Clinton vs. Obama: Is Neil Peart the best drummer in the world?

Neil Peart: The best rock drummer of all time?
Fred Greissing

[A fictional transcript of the 27th debate between presidential hopefuls Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton.]

George Stephanopoulos, moderator: Before we get to some less pressing issues, such as Iraq, gas prices, and healthcare, I'd like to ask both of you a question that's on most Americans' minds these days — is Rush drummer Neil Peart, in fact, the best rock drummer of all time? Senator Clinton, we'll begin with you.

Clinton: Thank you, George. I'd have to answer that one with an unequivocal "yes." Have you ever seen this man play? He is the most proficient and creative drummer the rock world has ever seen. He performs behind a gigantic drum kit, which includes gongs and cowbells and electric pads and chimes, but none of it's for show — he utilizes every single piece with immense skill and taste. And I think you'll find that my stance on this issue is backed up by many drumming-oriented publications, as well as numerous polls that have been conducted over the past 25 or 30 years.

Obama: George, this is precisely the problem — Senator Clinton is part of the status quo. As she noted, Neil Peart has been considered the best rock drummer of all time for more than a quarter-century, but that's the old way of thinking, and I believe it's time for a change. It's time to look at some newer drummers and consider the fact that they might be just as good, or even better. I'm not arguing with Neil Peart's immense skills, but what about folks like Travis Barker or Danny Carey or Dave Grohl?

Clinton: Are you kidding me? Travis Barker? This clearly demonstrates my opponent's lack of experience and insight. They may be excellent drummers, but Neil Peart is unquestionably the best.

Obama: George, it's obvious that Senator Clinton is attempting to pander to the masses. It's no secret that no matter what kind of music you're into, almost everybody loves, or at least appreciates, Rush — from indie-rockers to metal-heads, even some rappers. And everybody knows Neil Peart is great, terrific, phenomenal. But the best? This is all simply a cheap ploy on her part to win votes from Rush Nation. But I have to say this, George — whatever minor differences there are between us on this issue, Senator McCain firmly believes that Alex Van Halen is the best drummer in rock history. And that, my fellow Americans, is fundamentally unacceptable.

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