By the Comics Curmudgeon
America! Your long national nightmare of presidential debates, which has been grinding on since before time began, is now over, if by "over" you mean "over until the first debate between Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney on who should be the Republican nominee for the presidential election of June 2009." The question thus arises: What have we learned from the debates? Ha ha, obviously we're Americans and have therefore learned nothing, basically.

But maybe our beloved political cartoonists have learned something, which is: It's hard to use a debate, which is basically two dudes standing and/or sitting around making with the blah blah, as the basis for something visually interesting. Let's see how they tried to get around that inconvenient fact!

Make funny jokes about the podiums. Ha ha, look, Barack Obama is presumptuous, and John McCain has the little black cloud over his head that universally denotes cartoon rage! He's not actually mad at Obama, but at his campaign staff: Had he known that he was allowed to request a different on-stage arrangement, he probably would have asked at the town hall debate for a stool that didn't leave his dainty little feet dangling three inches above the ground.

Show Obama debating a soulless collection of gears and wires rather than a live human candidate. My uncle is a professional musician, and once when I made some disparaging remarks about drum machines, he pointed out that, unlike real drummers, drum machines don't get high and forget to come to practice. Similarly, while so-called experts will tell you that voters want that "human touch" when it comes to a presidential candidate, it's important to keep in mind the fact that a polygraph machine would never roll its eyes, make bizarre inhuman grimaces, or wander aimlessly around the stage like some sort of nursing home escapee.

Show the debate being interrupted by a slavering, terrifying hell-demon. I'm not sure why, but it's the demon's drool that bothers me the most here. Is it getting ready to rend everyone to bits with its pointy teeth? Is that actually the blood of damned souls running down his chin? These questions would best be put to McCain, since the sinister figure is no doubt his Satanic overlord.

Show the debate being interrupted by an angry, rampaging elephant. This cartoon is actually basically the exact same cartoon as the last one, but with an angry elephant instead of a hell-demon. It makes me mad, though, because if there's one constant in this crazy mixed-up world of ours, it's that elephants are supposed to represent the Republican Party. And yet this elephant, if the label is to be believed, is apparently representing "the Economy." So is the economy a Republican? WHAT IS A GUY SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE YOU HAVE SCREWED EVERYTHING UP.

Show Obama debating some kind of pale, subterranean worm creature that lives in the sewer system, occasionally showing its mutated, terrifying face to the world when it emerges from your sink, slithers across the floor, and eats your cat or your toddler, leaving a trail of slime behind it wherever it goes. This, of course, is what actually happened on Wednesday night, so I'm not really sure what kind of larger point this cartoon is trying to make.

Instead of showing the debate, show some dude watching the debate. Because you know what's tons more interesting to look at that two guys on stage talking? One guy in his chair, watching television!


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