Tom has thoughts on the CD 8 special-election candidates

Like many Southern Arizonans, I watched the Great Congressional District 8 Debate last week, and like most everybody else, I didn't learn dookie about the candidates.

Republican Jesse Kelly thinks that giving rich people more money will make everybody feel better. Democrat Ron Barber thinks that taking money away from the rich should, in the long run, make the rich feel better about themselves. And Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis ... well, I'm not quite sure what he thinks, because every time he opened his mouth, all I could hear was Charlie Brown's teacher going, "Wah-wah, wah-wah ..."

This entire campaign blows. Jesse Kelly learned his lesson about criticizing Social Security in his 2010 loss to Gabrielle Giffords. He still wants to kill it, but he knows better than to say it out loud. Ron Barber is such a mush that he didn't want to admit that he was going to vote for Barack Obama in the fall. Who the hell else would you vote for? And, like just about all third-party candidates, Manolakis makes you wonder if maybe he bumped his head.

I can't wait for this thing to be over so they can go back to running respectable hemorrhoid commercials on TV. I've seen the same political commercials so many times that I'm starting to think that maybe Ron Barber is Jesse Kelly's grandfather.

I'm waiting for the super-PAC money to come in on the side of Manolakis. Seriously, just think what would happen if Mark Zuckerberg took all the money he made last week in the botched initial public stock offering and put it behind a third-party candidate in Tucson, Ariz. You think maybe Antonin Scalia's sphincter might clench up a bit on that?

While watching the three candidates, my mind wandered, and I wondered what they would be like in other venues. For example:

In the Old West—Barber: He'd be the bartender or the faro dealer, the one with a long-sleeved white shirt with garters near his elbows. He'd work at the only saloon in town that's owned by a woman.

Kelly: He'd be the fast-talking gunslinger who runs his mouth too much and ends up challenging the wrong guy.

Manolakis: He's the farmhand with the odd nickname, like "Hump."

In school—Barber's favorite class: accounting.

Kelly's: recess.

Manolakis': Mexican-American studies. He got put into the class by mistake, but didn't want to upset anybody. Plus, as a Green, he enjoyed learning about how The Man is keeping people of color down.

In sports—Barber: plays a magnificent game of squash.

Kelly: is the 12th man on a 12-man basketball team. He's the one the black guys love to dunk on in practice.

Manolakis: Likes earth ball, because competition is evil, and this way, everybody wins.

In the movies—Barber: This is killing me! There's a character actor who looks just like Ron Barber. He even has the same facial hair. The guy always plays a judge or a drugstore owner or the mayor of a small town. I can see his face, but I just can't picture what movie or TV show I've seen him in. I thought he was the judge who yells at Julianna Margulies to sit down in a commercial for The Good Wife. However, I IMDB'ed every single person who played a judge during the show's three seasons so far (I've never actually watched it)—everybody from Bebe Neuwirth to Harvey Fierstein—and nothing.

I'm afraid it's going to be one of those things where I wake up at 3 a.m. and say, "Oh, that's where I've seen him!" And when I wake up in the morning, I'll remember that I remembered something, but I won't remember what I remembered.

So, the first person who can tell me the name of that character actor, I'll give you a dollar. An American dollar, too; none of that Canadian yang money.

Kelly: I'm sure he'd like Jimmy Stewart to play him, but I'm thinking more along the lines of Jim Varney. Or, at the very least, Jim Carrey in Liar Liar. But if they redid (Liar Liar) movie involving Kelly, they'd have to flip the script and have him telling the truth in the first half, and then doubling back to muddy things up in the second half.

Manolakis: He doesn't actually bear a strong resemblance, but he reminds me of Sam Rockwell, who plays Guy in Galaxy Quest. He's the guy who knew he was going to die in the show because the writers hadn't bothered to give him a last name.

In music: Barber: He's the long-rumored fourth member of Peter, Paul and Mary. He wrote songs in college, including one about the delightful tartness of pomegranates, and a protest song about the mystery of why frat guys got the cheerleaders. (The reason is that superficiality attracts its own.)

Kelly: He'd be the keyboard player in the backup band for Toby Keith, who plays big ol' dumb songs with ridiculously catchy hooks.

Manolakis: He doesn't actually play an instrument, but he is a big fan of NRA crackpot Ted Nugent. He and his like-minded buddies call themselves "TedHeads."

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