Sarah Palin by and Joe Biden by Jemal Countess/ Sarah Palin by and Joe Biden by Jemal Countess/

Warning: Political cynicism ahead!

Let's face it: Presidential political discourse operates in cheap sound bites and generic platitudes. They all talk about lowering taxes, creating jobs and protecting your interests using empty buzzwords to convey nothing. It's enough to drive a person to drink.

(Light bulb)

Hey! Wait a minute!

...And thus, we invented a drinking game for Thursday's vice-presidential debate between Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin. (The debate aired live at 9 pm/ET on pretty much every tee-vee network there is.)

The rules were simple. You were to take a drink....

If Biden:
" refers to John McCain as "a friend" or someone he respects just before trashing him.
" tries in any way to justify the complete failure that is Amtrak.
" has to explain what his son did for a living after law school.
" say any of the following: "climate change," "biofuels," "green," "ethanol," "drilling," "Big Oil," or "Bridge to Nowhere."
" refers to Palin's recent interview with Katie Couric.
" exceeds his time limit.
" mentions the number of years of experience he has.
" makes any allusions to the pregnancy of Palin's daughter Bristol.
" displays righteous anger.
" suggests a title for Larry Flynt's Sarah Palin-themed adult film.

If Palin:
" invokes McCain's POW history
" mentions her husband or any of her children by name (make it a double if she says "Track in Iraq").
" says any of the following: "pitbull," "lipstick," "hockey mom," "Joe Six-Pack," "maverick," "barracuda," "glass ceiling," or "plagiarism."
" says "gosh," "gee," "golly," "darn," "heck" or any other homespun curse euphemism.
" evades answering a question.
" cries poverty.
" is actually carrying a firearm.
" cites Russia's proximity to Alaska or talks about her great love for the state of Israel in response to a question about foreign policy (been there, done that!).
" mentions by name any animal species native to her home state.
" is wearing a suit that costs more than her plane.

If either candidate:
" says any of the following: "change," "God," "hope," "Beltway," "insider," "lobbyist," "energy," or "Bush."
" says "Delaware" or "Alaska" in a funny accent to sound folksy.
" invokes the specter of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
" actually curses.
" says "Wall Street" and "Main Street" in the same sentence.
" uses hyperbole to talk about the current financial crisis.
" says, "Let me finish."
" mispronounces the name of a world leader.
" milks the crowd for applause.
" mentions Tina Fey.

If Gwen Ifill, the moderator:
" betrays her mainstream-media bias (warning: may cause blindness).

How many times did you raise a glass? Also: Vote! - Mickey O'Connor