Enough about the economy, how do you feel about the Beatles?

October 10, 2012 

The political season, in all of its mudslinging, fact-bending glory, is upon us, and I have some questions for the two men seeking our nation’s highest elected office.

Those questions require answers. They require a debate.

No, I’m not talking about yet another wonky, bone-dry affair in which the candidates talk just long enough to pivot to one of their talking points, treat the moderator like the teacher from Charlie Brown and try to do whatever they can not to offend those most coveted among us — the undecided voter.

Because we’re unlikely to glean anything substantial about either of these two men from such sterile debates, I suggest we spice things up a bit.

We need a pop culture debate. And I want to be the moderator.

Being the president of the United States seems like a pretty nice gig.

You get a sweet windbreaker, a giant plane and a Secret Service code name, and if either of these two men is hoping to land (or keep) the job, they should subject themselves to a tougher line of questioning than Jim Lehrer or Candy Crowley can offer.

Let’s see if former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a 10-word answer on his favorite Simpsons character of if President Barack Obama can brag about the auto bailout while being asked about his favorite moment as a sports fan.

For the benefit of any member of the Commission on Presidential Debates reading this column, and I know you all do, I have taken the liberty of jotting down a few of the questions I’d pose to the candidates and what I believe to be the right answer.

Like I said, this is a different kind of debate.

• Michael Jordan or LeBron James: LeBron James is a freak of nature and the most dominant basketball player we’ve seen since His Airness, but MJ has six rings to King James’ one. It’s that simple.

• Best “Rocky” movie: I propose we arrest any candidate who does not immediately answer this question with “Rocky IV.” Anything else borders on treason.

• Batman or Superman: Superman is the world’s most famous illegal immigrant. His only weakness is some obscure mineral? Sounds like a national security threat to me. Batman is a job creator. Think of all the nurses needed to care for the heaps of goons hospitalized by The Caped Crusader.

• “Star Wars” or “Star Trek”: The only time I would allow myself, as moderator, to be sidestepped. As a matter of campaign strategy, neither candidate wants to upset either contingent of nerds and risk having his Twitter account hacked. If you get a direct message from Barack Obama about an embarrassing video of yourself online, don’t open it.

• The Beatles or The Rolling Stones: The Stones have had a great run, but they aren’t The Beatles. It’s like comparing Harry Truman to Abraham Lincoln. It’s comparing apples to an apple that walks, talks and abolishes slavery.

This week, in honor of this proposed debate, here are eight songs that represent long-standing, and as yet unresolved, musical debates.

“I’m sorry, Mr. President, but Timothy Dalton was not the best James Bond, and I will not sit here and allow you to claim otherwise, sir.”

Do the right thing, Commission on Presidential Debates.

• 2Pac, “How Do You Want It?” vs. The Notorious B.I.G., “Juicy” — “Juicy” is one of the greatest songs in the history of American music. 2Pac is an accomplished lyricist and an icon in his own right, but there’s no keeping up with Biggie Smalls.

• Peter Gabriel-led Genesis, “I Know What I Like” vs. Phil Collins-led Genesis, “In Too Deep” — Long before Peter Gabriel was making weird music no one understands on his own, he was making weird music no one understands with Genesis. Phil Collins’ Genesis might be a little soft rock, but it’s undeniably better.

• Acoustic Bob Dylan, “One Too Many Mornings” vs. Electric Bob Dylan, “Subterranean Homesick Blues” — Hard to believe that a guy from Minnesota picking up an electric guitar could cause such a stir, but the controversy is a testament to the genius of Dylan’s earlier works.

• Nirvana, “About a Girl” vs. Pearl Jam, “Why Go” — Nirvana was a shooting star. Pearl Jam is the moon. Always there, always great.

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