Starting on September 7 there will be three major Republican debates in the month, two in October and another two to round out the year. After those there are five more debates scheduled for 2012 that run up to March 5th.

I say, however, we don’t need that many. The stretch of presidential debates coming this month will be the most important to winning the Republican nomination. This is the time in the season where a teams capabilities become apparent. In sports we look at this time as the sort out process. Any team can start out oddly hot or cold but its at this crucial time where we find who is for real and who is not. I personally think this upcoming month will weed out all the candidates the Iowa Straw Poll should have. Every major candidate has something to prove with these debates.

Perry – first national debate, he must avoid any major gaffes and must seem presidential
Romney – he has to prove that he will not be outshone by Perry or Bachmann
Bachmann – must take down Perry the same way she axed Pawlenty slowly and methodically… or at least hold her ground as one of the three frontrunners
Paul – needs to prove there is something different about this time around
Cain – must gain a second wind for his campaign to have any chance
Gingrich – needs to make his McCain turn around that he keeps suggesting, and fast
Huntsman – needs to learn how to properly scrutinize his own party without looking like a Democrat

Prediction: Romney keeps his frontrunner status because Perry’s announcement bump diminishes and he is scrutinized for the first time during the debates. Perry’s numbers also go down because of a conflict with security as he walks up to the debate stage with a revolver in hand.

Bachmann slips up in one of the debates and we all point and shout at the TV screaming our favorite Angels in the Outfield line… “I knew it would happen!” Paul, meanwhile, continues his rambling. As always, gaining roaring applause from his own followers but confusing the rest of us.

Cain tries to use even bolder statements to excite his base but his attempts make him look un-presidential and he bows out shortly after. Gingrich keeps crying about the media and we keep crying because he thinks he is John McCain. Huntsman continues to seem phony and ends up calling it quits to try and become a VP candidate. Lastly, all the candidates conspire together to slash Sarah Palin’s bus tires which keeps her away for a month.

Well, the last one was more wishful thinking than predicting.

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