The VP Debate Drinking Game

The Hyperion Chronicles
"Less Moose more Caboose!"1

#511 The VP Debate Drinking Game

As you may know, we have come to the Vice Presidential Debate. Normally the red-headed stepchild of debate viewership, tonight's event promises to be a little different. I think you know why.

In modern political importance, the choice for VP has little if any impact. Even this year, with all the hoopla, it's not likely to influence much. That's sad, really, because proper understanding of the history should give the decision more weight.

Excluding the last five presidents,2 we see that: of those who came before, nineteen presidents elected to their first term made it through unscathed. Nine were replaced. Let me repeat that. Nine times the VP has become the president, and even if we don't stretch the numbers, that's still better than one in five. No one voted for Tyler, Fillmore, A. Johnson, Arthur, T. Roosevelt, Coolidge, Truman, L Johnson, or Ford (literally, in his case) to be president, but there they were. Add to that the four VP who have gone on to just be straight elected president, and the odds go up even more that tonight is a preview of things to come.

I am not going to be crass and say that with a man in his 70s or (even more offensively argued) an African-American, the president is in more danger than ever. Fact is: all presidents are in danger. All of the time. So, the VP matters.

But not to the public. Tonight they (and you) will watch, not for the significant chance that we're seeing a future commander-in-chief, but for a little thing called the Unintentional Comedy Scale.3

On the one side we have Joe Biden, a relatively well-liked politician, but one prone to foot-in-the-mouth disease like few public officials you have ever seen. Many entertaining columns could be written purely on his gaffes.

On the other side we have Sarah Palin, either the second coming of Teddy Roosevelt + Joan of Arc rolled into one, or single-handedly about set back Women's Rights 40 years.4

No one has any idea what might happen tonight. It is entirely possible we will see a staid debate. Perhaps Obama's aides have drummed into Biden what he can or cannot say. (He really is at a disadvantage debating a woman. Either he goes after what he perceives as his greater credentials on matters of state, and risks looking like a big bully picking on a poor girl, or he treats her with kid gloves, and is denounced as sexist for NOT treating women equal. Look for blame either way.)

On the Republican side, it is equally possible that Pailn's few interviews were contrived, filled with "Gotcha" questions that provide more theater than insight. Or, it's possible that that McCain aides have put Palin through Foreign Policy University, and she's raring to go. No one knows. This is because no one really has a handle on Palin. Sure, there is the knee-jerk reactions on both sides (emphasis on "jerk"), but with such an unknown quantity, no one is sure what they are getting.5

This is why the debate will garner such high viewership, and why there is so much potential for Unintentional Comedy.

Enter my Fantasy Football League.

On our message board, Pilate suggested we come up with a VP Drinking game. That instantly seemed like a fantastic idea.


Hauptbär initially jumped in with the following great ideas:

Every time a candidate takes a position that is against traditional party lines, you take a drink.

Every time an ad hominem6 attack is made, you take a drink.

Every time either candidate says "middle class," "taxes," or "energy independence," you take a drink.

Every time the Democrat says "greedy" or "rich," you take a drink. If the Republican says it, you take two drinks.

Every time the Republican says "socialism" or "free market," you take a drink. If the Democrat says it, you take two drinks.

Every time either candidate says "lipstick," you take three drinks.

Every time either candidate says "let me make X number of points", but then proceeds to make Y number of points, then you take (Y minus X) drinks.

Not to be outdone, the Nipper added:

I think we should make it more candidate specific.

One swig:

Joe Biden uses the phrase "big oil"
Sarah Palin mentions Alaska's proximity to Russia
Joe Biden uses the words "hope" and "change" in the same sentence
Sarah Palin mentions Bristol Palin

Two swigs:

Joe Biden mentions Bristol Palin
Sarah Palin uses the phrase "hockey mom"

Finish your drink:

Sarah Palin talks about moose
Joe Biden uses the phrase "clean and articulate"

I was hoping the rest of the league would chime in, but sadly, most of them are about as creative as a pig with...well, you know. So I add my own ideas:

Every time the words "Bailout" and "Taxpayers" are used in the same sentence, take two drinks. (Or eat two cookies.)

