2015 Democratic debate: the expert view

by Sam Kriss

TROWEL HENDERMAN: Hi, and welcome to our exclusive analysis of yesterday’s first Democratic Party debate, brought to you live from Las Vegas, the ‘glittering crystalline city in the middle of an endless desert that ought not to exist.’® It’s going to be an evening of furious debate and expert commentary, in an election season that broke all the rules. I’m your moderator, Trowel Henderman, and let me just say we’ve got a great panel here for you: we’ve got sexually active foreign policy consultant and former NSA bigwig John Pulsings! We’ve got YouTube star and professional woman Ashley Spootz! We’ve got civil rights activist and GlaxoSmithKline brand ambassador Marcus Choleric! And, last but not least, we’ve got your very own stereotyped Jewish mother! Let’s give it up for your mother, folks!

[The studio audience signal on one side of the room blares the word OEDIPUS. On the other side, it reads APHANISIS. Mild, confused applause.]

JOHN PULSINGS: Great to be here, Trowel.

YOUR MOTHER: But my gawd, it’s so cold out. Isn’t Vegas meant to be nice this time of year? I knew I shoulda packed a scarf. You boys’ll catch chill in those shoddy thin suits, mark my words.

TROWEL HENDERMAN: So let’s start with the big story. Hillary Clinton absolutely stole that debate, didn’t she? Confident, assured, she had all the right lines in all the right places – let’s take a look.

[The first clip rolls. HILLARY CLINTON, perfectly coiffed, a wry and cheeky chipmunk’s grin planted adorably in the middle of her face, is outlining her progressive agenda for the United States of America. She talks passionately and knowledgeably, bringing to bear her firm liberal principles and her wealth of personal experience, both inside the hall of government and outside of them. But it’s strange: afterwards, it’s hard to remember exactly what it is she said. If you had eyes to see, you’d see that her lips aren’t even moving. You’d see the blood, splattered in tiny droplets by her fingernails, smudged on her cheeks, swelling with frothy bubbles of spittle by her stretched-thin slit of a mouth. You’d see the gold and the silk adorning a body that’s blotchy and grey and bloated from twelve thousand years of putrefaction. If you had ears to hear, you’d hear the dull monotone that chokes from a bulging sac halfway down the creature’s throat. This world is mine, it says, and I have claimed it. First woman President This world is mine and I have claimed it. First woman President.But you have neither eyes to see nor ears to hear. Didn’t she do a brilliant job?]

MARCUS CHOLERIC: You know, Trowel, watching that truly rousing performance I was put in mind of the words of the great Huey P. Newton.

[Sixty seconds pass in silence.]

TROWEL HENDERMAN: What words were those, Marcus?

MARCUS CHOLERIC: Oh, none in particular. Just his words. His general words.

ASHLEY SPOOTZ: So just in regards of what you were just saying I just thought that Hillary was just so spectacular and all the other people there were just some gross old white cis het men who aren’t even fit to be smashed to a fine pulp under her perfect shoes and tbh I don’t even know why she shared a stage with them when she doesn’t even need to get elected it’s not like any of them could ever win because she was just born for this role you know she’s the queen she’s just the queen she’s got like billions of dollars and she was born to rule and queens don’t have to go debate with commoners they just sit up on their totally lux diamond encrusted throne but not with diamonds from conflict regions and everyone else like all the poor people just bow down in the mud and turds and she just orders them to be tortured to death with knives and tongs or whatever and large pear-shaped devices that are slowly inserted into a man’s anus before the spring-loaded razors inside tear his innards to tagliatelle and then we can finally start just dismantling white supremacist patriarchal capitalism in this country? [She resumes texting or sexting or whatever it is young people do on their phones all day]

JOHN PULSINGS: Two out of ten. Would not hit.

TROWEL HENDERMAN: But Hillary’s been on the back foot for most of this campaign so far – there’s been the persistent accusations that she mishandled the Benghazi crisis, there’s the issue of her emails, there’s the feeling that she’s only up there because of her second name. How well do you think she handled her critics?

YOUR MOTHER: Those boys were so cruel to her. [Dabbing a tissue to the corner of one eye.] I don’t know what their poor mothers must think. Some people just weren’t brought up right.

