“The debates are part of the unconscionable fraud that our political campaigns have become a format that defies meaningful discourse. They should be charged with sabotaging the electoral process.”
-Walter Cronkite

“Hell is empty; all the devils are here.”

-Shakespeare

MEMO FROM THE NATIONAL AFFAIRS DESKdownload (1)

DATE: AUGUST 6, 2015
FROM: KURT G. DOONESBURY
SUBJECT: THE REPUBLICANS GATHER FOR FIRST DEBATE: TRUMP PROMISES TO PLAY NICE BUT HAS TO SPEND AFTERNOON IN CLEVELAND.

All eyes are on Cleveland tonight as the nation gets prepared for the televised Republican Debate on FoxNews. Swarms of journalists and political junkies have already gathered around the Quicken Loans Arena. My friends and coworkers have already called up the local bars here in the City to see whether or not they’d be showing the spectacle and if there were still seats. “Do we need reservations? Does the cover charge cover the first drink or is that extra?”

But, should we get our hopes up? Trump has promised to play nice and the debate is being broadcasted by a network that is known for playing softball with those on their political spectrum. Might Megyn Kelly call up Jeff Gannon, aka James Guckert, up to be a special guest moderator and will he throw such curve balls such as his famous “How are you going to work with Senate Democratic leaders who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?” Who knows. But I wouldn’t be surprised. The Republicans are known for playing dirty tricks during debates. Remember Bulgegate? When that sneaky rat Bush used a radio receiver in the September 30th debate of 2004 against Kerry. White House officials initially claimed that the bulge was a “wrinkle in the fabric,” and even dragged Bush’s tailor into the fray. Close friends came forward and said their buddy was wearing a portable defibrillator after a scare choking on a pretzel. NASA scientists, however, weren’t convinced and were pretty certain that it was a receiver.

The numbers are in and have proven to be another weird twist in the early stages of the campaign. And it doesn’t look good for the majority of the seasoned politicians. But the debates might turn the tide. Trump has promised to tone it down a bit and be polite and mind his Ps and Qs. Ho ho, but it was just the opposite that won the hearts of many a Tea Partier and those fed up with Big Talk. That’s the novelty of Trump. We know politics is an unfamiliar territory to him. But we know, too, he makes for good television, the same way train wrecks are entertaining. And what does he have to lose? As of today, Bloomberg had Trump at 11 points ahead of Bush, who is still hurting from being Clinton’s punching bag for a week or so after making remarks about women’s health care. Bush was still visibly shaken during New Hampshire’s candidate forum earlier this week. Rumors have been heard, that Jeb and GW set up a mock debate in their back yard, with the older Bush giving pointers to his little brother, to a crowd of stuff animals and Barney Bush II. He’ll need all the help he can muster.

But, who really cares? Not me. I won’t be watching it. If I wanted to watch something so obviously staged and scripted, I’m not far from Broadway. Instead I’m going to leave the office and have dinner with my girlfriend and just let the mess be some punchline to a joke that I will have to read up on to understand in the morning. And we will all have to start reading up on politics and making the joke ourselves now, too, since Jon Stewart left for greener fields.

Signing out and mahalo,
Kurt Doonesbury