What with the number of GOP presidential candidates expanding to slightly larger than two baseball teams, several cable TV networks are in a quandary about formats for debates: How would they handle 19 people who want to be president?
CNN has suggested a top 10 grouping, and then another debate featuring those who didn’t make the cut. Of course, they could also do a debate with all 19 candidates – a typical Thanksgiving dinner for many families – and let it run three or four hours. Of course, it could devolve into an angry shouting match because a few wayward uncles and aunts had too much jug cabernet. They might stalk off and not talk to each other for months. Just a suggestion.
Another concept would be to remove the pretense that this is a presidential debate. Call it a game show, and call it good.
“And now, here’s your host, WOLLLLLLLLFFFFFF BLLLITTZZZZZERRRRRR!”
“Thank you, Johnny! We’ve got too many contestants to name them all, but we’ll acknowledge them by name in the opening round. Ready, contestants?”
“Ready, Wolf!” (in unison).
“Excellent. Here’s your first question. In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq after offering faulty intelligence about weapons of mass destruction. Knowing this now, would you, as president, invade Iraq?”
“Wolf, the answer is yes and no!”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Bush. The answer is ‘It’s Obama’s fault.’ Let’s move on.
“In 2008, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression occurred under the presidency of George W. Bush. The country has slowly crawled back to an unemployment rate below 6 percent, the stock market has rebounded and, while uneven, the economy is back on track. Who is responsible for the recovery?
“Wolf, the answer is Ronald Reagan.”
“For your supporters, yes, that is the correct answer. Walker is in the lead!
“Next question: Entitlements are a big issue for 2016. Some have suggested cuts to Social Security and Medicare as a solution. What should this country do to stabilize entitlements?
“Return to the magic of the marketplace, Wolf.”
“Regrettably, no. The answer for this primary is ‘Give more money to Wall Street bankers to throw into the wind.’
“Now let’s go to the elimination round. I’m going to ask you a series of questions, and you will exit the stage if your answer is ‘Yes.’ Ready?”
“No, wait, all of you stay on the stage. Here are the actual questions. Do any of you have remarkable, cantilevered cotton candy hair?
“So long, Trump, New York.
“Are any of you running to boost book sales or leverage TV careers?
“Hasta la vista, Santorum, Pennsylvania; Huckabee, Arkansas; Carson, Michigan. And leave again, Trump, New York.
“Are you any of you polling poorly in your home state because they’ve got your number?
“Farewell Christie, New Jersey; and Jindal, Louisiana.
“Are any of you the relation of a former president or presidential candidate?
“Buh-bye, Bush, Florida; and Paul, Kentucky.
“Are any of you captives of the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson or other billionaires?
“Auf Wiedersehen, Walker, Wisconsin; Rubio, Florida.
“Are any of you suffering from Texas Personality Disorder?
“Happy trails, Perry and Cruz.
“Have any of you run a major corporation into the ground?
“Oh, no. There goes Fiorina, California.
“Are any of you just flapping your gums about running for president?
“OK. That’s everyone, folks. We’ve got it down to one credible presidential candidate on this stage. Someone who is comfortable on stage, knowledgeable about foreign policy and has great name ID.
“I’m your host, GOP presidential nominee Wolf Blitzer. Thanks for playing!”