MARCUS CHOLERIC: She shut them down fine and she shut them down fast. When Anderson asked about so-called private email account, and she said… she said…. [His eyes start rolling. A thin line of blood trickles down from one of his ears] she said…

TROWEL HENDERMAN: Now of course the biggest threat to her campaign so far has come from the surprise insurgent campaign of self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. Could this be the start of a revolution in American politics? Let’s see what he has to say for himself.

[Second clip. It’s a TOMATO: red on the outside, soggy on the inside, and technically not a vegetable. We cut to the TOMATO in the middle of a quick-fire debate. The TOMATO speaks: ‘Let me be clear. No, let me be clear. Bernie Sanders is not a hippie. You wanna have a woar? Let’s have a woar! I support woar! Give me the damn co-ordinates! Bernie Sanders will be there in a B-52, dropping bombs on whatever foreign country you want. But once again let me be clear. When we’ve wiped out the rest of the world, the fight is coming to those coiporations. Because those coiporations are the number one enemy of the middle class in America! They make me so mad! I could putz! Fuck!’]

YOUR MOTHER: Oy, he reminds me of your great-uncle Mintzy before he passed away. Such narishkeit from that man. His poor heart gave in, you know.

JOHN PULSINGS: Trowel, we gotta talk about my main dude Jim Webb. Man, he tore up that debate like I tear up virgin pussy. Who else in there has that kind of military experience? Who else had the balls to use the debate to start directly issuing personal threats to the Chinese politburo? I’m talking cajones here, Trowel, did you even know those guys have the biggest army in the world? There’s a war coming, folks, and it’s gonna be the big one. I was speaking to a good friend of mine, I can’t tell you his name for security reasons, but he’s General Michael Harassment, head of the Army’s cyberwarfare division, and he told me the Chinese have planted thousands of tiny nukes inside all the phones they build there and ship over to the United States. And they can use these nukes to make our phones send incriminating text messages to underage girls. You think Hillary Clinton has what it takes to deal with a threat like that? So what if Hillary Clinton killed tens of thousands of people in Libya? Did she do it with her own rippling, muscled hands? Roll the tape, Trowel. Roll the fucking tape.

[It’s the final round of the debate: the comedy question. ANDERSON COOPER asks the candidates who their first celebrity guest would be in the White House. JIM WEBB stands stock-straight, passing a flick-knfe from one hand to the other, the muscles squirming and straining in his neck. He looks straight into the camera. ‘I killed a guy in Nam,’ he growls. ‘I looked him dead in the eye when I did it. I wanted to know what it was like. He tried to close his eyes, so I held them open as I cut his throat. He was just a kid, some sixteen-year-old gook from one of the villages, who’d run away to join with the VC. He thrashed around when I cut him. The rain came down and the earth turned to mud and he thrashed around like a pig in the dirt. And then he stopped. I saw his eyes go still, and while he kept staring, there was nothing behind that blackness. No spark, no fire, not any more. I looked into his eyes and suddenly I knew everything. A human being is just a hundred and thirty pound sack of meat, nothing less, nothing more. You put the right meat in the right places and you get what you want. That’s all there is. So my first guest to the White House would be John Cena.’ He grins.]

TROWEL HENDERMAN: Well, that brings us to the end of our show. Final thoughts?

MARCUS CHOLERIC: Aite, I’m not being paid for this, but ladies, if you’ve got yourself a urinary tract infection, you need to get yourself some Augmentin brand antibiotics right now.

JOHN PULSINGS: I’ve had sex.

ASHLEY SPOOTZ: Don’t @ me.

YOUR MOTHER: It’s a disgrace. If I want to talk to you I have to go on a nationally syndicated panel show. Would it kill you to just call once in a while?

TROWEL HANDERMAN: And that’s all we’ve got time for. Thanks from everyone here in Las Vegas. Tune in next time, folks.

[Applause. Studio lights dim. On a single still-lit screen above our learned panel, LINCOLN CHAFEE, a creature resembling a plucked chicken, is banging his fists against the glass, screaming something we can’t quite hear, something about bombing a hospital in Afghanistan, something that might almost be important, but his lips are so strangely shaped and his posture so mesmerisingly weird that it’s impossible to make out what he’s saying. A caged animal arouses sympathy, but it passes, it always does. MARTIN O’MALLEY was also involved in the debate.]