It's time for us to "take stock" of the presidential election campaign, so that we, as voters, can make an informed decision about how much vodka we will need to get through it.
In case you haven't been paying attention, here are the two top issues in this race so far, based on media coverage:
Al Gore's decision to kiss his wife, Tipper, on the mouth.
George W. Bush's decision to refer to a New York Times reporter by the nickname of another bodily aperture.
That's right, voters: The theme of this presidential campaign is: "Orifices Making News." So let's review these two issues in detail:
THE KISS -- Going into the Democratic convention, the Gore campaign was in trouble, with surveys showing that 63 percent of the voters agreed with the statement that the vice president "breathes through gill slits." But then, just before he gave his acceptance speech, Al kissed Tipper for three full seconds right on the podium, which is a known erogenous zone. Suddenly, Al's poll shot up. Apparently, the voters interpreted the kiss to mean that Al is capable of human emotion, although an analysis of the video replay indicates that he may have been simply depositing an egg sac.
In any event, Al's popularity soared, and now every appearance he makes includes a scheduled Necking Segment. If the race is close in late October, the Gore campaign has a contingency plan that involves Al getting, according to one top advisor, "very close to third base."
Speaking of our National Pastime, former Texas Rangers owner George W. Bush got himself in "hot water" with the news media when he used:
THE NAUGHTY WORD -- What happened was, during a campaign appearance, George leaned over to his running mate, Dick Cheney, and -- with an open microphone nearby -- kissed Dick right on the podium.
No, seriously, George told Dick that Adam Clymer -- a reporter for The New York Times whose name can be rearranged to spell "Ram My Decal" and "Read My Clam" -- was a naughty word whose letters can be rearranged to spell "ash sole." Dick agreed with this assessment.
As you can imagine, this shocking incident shocked those of us in the news media. We never use "salty" language. When we whack our thumb with a hammer, we exclaim: "Gosh all Nelly!" So when we overheard George W. spewing this shocking filth, we had no choice but to inform the American public by broadcasting the video on network TV more often than the Zapruder film. As a result, 3-year-olds all over America starting calling their parents ash soles.
If you're getting depressed about the presidential race, remember: Al and George are NOT your only choices. I am still running! Here's my platform:
TAXES: I favor a tax cut for the Middle Class, defined as "anybody who owns at least five remote controls." This cut would be offset by a 100 percent tax on all money won by contestants on "reality-based" TV shows.
SOCIAL SECURITY: I say we scrap the current system and replace it with a system wherein you add your name to the bottom of a list, then you send some money to the person at the top of the list ... Wait, that IS our current system.
LOUD CELL PHONE CONVERSATIONS IN RESTAURANTS: I favor on-the-spot confiscation of the phone, as well as the hand holding it.
DRUGS FOR SENIORS: Go ahead, seniors! But don't be playing your stereo at all hours.
As your president, I would fight for these measures! I would not take any "guff" from the ash soles in Congress! If they tried to thwart me, I would say to them, with real meaning: "Read my clam."
Dave Barry is a humor columnist for the Miami Herald. Look for his column in Channels starting next Sunday.