As a smart investor, I've been watching the continuing melodrama called the GOP Presidential Debates and trying to decide who would be good for business. As a registered Republican, while I'm at it, I also hoped to gain some insight into who best represents the heart and soul of my party.
The so-called debates haven't helped much.
A mini-series of five forums running over six-weeks between September and October, they take place in a variety of venues. My favorite was the one at the Reagan Library, which looked like an airport hanger with the Boeing 707 Air Force One presidential plane hanging from the rafters, ready to drop campaign literature on the audience, if the debate did not go well.
At first glance, the eight candidates standing on the stage look like a police line-up. You expect to hear the moderator's voice, "Candidate No. 4. Please step forward. Look to the left. Look to the right." Any moment somebody in the control room might be yelling, "He's the one who molested me in the Green Room."
These so-called debates are more like a series of dramatic presentations, like a college production of A Chorus Line, with the candidates telling us why they wanted to be President when they grew up.
The show didn't really catch fire until the premiere appearance on September 7 of the last man to throw his ten-gallon hat into the ring. The Waiting for Godot candidate, Rick Perry, had an inflammable record, and the other candidates served as a kind of volunteer fire department, wetting him down on Ponzi schemes, immunization of grade-school girls, crony capitalism corruption, and other pressing issues.
Only thing wrong with the current format of debates: you can't tell where The Gang of Eight stands on the same issue. Questions and answers bounce all over the place like a Latino jumping bean, as candidate Rick Santorum might put it.
So far, the most qualified person to be President seems to be the moderator. Wolf Blitzer, this past Monday night, struck me as the most knowledgeable about the issues, the most articulate, and the most in command in moments of stress, with the kind of attitude you would want in a President. He's also the most experienced, having served in the debates since the last century.
Don't get me wrong. You do learn something in these so-called debates. For example, judging by his misuse of Galileo to illustrate a point during the Regan Library show, I wouldn't want Governor Perry in charge of my space program. Ron Paul saying Monday night he would rather let a man die than force him to use government-mandated medicine -- while it brought the Tea Party-sponsored house down in Florida, and said something about where the heart and soul of the party might ultimately be -- gave me a chill.
By and large, I'm still undecided.
Fortunately, The Gang of Eight will try again in a third episode next Thursday night on Fox News.