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Summit Up

Daily Staff Writer

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that has a better idea than a debate.We hope that our good readers sat down in front of the boob tube last night, at least for a little bit. While we normally don’t recommend or encourage TV viewing (you might become aware of something you didn’t know about before, forcing you to care, or worse, act on that emotional or intellectual response, and nobody needs that; more than likely, though, it’ll just rot your brain) we hope you all did a little bit of civic duty and watched some of the presidential debate.We did, but only long enough to hear W. say “nu-cuh-ler” and Kerry wag his finger (with those face wrinkles wagging in synch) and that was enough for us.Probably more than enough of most of America, too, and that’s the problem we’re harping on today: Debates are sooo outdated. Sure, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Wallace could thrill a crowd and people used to sit and listen to William Jenning Bryan for hours. Seriously. For hours, standing outside the auditorium just to listen, like it was Pink Floyd.No, in today’s world, we really only understand the dynamics and voting system presented to us in reality television. And that’s exactly what we’re urging our presidential candidates to consider in the future (because all the presidential hopefuls read Summit Up, if they know what’s good for them).Here’s what we’re thinking: They don’t necessarily have to live in the same house – although you have to admit that a “Real World” series of the Kerrys and the Bushes shacking up in a Breckenridge condo for a month would be absolutely hilarious. We’re envisioning more of a “Road Rules” and “Survivor” sort of thing. See, each guy (or his “people”) comes up with five different tasks/challenges/feats/ tests he thinks he can beat the other guy at. Then instead of all this boring debate and campaign stops where the candidates preach to the choir, they match up once a week for 10 weeks before the election. This way, we get to see what they’re really like. Kerry challenges Bush to a windsurfing competition, so they head down to Myrtle Beach (and proceed to both get rescued by laughing lifeguards). The next week, Bush throws down the gauntlet at the shooting range, and the boys do some old-fashioned trap sparring (shooting clay pigeons with each other’s picture on it, of course). Then Kerry comes back at Bush with a spelling and pronunciation test, so they meet at high noon in some Nebraska elementary school. Then Bush challenges Kerry to a lie detector test and we have an episode live from Quantico. You get the drift. And, to make it more interesting, we could let the candidates form teams using the people they’ll be selecting for their cabinet. That way we get to find out if Kerry’s pick for Secretary of Transportation can beat Dale Earnhart, Jr., in a little race down in Daytona or if Colin Powell can beat Kerry’s pick for Secretary of State in a little one-on-one in Trivial Pursuit’s geography category.Try and tell us millions of Americans wouldn’t watch that instead of a debate. Go ahead, we’ll debate you on it.***We’re out debating whether to vote at all …


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