January 18, 2012

The 2012 presidential candidates debate -- opera!

GLENN WINTERS
Good evening, America.  Tonight I am proud to host and moderate an historic event which will be televised and, um, radioized all over the nation: a debate among the contenders for the Presidency of these United States of America.  In a departure from tradition, we are joined not only by the field of Republican candidates, but also by the Democratic incumbent, President Barack Obama.  Oh, one other thing: we're also including the GOP figures who have actually withdrawn from the race, namely Donald Trump, Representative Michelle Bachmann, Mr. Herman Cain, Governor Jon Huntsman, Governor Rick Perry and Representative Ron Paul.


RON PAUL
Uh, Glenn?  Mr. Winters?


GLENN WINTERS
Yes, Mr. Paul?


RON PAUL
I haven't withdrawn.  I'm still running.


MITT ROMNEY
*snicker*  Yes, technically, that's true.


GLENN WINTERS
Now, now, Gov. Romney; let's not have any of that.  I want a good, clean, respectful debate.


MITT ROMNEY
Sorry.


GLENN WINTERS
At any rate, let me introduce the rest of the debate panel joining me here at the Hardee's on Jefferson Avenue here in Newport News, Virginia:  Governor Mitt Romney, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and Senator Rick Santorum.  Welcome, everyone!  Now as you know, tonight's focus will not be on foreign affairs, the economy, immigration reform, abortion, or homeland security.  We've all heard you blather on and on about all that crud.  No, tonight you will be asked your views on a subject crucial to America's future and of vital interest to Red States and Blue States alike:  your knowledge of opera.  I will ask each of you to make an opening statement in which you name your own personal favorite opera.  Mr. President, let's begin with you.


BARACK OBAMA
Glenn, thanks very much for the opportunity to be with you on this historic evening.  I think my choice is Beethoven's Fidelio.  It's an inspiring story of a struggle for liberty by a valiant man and his devoted wife.  It reminds me of my own fight in protecting freedom and liberty all over the globe, and I think my wife Michelle would look really hot disguised as a man if I needed her to do that.  Oh - and if I may, let me also mention Wagner's Parsifal.  The miraculous curing of Amfortas' suffering and pain is a great model for the kind affordable health care I want for all Americans.


DONALD TRUMP
With due respects, Mr. President, I think a better choice for you would be Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov: the story of a man who ascends to power under false pretenses--I still think there's something fishy about that "birth certificate" of yours.


GLENN WINTERS
Whoa, whoa, Mr. Trump; let's not revisit all that birther nonsense.  Governor Romney, what's your choice?


MITT ROMNEY
As you know, Glenn, I've been a very successful businessman and I've helped many companies streamline their operations through greater efficiency.  That's what I find appealing about Schoenberg's Erwartung:  it's in one act, and has a cast of just one performer.  That's an efficient operation there; no expensive chorus or supporting characters, and you save on scenery to boot.  I would think that, in combination with raising ticket prices, any opera company would find it very profitable to perform nothing but Erwartung all season long.  And the Germans are well-known for appealing melodies; I'm sure Erwartung is chock-full of wonderful tunes.


GLENN WINTERS
Uh huh.  Right.  Moving right along, how about you, Governor Perry?


RICK PERRY
I kinda like that there Turandot by that Puccini feller.  I especially like those funny guys that sing the trio in Act II, those three ministers Ping, Pang and... uh... lemme see here, er, ...Ping, Pang.... and...  and....   shoot.  I don't know.  Can't think of it.  Oops.


GLENN WINTERS
Representative Bachmann, you're next.


MICHELLE BACHMANN
Thanks, Glenn.  I do have a real favorite opera; it's Benjamin Britten's poignant romance Peter Grimes.


GLENN WINTERS
...uh, "poignant romance"?  I don't understand.


MICHELLE BACHMANN
It's inspiring to me how the character of Ellen Orford, a fine Christian woman, reaches out to a misfit outcast like Grimes and clearly has the goal of marrying him and helping him lead a normal life.  Yes, Fate intervenes to prevent their blessed union, but I really empathize with Ellen.  I'm sure Mr. Britten was a wonderful husband to some lucky woman.


GLENN WINTERS
Benjamin Britten was gay.


MICHELLE BACHMANN
What?  Are you sure?


GLENN WINTERS
Oh, yes.


MICHELLE BACHMANN
I have to leave.  Good night.


GLENN WINTERS
Mr. Gingrich, we'll hear from you next.


