With only days remaining before the mildly anticipated debate between George Bush and John Kerry in Coral Gables, Florida, the PR departments of both camps are in high gear trying to drum up…even a little bit of enthusiasm among the potential viewing public. In a politically polarizing race as close as this one, it surprises analysts that newly revised rating projections are still lukewarm. "There are going to be a lot of hacked off people when they end up having to miss ‘The Apprentice'," said one senior analyst.
A lot of critics are comparing this debate to the summer debacle, "Alien Versus Predator". Though it barely managed to garner enough global box office to cover the $60 million in production costs, AVP was largely dismissed as kryptonite to both somewhat successful "Alien" and "Predator" franchises. Consequently, the 50 million in projected audience for the debate may be as far off target as an AVP Oscar nomination for best picture. But a spokesman at the University of Miami in charge of organizing the debate defended it by pointing out, "If the Bush/Kerry debate is AVP, then the Nader campaign is ‘Dude, Where's My Car?' It's all relative".
Bush's handlers, however, are being proactive in casting "W" in the Predator role. At the "weigh-in", Bush took a swing at Kerry, charging that, "Kerry could debate himself for 90 minutes, he's changed his positions on Iraq so many times." Bush not only firmly established himself in the position of preeminent presidential predator, but also put Kerry in the subordinate position of antagonistic alien. He went on to exaggerate the comparison with a mocking description of Kerry's political career: "Emerging from the pulsating egg of Vietnam, Kerry wasted no time attaching himself to the face of legitimate politics, incubating himself in the viscera of the political body, bursting forth from the body cavity amid a spray of criticism, the acid of liberal politics coursing through his veins."
But, Kerry, despite recovering from a slight cold, responded angrily, describing George's Bush's Iraq policy as, "Strategically flawed despite superior weaponry, and hiding behind a false mask of accomplishment to conceal the truly ugly face of everyday reality in Iraq. This ineffective president has made our 21st century soldiers vulnerable to mud-caked insurgents with the IQ of Schwarzenegger and a predisposition for bad one-liners."
Despite the rousing rhetoric, it is largely anticipated that the debate will suck worst than a tropical depression. If no clear winner emerges, the debate might better be compared to "Freddy Versus Jason", another highly anticipated disappointment. To the film's credit, however, at least Jason had no speaking parts. And after four hurricanes in six weeks, Florida has probably had more than enough wind for a while.