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If Tom Danehy were asking the questions at the presidential debates...

FOR GEORGE W. BUSH:

1. How in the world have you been able to keep 40 percent of all Americans thinking that Saddam Hussein somehow had something to do with Sept. 11? I realize that you're the ultimate Fortunate Son, but you've morphed into a character from a Carl Hiaasen book who has incredibly good luck and just bumps along as though he expects things to always be that way. It's really amazing, especially considering the fact that you don't even believe that Saddam had anything to do with it. To your credit, you've at least been man enough to say it, unlike your own personal Larry and Curly, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

2. When that raving lunatic Zell Miller bent over for the Republican Party and delivered his infamous and recklessly inflammatory "Spitball" speech at the GOP Convention, he went through this list of weapons systems that John Kerry had voted against at one time or another during his 20 years in the Senate. Taking into consideration that even the most ardent supporter of defense hardware spending will occasionally vote "no," (like, for example, when they don't think there's enough money in the spending bill), and that some people vote yea and nay on the same bill after minor alterations are performed, would you, as a private citizen or as president of the United States, want to be represented in Congress by someone who voted yes on every weapons proposal that came across his desk?

3. While we're on that subject, one of the systems that Miller harped about is the Patriot missile, the imagined Scud killer. Are you familiar with a military report that states that, in the two Gulf Wars combined, the only thing confirmed to have been shot down by a Patriot was an American fighter jet in which the pilot was killed? And if so, do you still support the Patriot missile program?

4. How would you prefer to be remembered: As the man who whipped Saddam Hussein but lost Iraq, or as the president whose crippling deficits and insane tax policies delivered the death blow to the American middle class?

Yes or no, one-word answers, no speechifying:

5. Do you really support public schools?

6. Do you know what a stem cell is?

7. What's the next country on your To Do list?

8. If we told you that you could appoint the next three Supreme Court vacancies without a fight if you'll get rid of Antonin Scalia, would you do it?

9. How long into your second term will Dick Cheney "resign" and be replaced by your hand-picked successor?

10. Do you know where Osama bin Laden is at this very moment?


FOR JOHN KERRY:

1. Remember that old Saturday Night Live routine where Jon Lovitz was playing Michael Dukakis and, during a debate, he looked over at his English-mangling opponent and said out loud, "How am I losing to this guy?" Well, how in the world are you losing to this guy?

2. How have you allowed the Bush people to paint you as the son of privilege when he is the absolute poster child for that particular affliction? We all know that he got special treatment getting into and out of the National Guard (he didn't even sign his discharge papers, because he had already split before the orders came through), but nobody seems to care. What about his failed businesses, his crappy running of the Texas Rangers, and his being in Halliburton's back pocket?

3. When members of the Bush administration were soft-peddling the fact that they had been wrong on every single one of the 125 or so reasons they had given for invading Iraq, Bush tried to shift attention away by tossing you the beach ball-sized question of, "Knowing what you know now, would you still vote to authorize the use of military force in Iraq?" You were given the greatest opportunity of the campaign to clearly delineate the difference between yourself and the president. The answer was so obviously "No!"--that even Bush himself, if he were being honest, would have to answer in the negative. But you hemmed and hawed and gave the GOP more ammunition. So, I guess the question is: What the hell's wrong with you?!

4. Do you realize that you could probably win enough votes to sway the election if you would be filmed shooting baskets instead of doing that sissy-ass windsurfing?

Yes or no, one word, etc.:

5. Beatles or Stones?

6. Don't you just want to bitch-slap the Swift Boat Veterans Who Played Fast and Loose With the Truth?

7. Are you throwing this election because Hillary told you to?

8. As dull as you are, how'd you ever get one woman, let alone two, to marry you?

9. Where were you in August?

10. Can you at least go down swinging?

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