“I’m huge!  Someone wake him up.”

When I was in fifth grade I lost a bet of fifty cents to Bryan Owens.  I bet him that the Dallas Cowboys would beat the San Francisco 49ers in the 1981 NFC championship game.  Of course, Joe Montana and Dwight Clark had different ideas.  I learned a valuable lesson, though.  Don’t bet on things, especially if you have absolutely no control over the outcome.  You can count on one hand and have fingers left over the number of times since then that I have gambled on events.

But if I were to gamble, I think it would be fun to wager on the over/under for certain aspects for Wednesday’s Republican Debate.  Usually over/under is about stats–will the Patriots score over or under 29 points, will Lebron James have over or under 12 assists.  Things like that.  With that in mind, what is the over/under for certain things being mentioned or happening during the debate?  Keep in mind I am only referencing the main debate, not the cocktail hour debate.  The bold O or U in parenthesis is my guess as to over or under the number.

  • Email Server  O/U 4 (O)
  • Benghazi O/U 2 (O)
  • Bernie Sanders O/U 1 (U)
  • Rick Perry O/U 2 (U)
  • Chris Christie/Rand Paul argument O/U 1 (O)
  • Megyn Kelly O/U 5  (U)
  • Donald Trump says something racist/offensive O/U 3 (O)
  • Ben Carson makes a joke about surgery O/U 2 (U)
  • John Kasich says “Mailman” O/U 4 (O)
  • Scripture is quoted O/U 5 (U)
  • Donald Trump quotes scripture O/U 1 (O)
  • Kim Davis O/U 2 (O)
  • Planned Parenthood is referenced O/U 8 (U)
  • Carly Fiorina takes on Trump on an issue O/U 3 (O)
  • The word Florida is said O/U 15 (O)
  • The Iran Nuclear “Deal” is talked about (7) (U)
  • Audience “Boos” O/U 7 (O)
  • Huge O/U 21 (O)

I don’t think any of them want to mention Bernie Sanders because they want him to be the Democratic nominee.  Trump will mention Rick Perry as a “sleeps with the fishes” kind of warning for people who attack him, and I expect one of the questions might be about Perry dropping out.  As to Christie/Paul, I think there is at least a thirty percent chance that those two will arm wrestle, or at the least have some kind of physical contact.  Watch for it.  Fiorina will be feisty, particularly against Trump.  The Rubio/Bush/Florida connection might get a little nauseating.  Trump will quote scripture, probably more than once, because he realizes he needs to continue his ruse on the Evangelical vote.  Watch the quotations though, I suspect they will be out of context or weirdly applied to justify his own wealth and arrogance or his absurd immigration stance.

In terms of other trends, I think CNN will come at this with a different bent than FOX did.  I expect questions about #Blacklivesmatter, particularly to Carson and Trump.  I suspect there will be questions about the Migrant-Refugee crisis in Europe as well as more foreign policy issues regarding ISIS and Russia.  I also think that at some point a CNN questioner will say something like “Now that unemployment has dropped down to 5.1%, do you still think that President Obama’s policies are not working.”  I also think we’ll get more broad reaching questions about immigration, and that might be when Christie and Paul arm wrestle, because of Christie’s desire to build a wall between the U.S. and Canada.

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This will be a short blog—I promise.  The last blog was far too long.  Last night I watched, with popcorn in hand, but no Kool-Aid, (Jim Jones reference intended).  Half-way between I had to leave to go to a very important ministry team meeting at church with some great guys so I DVR’d the thing and finished it when I got home.  Tonight I will do the same, DVR’ing President Obama’s speech because I have a dinner party to attend.  But, for now, here are some things I noticed.

1.  Michele Bachmann did poorly.  Someone has advised her poorly and encouraged her to be ‘on message’ a little too much.  In a debate people like to see, and expect to see, a crisp, flexible, in-the-moment quality of their leadership.  Bachmann may have that, but she didn’t show it last night.

2.  Mitt Romney won the debate, by far.  He seemed together, collected, and very presidential—whatever that means.  The contrast between him and Perry was quite astounding.  Perry seemed confident but unprepared.

3.  Poor Ron Paul.  I don’t think I could ever vote for him, but I find him fascinating and interesting—and I agree with a great deal of what he says and proposes.  The “poor Ron Paul” bit is that the media just ignores him.  Did anyone else notice how he seemed to only get ‘left-over’ questions designed to make him look irrelevant?

4.  The others in the debate did very little to highlight themselves.  Santorum looked confused every time he was asked a question, Cain feels too inexperienced and naive, Gingrich was amusing but predictably belligerent, and Huntsman is boring.

5.  Brian Williams is affable enough; but the other guy from Politico was a jerk.  He seemed bent on trying to argue policy with the candidates instead of giving the candidates opportunity to differentiate their polices from their opponents President Obama.

6.  What was with the surprise questioner from Telemundo?  If you want him asking questions, then let him be on the panel—not walking on in a ‘Aha’ moment.  That seemed very forced and awkward.  Can only Spanish speakers ask questions about immigration?  If that is so, only doctors or insurers can ask about health care, only soldiers can ask about foreign policy, and only business people can ask about the economy.

7.  All the candidates and MSNBC were upstaged by the setting.  It was a real mistake to have the debate at the Reagan Library with that gorgeous Air Force One hanging over the room and Nancy Reagan right there.  It reminded everyone of two things.  One, none of those people are Ronald Reagan.  Two, we don’t need to duplicate Reagan’s policies of the 1980’s, we need someone who had Reagan’s clarity on what needs to be done.  Those are not the same qualities.

8.  Did MSNBC know this was a Republican debate?