We Can Hardly Wait

Hayden Hollingsworth
Hayden Hollingsworth

Well, thank goodness! It’s almost here . . . the debating season has arrived. We have been waiting with bated (should that be spelled “baited?”) breath for the candidates to share the truth that each one alone has had revealed to them. I don’t suppose the oracle of Delphi has been so busy dispensing wisdom for centuries. Even the democrats have mustered a modicum of interest although it is definitely minor league compared to the GOP.

Here are few tips that will aid in watching the first of these TV extravaganzas. First of all, eye blinks. The frequency of blinking one’s eyes while answering a question is inversely proportional to the nervousness of the respondent. Although we have not had a chance to fully access this in all the candidates the all- time winner is Jim Gilmore who set a record while thrashing through his brief stint as chairman of the Republican National Committee: 193 blinks in one minute.

Interruptions are part and parcel to the debate process and no one has the experience of The Donald in that department. Whenever possible the candidates will roll their eyes in disbelief at the stupidity of anyone else having the floor. Body language can be as revealing as actual words. Recall Rick Perry bounding to the microphone looking for the entire world as though he was emerging from the phone booth. An over-display of confidence by pretending to be Superman is worth the loss of style points.

At the other extreme, any suggestion at humility is equally damaging. If you don’t have an ego the size of Texas, that candidate would be better off watching re-runs of old movies on Turner Classics rather than posing as the only possible choice for President.

A favorite technique by every candidate is not answering the question posed, but substituting an opinion that he has already made but feels the public in our inattention will not remember that it was beaten to death weeks ago.

Opening and closing statements, of which there will be 20, will be examples of political legerdemain designed for those of us who believe in the tooth fairy. When we get through all the commercials, don’t be surprised if the time adds up to about a third of the whole show. Rest assured there will be no ads about the dreaded disease of ED. If testosterone levels could be estimated by their own judgment everyone would score a perfect 10.

Not to cast aspersions on the questioners, but we can be grateful that all the debates will not be on Fox or MSNBC. I suppose the number of candidates has prompted such an early start. After the novelty wears off after a couple, I wouldn’t be surprised if the ratings don’t plummet.

One thing on which all 17 candidates will agree is that the current administration is solely responsible for the death of civilization as we know it. Not to mount a defense of the donkey party, but one would do well to remember that FDR was considered the devil incarnate during his first term and George Washington was thought to be senile if not insane during his second term.

Levity has found its way into the mix. Some wag said the entire process sounded as though it was being scripted by Saturday Night Live. I believe there is room for further entertainment here. A circus band and a VW bug disguised as an elephant streaking across the stage and ten candidates pouring out into the ring would be a crowd pleaser. Even better, give everyone except The Donald a banana cream pie then have the audience vote for who tossed the most direct hit.

We must not lose sight of the fact that this is serious business. An obvious but unstated fact is that if there were single and simple answers, they would have been discovered long ago. Is it too much to expect the candidates to just say what they believe rather than sculpt sound bites hoping that will resonate with genuine understanding and wisdom? The real danger is that the GOP will self-destruct before the democrats have even decided to nominate somebody.

In the words of the late great Dizzy Dean: “Don’t fail to miss Thursday’s game.”

– Hayden Hollingsworth