did.

Spladden: For all us at E-SPAN sports, good night.