Just as I was dealing with withdrawal from no Republican debates for 17 days I learned on Friday there would be one last night. It turns out it wasn’t a debate after all, but a “forum” in which three Republican Attorneys General questioned each of the candidates separately. There was no audience, no journalists and the candidates never appeared together. Jon Huntsman declined wisely to not attend, and Herman Cain was home with his wife.
It may have been because I was coming down with an illness, or maybe it was the format. Or, maybe, it was listening to three right-wing AGs question six candidates competing to be the most right-wing of all, but I found the event totally lacking in interest. I took two notes during the two hours. The first was that Virginia’s AG, Ken Cuccinelli, is a very effective questioner. I guess that should not be surprising given that he is an attorney general, but the same could not be said of the other two.
The second note was of a question. I thought I was listening to one of Stephen Colbert’s no-choice silly questions, but one of the AGs asked Rick Perry whether he would prefer overturning Roe v. Wade or a human life constituional amendment. I guess those are the only two choices in this gathering.
The next debate is scheduled for this next Saturday night. The real buzz in debate circles, however, is the announcement that two days after Christmas there will be a debate moderated by Donald Trump. Yes, just as one clown leaves the circus we are bringing back one of the party’s preeminent fools. Alexander Burns of politico.com reports that Ron Paul’s campaign has already said it would not participate: “The selection of a reality television personality to host a presidential debate that voters nationwide will be watching is beneath the office of the Presidency and flies in the face of that office’s history and dignity.” Burns observes that the Trump debates poses “kind of a dignity test” for the Republican field, with Paul and Huntsman already indicating they will not appear. Newt Gingrich has said he would. Would I watch such an event? Yes, although I hope it doesn’t occur because of declinations. I assume I would with the same feeling that causes people to watch “reality” television, except that this is actually reality and one of the participants could be out next President.