Primaries, caucuses and C-span coverage not withstanding, the general election is already in full swing. It began last Saturday night when, with the Democratic returns still being counted in Michigan and Washington, CNN and MSNBC were showing a Larry King re-run interview with Janet Jackson and an episode of Headliners and Legends (I think Fox was showing a special in which a panel of high-powered, telegenic and experienced conservatives were matched up in a war of words against a lone, learning-disabled liberal who spoke no English and had a predisclosed and violent camera-light allergy). The combination of an Iraq sans WMD and the Kerry campaign sans significant competition has put the President somewhat on the defensive. But these are early days. Newsweek's Fineman and Isikoff provide a nice overview of where the first real punches might be landed. In the meantime, here is a Reader's Digest version of a possible first debate between Kerry and Bush:
Bush: War on terror
Bush: Evil doers
Kerry: Band of Brothers
Bush: Grave and growing
Bush: Let me step back a moment
Kerry: (sensing weakness) Mekong Delta
Bush: (regaining composure) Massachusetts Liberal
Kerry: I don't like to talk about it, but I'm a war hero.
Bush: Bring it On
Kerry: No, I have three words for you. Bring ... It ... On
Bush: Let's Roll
Kerry: I'm coming, you're going and...
Bush: I haven't heard you talk like that since our Skull and Bones initiation week.
Kerry: ... don't let the door hit you on the way out.
Bush: (pounding a fist on his podium) The Almighty, Faith-based, Mel Gibson, God Bless
Kerry: Ketchup fortune, good hair, tall, I can still drink
Bush: Fake Vietnam stories
Kerry: That was Bob Kerry
Bush: The South!
Kerry: Smart people
Bush: You're rich!
Kerry: You love the rich
Bush: Gay marriage, Sodomy, the L word, Carson Kressley
Kerry: Ralph Reed?
Bush: Shadows, caves, murderers
Kerry: Program related activities?
Bush: (with the classic accusatory smirk) Senator
Kerry: (taken aback) ... (long pause) ... Flightsuit!
Bush: Military spending dove
Bush: Votes to cut funding for intelligence agencies
Bush: Bring it On
Kerry: Bring it On