By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Aug 06, 2015 at 9:03 AM

The opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, its advertisers or editorial staff.

Can you stand the excitement?

Are you holding your breath?

Are you going to take a nap so you don’t drift off to sleep?

Tonight is the culmination of weeks and weeks of one goof after another announcing that they are all going to run for the Republican nomination for president.

Tonight they face the cameras and each other in the first presidential debate, this one sponsored by the famous Republican lackey network Fox News. Just so people know I’m not biased, I think MSNBC is a lackey for the Democrats.

There’s a few things to understand about tonight. These events bear absolutely no resemblance to a real debate. They are just a simple chance for candidates to repeat scripted phrases about every issue imaginable from gay marriage to defense spending to hairstyles (Donald Trump has weird hair  and Scott Walker is going bald).

The sole goal of each candidate is to not make a mistake that could sink a campaign even before it starts. Anyone remember Rick Perry going "umm" when it came time for him to name the third agency he was promising to abolish?

Keeping in mind that this whole thing will resemble less a summit of dignified potential leaders and more a "A Confederacy of Dunces" (the title of my favorite book of all-time).

There are two other important things to know.

The first actual votes in this parade are six months away, when Iowa Republicans go into a caucus. Six months. Anybody who knows anything about public opinion polling knows full well that the current polls, reported breathlessly each time a new one comes out, mean absolutely nothing. Nothing.

The second thing to know is that only one (maybe two) of these 10 guys actually has a chance to actually be President of the United States.

That would be Jeb Bush, brother and son of former presidents and a former governor of Florida.

He also has an unbelievable war chest of money and is driving a cash steamroller designed to force all the pretenders to move to the sideline. Or the locker room. Or the spectator stands.

Bush has broad appeal, with the possible exception of the crazed right wing of the party. Those people don’t like anyone who has even a nodding acquaintance with the middle of the road.

That’s why so many of them like our very own, the wayward child of Wauwatosa, the true believer in every right wing cause that comes his way, Scott Walker.

Walker’s strategy so far in this election has been to ignore the fact that there are other people running for the same thing he’s running for. When people ask him about anyone else, his response is that whatever the other guy says is okay, Walker is just going to keep on "fighting for the voters."

There are two big problems with that strategy.

One is that if he doesn’t answer the attacks, they will begin to pile up and pretty soon people will have no choice but to believe it when one of the candidates says that Walker is in favor of gay abortion, women’s rights, the right to unionize and eating American cheese on cheesesteak sandwiches.

The other problem is this whole "I"m a fighter thing."

Walker doesn’t seem like a fighter. He seems like kind of a cub scout. He’s way too clean cut for a fighter. He has no dirt under his fingernails. He smiles too much. He never looks angry. He never rips anybody.

Walker is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Or a sheep in wolf’s clothing. You get the idea. He may think he’s a fighting force, but he has yet to prove he can win a battle. Everything he has done has been with the complicit love of lawmakers who will pass anything he wants.

So, let’s pop the corn, put our feet up, grab a beer and get ready for one of the great charades of the modern television age.

It’s hard to know what’s more important, tonight’s debate or the next season of "The Bachelorette." It’s pretty close.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.