The first Republican presidential debate is set for three weeks from tomorrow and the public is already giddy with anticipation. The field of candidates who are recognized national figures or at least known to sizable constituencies rose to fifteen last week when Wisconsin's extremist and anti-union governor, Scott Walker, slithered into the race.
Fifteen somewhat viable candidates from just one of the major parties - all wanting to be President of the United States. With fifteen names already in the hat, one should assume that those wily Republicans must have the market cornered on executive talent. But then, as one begins to look at the actual candidates themselves, the assemblage quickly becomes laughable. There are no positive messages emanating from any corner of the group - just anti-this and anti-that all laced together with inflamed rhetoric and hate and bigotry.
The first question that leaps to mind isn't how did the Republican Party get so many candidates, it is how did the Republican Party get so many terrible candidates?
The lead-off debate will be on Thursday, August 6th - with at least four more to follow during 2015 and several up through March of next year. The initial debate will be hosted by Fox News and Facebook and will air from Cleveland. The sponsors decided to limit that debate to ten candidates, and the lucky contenders will be determined by averaging popularity in five national polls. Subsequent debates will have their own criteria for determining who makes it onto the stage.
The next question is how will those mud-slinging morons interact in the debates? The on-camera exchanges are likely to be funnier than any possible parodies of the debates created by the writers of Saturday Night Live.
The Republican debates should be raucous and unpredictable - and fun - a great excuse to spend a few evenings laughing uproariously in front of the television. There may even be a few winners among the gaggle of losers, but the big winner will almost certainly be Orville Redenbacher!