Lock your doors. There will be a Martian landing in Cleveland Thursday night. In clown capsules. It must be the real thing this time because Orson Welles has been dead for nearly 30 years.

I refer to the arrival of the hysterically heralded Fox “debate” of the people’s choices for the Republican presidential nomination. These things used to be so simple. Lincoln vs. Douglas. Kennedy vs. Nixon. Obama vs. McCain. Blah blah blah. Today, anyone with a Photo ID can run in a Republican primary. Unfortunately, many do.

They’ll be at The Q., the great hall where LeBron James, who needs no Photo ID, holds forth on many nights. The opening bell will ring on the sold-out on-stage gathering of mostly eager white guys in black suits who will appear as a lengthy bar graph. Each has already carefully prepared the zingers for not only the others in the phalanx but also for Barack Obama, whom they have yet to discover isn’t running.

For Cleveland, and the media, the public attention couldn’t have come at a better time and the city is making the most of its newly found existence. After all, the Indians have already clogged their season and reside in last place. And the Browns are consumed by turning a quarterback into a wide receiver while the coach assures us that Terrelle Pryior has a good work ethic. (Some in the high command say it might even work.) And then, of course, there is the algae curse, the debate notwithstanding.

The media have been exercising their own work ethic with extraordinary attention to an event that is more than a 15 months away. There was even a long bit of published advice to the candidates on what they must do to help their cause in the debate. Filler material, we used to call it in the biz, to assure the reader that we’re payng attention.

C’mon. Can you imagine Donald Trump and John Kasich bowing gratefully for the concern for their future, particularly with Trump running like Sea Biscuit with a flowing mane, and Kasich now all the way up to 3 pct popular approval? Besides, Kasich insists that he never reads newspapers anyway.

So what this all tells us is that the 2016 presidential race will be 97 pct. of media-kneaded speculation on the contest and a three percent evaluation of Terrelle Pryor.

You may want to find something to do on Friday because most of the pundits will be eager to tell us who “won”. Won?

 

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