Watching the Republican presidential debates this season has done nothing to answer my one question of the Grand Old Party into which I was born: “Is this the BEST you can do?” Eight fawning politicians – or wannabe politicians – who have yet to put forth the intellectual skills they are offering to govern or make a single case of why we should change horses – or donkeys – here in the middle of the river.

Each of them has gone to great lengths to castigate the others while all have attacked the current president with every negative they can think of. A little attacking is fine but then the “attacker” needs to offer a better way or solution. As I watch the talking heads replay what they believe are “key portions” of each bitch session, I wait.

“Maybe now.” I say, “Maybe I missed an important point or the minute when he/she said something about governance, proposed an idea for solving at least one of our many national problems or stated an unequivocal, well-thought out position point. Maybe now.”

But such is not to be. The negative prattle continues. The bitching goes on. The whining for attention is abysmal. The tug-of-war about all sorts of social issues – which realities like unemployment, home foreclosures, wars and rumors of wars have eclipsed in the minds of most voters – still pour forth from their lips.

Not one debate – not ONE – has produced a glimmer that any one of these people has a grasp of the real duties and responsibilities of the presidency. We’ve not been given a reason to hope any one of them can do better than what we already have. As a registered Independent, I’m looking for that spark that says “I need to re-evaluate this one because of such-and-such.” So far, it hasn’t come.

When I was learning about arctic survival techniques in the military, one of the key points hammered into our heads was, all things being equal, “before you leave the where you are, make sure where you’re going offers better than what you have if you stay put.” By that, the instructor meant safety, cover, security, access to food and water or drier – if not warmer – conditions. I’ve used that advice through a long life as I looked at employment, home selection, making major purchases, even relationships.

Haven’t you ever made a move, bought something, changed a relationship or started a new job only to say later, “I wish I’d stayed right where I was?”

Well, that’s where I am with these debates. If you weed out the book sellers, the self-aggrandizers, the publicity seekers, the know-nothings, the ones trying to increase their future speaking appearance fees, there isn’t much left. Either I’m looking for someone in the Republican Party that doesn’t exist or my requirements for better than what we have are too high.

Again, as part of the great detached – those registered and unregistered Independents all the candidates are supposed to be courting – the GOP/TP had better come up with a savior before the filing deadline; someone that eclipses the current herd. If none such rides upon the scene, a lot of us middle folk are going to stay right where we are.

And that means, given the necessity of having our votes in their pockets if they want to win, none of these time-wasters is going to pose a household moving threat to the current First Family in 2012.


P.S. Seems Gov. Perry has now decided – following several miserable appearances on his part – he thinks all the presidential debates are a “waste of time.” Despite conclusive proof he’s wrong, he says the media is “running them just to create controversy.” He says he has better things to do with his campaign time.

Question: If, by some unexpected twist of fate, he becomes the GOP/TP nominee, how will he handle general election debates with the current President? If he can’t make a decent showing against Bachmann, Romney, Paul, Cain et al, what will he do when faced with the man in the White House – someone with top notch communication abilities far beyond what he’s been dealing with?

Maybe the other Republican candidates should give the Texan back his bat and ball and let him go home. According to current polling, he won’t be missed.

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