NEWT GINGRICH
I have a lot of respect for Count Almaviva, the misunderstood hero of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.  Here's a guy I can relate to; he's married to the Countess, but she's getting older and frankly, she's just not young enough or pretty enough to be a Count's wife.  He deserves to be with a real looker like that Susanna girl.  And I also like how when he was caught in an adulterous situation - which was a total set-up by the way, absolute entrapment on his wife's part - he admitted his weakness and went on being a fabulous, intellectual leader.  Like me.


GLENN WINTERS
Senator Santorum, let's hear your choice.


RICK SANTORUM
I have a Verdi opera I like a lot; it's his masterpiece I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata.


GLENN WINTERS
...because...


RICK SANTORUM
It's all about the Crusades, a subject near and dear to me.  The Crusades?  They're just my favorite war, that's all.  All these bleeding hearts who feel sorry for the godless Muslims down there in our Holy Land; well BOO HOO HOO.  I mean, what are we supposed to do, root against Christians?  Everyone knows Christians have the best religion.  And just as Verdi told his story to inspire Italians to fight against Austrian domination, I think if Americans studied I Lombardi we'd all understand we have to do the same against our foes.


GLENN WINTERS
Herman Cain, may we have your choice, please?


HERMANN CAIN
You'd think I'd pick some Italian opera since it's, you know, the home of pizza and everything, but I really go for Franz Lehar's operetta The Merry Widow.  For one thing, I wouldn't mind spending a little quality time with a beautiful widow, --you know, offer her financial assistance if she needed it and so on.  But what I really like is that solo Hannah sings about marriage where she sings in German, "Nein, nein, nein!"  It's remarkable how that gal anticipated my economic recovery plan over a century ago.  I'd like to remind you all of the details about this "999" formula of mine; it's based on...


GLENN WINTERS (interrupting)
No, thanks Mr. Cain, I think we've all heard about that.  Representative Ron Paul, I think it's your turn.


RON PAUL
Glenn, I've been quoted as saying that the notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers.  On the contrary, our Founders' political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs.  That's why the opera I enjoy is Verdi's Don Carlo, with its inspiring hero, the Grand Inquisitor.

GLENN WINTERS
Did you say "hero", Mr. Paul?  The Inquisitor is a ruthless tyrant.


RON PAUL
On the contrary, he leads the effort to make sure that government and the Church work together as a team to provide for the common good.


GLENN WINTERS
But... but... what about burning dissidents at the stake?


RON PAUL
War is hell, and that goes double for wars to prevent the silly separation of church and state.


GLENN WINTERS
Only two more candidates to hear from.  Governor Huntsman, which opera is on your mind?


JON HUNTSMAN
As you know, I've received a lot of flak from my fellow Republicans for having served in the Obama administration in the diplomatic corps.  Everyone gives me a hard time for teaming up with the enemy, so to speak.

BARACK OBAMA
HEY!

JON HUNTSMAN
No offence, Mr. President.  Anyway, this situation is somewhat reflected in Gounod's Faust.  I mean, look at Faust; he's a good man confronted with a situation in which he has the opportunity to team up with Mephistopheles, an individual with whom he has significant disagreements over policy and general world-view.  But he's not afraid to work with him to achieve his goals.

BARACK OBAMA
I'm the devil now?!

GLENN WINTERS
He did say it was nothing personal, Mr. Prez.  Chill.  Gov. Huntsman, your interpretation of Faust is a little shaky, but frankly, we're running short on time and I still need to poll The Donald.  Go, Mr. Trump!

DONALD TRUMP
Glenn, in the near future I'm going to make an announcement that will stun the world operatically speaking.  I am putting together plans to create the greatest opera the world has ever seen.  I'm talking with a fabulous composer, absolutely fabulous, and he's going to provide the best opera music available. Totally first-class.  This opera is going to break all records for popularity, greatness, and importance.  People are going to line up for miles to get tickets to see this work; the costumes, scenery, orchestra and conductor are all going to be incredible and impressive.  The recordings and DVD's of my opera will break all records and go platinum in a matter of seconds.  It's going to be...

GLENN WINTERS
Don?  Donald?

DONALD TRUMP
Yeah?

GLENN WINTERS
Stop talking.  Thanks.  Sounds swell.  Well, unfortunately we don't have time for rebuttals, but I think with what they've heard tonight my fellow citizens have some great information to think about when they step into those voting booths in November.

HERMANN CAIN
So they can still vote for me?  Is that what you're saying?

GLENN WINTERS
Nein.







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