FLINT - There's nothing wrong with presidential debates that some truth serum and a cranky moderator wouldn't fix.
Moderator: "Welcome to this, the third of four presidential debates.
As you know, we administered 10 ccs of truth serum to each of you backstage so if I feel you are veering off the rails, I will sound a buzzer and the truth will come spilling out of you like Nestles from a chocolate fountain. Let's begin. Mr. Romney, your opening statement, please."
Romney: "Thank you. Let me begin by saying that my opponent has ruined the country and is quite possibly the worst leader in the history of the universe, with the possible exception of Moe Howard of the Three Stooges. On the other hand, I am the next best thing since sliced bread."
Romney: "I ... OK, in truth President Obama has done a pretty decent job fixing the mess his predecessor left him, especially considering my party has done everything possible to prevent it, up to and including shooting mental hate rays at him 24/7. Good gravy, did that just come out me?"
Moderator: "Relax, it's nothing we didn't know. Mr. President, your opening statement, please."
Obama: "Thank you, as you know, everything evil known to mankind stems from the administration of George W. Bush. If it weren't for my incredible political and leadership skills, the nation would have dissolved faster than crackers in water."
Obama: "But that's the ... oh, all right. I've been great on a few things, average on most and flat-out awful on the rest. And the only thing I haven't blamed Bush for is the War of 1812. Happy now?"
Moderator: "Thank you, gentlemen. Let's get down to brass tacks and settle a few things so voters can tell what they're getting. Mr. Romney, did you mean what you said about the 47 percent?"
Romney: "Of course not! You know how it goes - when you give a thousand speeches, things sometimes come out wrong. I love the poor. Why, without them, who would clean my pools?"
Romney: "OK, dammit. I meant it, all right? I meant every word. The poor frighten me, and fear breeds loathing."
Moderator: "And how do you define poor?"
Romney: "Anyone who earns less than $50,000 a year."
Romney: "OK, OK, anyone who doesn't own one of the lesser Hawaiian islands."
Moderator: "Thank you. And Mr. Obama, did you blow it with Libya, Syria and Afghanistan?"
Obama: "Of course not, in each case I followed the most prudent course available after in-depth consultation with foreign policy experts."
Obama: "Curses! Yes, OK, I blew it with all three, all right? To be honest, I know as much about foreign policy as I know about putting together furniture from Ikea."
Romney: "I what?"
Moderator: "Let's discuss the economy. Mr. Romney, would you really be able to cut the deficit and lower taxes for the middle class at the same time?"
Romney: "Of course. I have a way with numbers."
Romney: "OK, no. That's just baloney. To be honest, my economic policies would completely favor my rich friends. But on the positive side, they're very nice people."
Moderator: "And Mr. President, do you honestly think taxing the rich will fix everything?"
Obama: "No, not a chance. I mostly just say that because it's the opposite of what the Republicans say."
Moderator: "Mr. Romney, Paul Ryan: capable vice president should the need arise or hopeless nincompoop you only selected because the Tea Party likes him?"
Romney: "Come now, I can't ..."
Romney: "Hopeless nincompoop and Tea Party shill."
Moderator: "Mr. President, Joe Biden: capable vice president should the need arise or complete wingnut?"
Obama: "Complete wingnut."
Obama: "Hey, that was the truth!"
Moderator: "Sorry, reflex. Last question, gentlemen: If elected, would the nation's best interests be your only guide or would you largely act according to what's best for your respective parties and the special interest groups that support them?"
At that point, both candidates would probably fake a heart attack.
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist for The Flint Journal, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. For more of his work, visit his blog at blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/aheller. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.