By Bradley C. Canon
Moderator: Due to a scheduling mix up, our debate tonight will feature both Sen. Mitch McConnell and his opponent Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Rep. Andy Barr and his opponent Elisabeth Jensen. My first question is: What do you think of coal?
McConnell: I love coal. In fact, I love it so much that I brought a heaping helping to eat along with four forks. We'll see who can eat the most! Crunch ... Crunch ... Crunch.
Grimes: I love coal too. Would you pass some of that anthracite down to me, Mitch? Crunch ... Crunch.
Never miss a local story.
Barr: Me too! Crunch. ... Mmmm, Good! Wish I had some ketchup.
Jensen: I don't eat coal. But I did bring some tofu.
Moderator: It looks like Rep. Barr ate the most. My next question is: Where do you stand on increasing the minimum wage?
McConnell: I favor increasing the minimum wage by a few pennies at some point in the future when our economy is whizzing along at maximum speed and inflation is rampant. By the way, Alison, your father Jerry Lundergan pays minimum wage to his waiters at his burger place.
Grimes: I am not Jerry Lundergan. I don't always agree with him. I hardly even know him. I am my own person, a different kind of Lundergan.
Barr: If people work for less, corporations will make higher profits and be able to create more jobs.
Jensen: I favor raising the minimum wage to $30 an hour. That way, working people would have more money to spend and this would create more jobs.
Moderator: The next question is: Where do you stand on immigration and amnesty?
Grimes: I'm against amnesty even though I might have been for it once. By the way, I'm sorry my TV ad called Latinos "illegal aliens." I meant to call them "honored guests."
Jensen: We could call them "proto-citizens."
McConnell: Whatever you call them, would they be willing to work in the coal mines for less pay than our miners? If so, I could change my mind here.
Barr: You're right, Mitch, we need that cheap labor. But "honored guests" is too liberal a term. Let's use "indentured servants." Lots of immigrants came to America as indentured servants back before liberals began messing up our sacred Constitution.
Moderator: My next question is what would you do regarding Obamacare?
Grimes: Obamacare? Isn't that something president what's his name has proposed? I don't know how I will vote on it.
McConnell: The Republican plan is to have our mothers take care of us. Also, this would save the taxpayers a lot of money. But I would keep Kynect. It's nice to connect with a nurse when you've got a runny nose, especially if Mom's out of town.
Barr: That's a great idea, Mitch. My mother still reminds me to wash behind my ears and not eat too many sweets. She's very compassionate and says I'm compassionate too.
Jensen: I think you're compassionate about coal companies and payday lenders, Andy. I will sponsor a bill to broaden Obamacare so it covers band-aids and aspirin.
Moderator: Thank you all. My next question is: What do you think should be done to balance the national budget?
McConnell: We should have school children contribute nickels and dimes from their lunch money to help balance the budget. Maybe even quarters if we need extra money to bomb ISIS and protect our embassies.
Grimes: The government shouldn't have to pay interest on bonds and Treasury notes. Hedge funds and billionaires should be glad to loan the government money at no cost. It can be done: auto dealers give four-year interest free loans to new car buyers. Shouldn't hedge fund managers be more patriotic than auto salesmen?
Barr: We should cut wasteful spending. Bureaucrats use too many paper clips and staples. I returned $50,000 from my office budget to the government. If all members of Congress did that, we would save $26,750,000, a hefty sum.
Jensen: Andy's right, we really need to cut back on congressional perks like parking spots and special elevators. And if congresspeople had to put their own stamps on letters they send out instead of using the government frank as Andy does for $191,000, we wouldn't have to bail the post office out each year.
Moderator: Our next topic is climate change.
Jensen: I'm very worried about climate change. But when I'm elected, I'll sweat it out here in Kentucky and won't take junkets to Greenland or Patagonia.
McConnell: I also worry about climate change. I carry an umbrella even on sunny days because the weather can change quickly here in Kentucky.
Grimes: But you're seldom in Kentucky, Mitch. You've become a captive of Washington where it's always raining dollars.
Barr: It's not as hot now as it was when I was taking exams in law school. Even so, private enterprise can build a space shield to keep too much sunlight from getting to Earth or tow some Antarctic icebergs up the Ohio River to cool us off.
Moderator: My last question is: How do you stand on gun control?
McConnell: The NRA rates me at 200 percent because I get double credit on my NRA gold credit card for voting against all gun control bills. But I do believe that mental hospital inmates should have their guns locked up. They might shoot the wrong person.
Grimes: Mitch, I saw your TV commercial. You don't even know how to hold a gun. You'd never hit anyone with the barrel pointed in the air. You've got to aim that weapon.
Jensen: I don't think the police should carry guns. They might shoot someone accidently.
Barr: If householders could have bazookas and flame throwers and use them on suspicious persons, there'd be a lot less sneaking around at night.
Moderator: Now I'll give each candidate a minute for a closing statement.
Jensen: I stand for making Kentucky, our country and the world a better place.
Barr: I stand for God, the American way of life and Kentucky values.
McConnell: Depending upon who is president, I stand for getting things done or not getting them done in Washington.
Grimes: I stand for changing what should be changed and keeping what should be kept.
Bradley Canon is a retired University of Kentucky professor of political science.