Every time Palin refers to a time Biden disagreed with Obama, take three drinks.

Every time Biden says that Palin wants to execute any woman who visits an abortion clinic, take 5 drinks.7

Every time Palin's the camera cuts to Palin's family, take a sip. (A small sip; any more and you'll be drunk before halftime.)

If Biden makes one of his patented gaffes, take 10 drinks.

If Palin has one of those deer-in-the-headlights moments (at least, if that's how it seems), take 10 drinks.

If Palin wears something low-cut, take 25 drinks.

If Biden tries to get a gander down that low-cut top, take 30 drinks.

If Joe Biden and Sarah Palin kiss on the lips....

Crack open another bottle; it's gonna be a looooooooong night!

As you can see by my escalating figures, I have high hopes (or low hopes) for the debate. Frankly, if ever I were to drink, tonight might be the night. The idea that either of these "Cabooses" (or either of their Moosehead partners) will soon be running things is enough to knock anyone off the wagon.

And if nothing else, I want to see what Palin's wearing.8

That's life in the Moose Igloo,

October 2, 2008

1 The "Caboose" is to signify that the VPs are the "back" of the ticket. I am not in any way making a tittering remark about Biden's scrumptious ass.

2 Obviously I am excluding them to make the numbers more stark, although it does raise an issue why we have had relative calm in the chain of command lately. Better health might be a factor. Better security likely one also. Certainly the TV age means has necessitated younger (read: healthier) people. And for all that, it's important to remember that Reagan was shot, and Clinton came within a cigar's length of losing his job as well.

3 To my knowledge, invented by Bill Simmons, "The Sports Guy."

4 Or possibly the next pitch-woman for Clairol. Admit that'd be a good idea. Admit it.

5 Before Palin, Obama was really the political mirror. People saw in him what they wanted to see, whether that was their hopes, fears, doubts or what have you. Palin has since taken that role.

6 If you don't know what ad hominem means, you don't deserve to vote, so relax! (And take the night off.)

7 Okay, he probably won't actually say that, but he will definitely imply it, so take 3 three drinks on the implication.

8 That last comment was facetious, offered only to anger uptight feminists without a sense of humor. It really crystallizes the point, though, huh? Much of the flack around Palin (and Hillary Clinton before her) has not been political disagreements, but issues surrounding their womanhood. The fact is, no one will take a second glance at what Biden is wearing, BUT EVEN YOU WOMEN, ACTUALLY ESPECIALLY YOU WOMEN will notice what Palin wears. And judge her (one way or the other) for it. Low-cut? High-cut? Too much makeup? Hair too high? Too low? I'm not saying it's fair. I'm not saying any thing. Fact is, if Palin was who she was, but was homely, this wouldn't be as big a deal. But she is. It is. Deal with it.

Thanks to Pilate for the idea, and Hauptbär and the Nipper for ideas.

No thanks at all to Dutchboy, Rusty, Vanderjagt, Tim-may! Ephebop, Fuzzball, Schultzy or Zabka.


Anonymous said...

2 Toilets?

Anonymous said...

Great Article, I should be wasted in about 15 minutes based on your game. Palins lack of world knowledge has been scary over the last couple weeks. Regarldess of what happens tonight I hope America is not fooled by her rehearsed staged responses. Look for her to not answer any tough questions just talk around it and go into alter ego palin voices.

The only way Biden can win this is focus on Mccain that is his job and Palin will prove her lack of worth herself. Biden doesnt need to even try and do this.

Elvis said...

It is no secret that the best vice presidential pick is somebody who is just barely competent enough to handle the tie-breaking senate vote job, but clearly much dumber than the presidential candidate. This makes the presidential candidate seem much more qualified in comparison. Dan Quayle was a prime example of this. Sure, Bush Sr. may not have had the clearest understanding of economics, but next to Quayle he looked like Friedrich Hayek.

This year, both candidates went with the Dan Quayle strategy. With Sarah "In what sense, Charlie?" Palin and Joe "FDR got on Television" Biden, there is no doubt somebody is going to say something stupid tonight.

Anonymous said...

If only he'd have looked like Selma Hayek.

Anonymous said...