Perhaps Brit Hume, Chris Wallace and Wendall Goller will use tonight's debate in Columbia, S.C. -- 9 PM EST, 6 PM Pacific-- to push the candidates, even the marginal ones, on what a nuclear Iran means for the world and whether or not they would accept such a development if it threatened to occur on their watch. One way to frame the question: "If President Bush announced that the U.S. with or without its allies had struck at Iranian targets in response to reliable intelligence that Iran was close to becoming a nuclear power, would you support the president's decision given past problems with our intelligence but recognizing the dangers in a nuclear Iran?"Good question.
A follow-up: "What would you expect the reaction of Iran to be to such strikes? How would you deal with it if president?"
We could probably do just as well with three judges (say, Rush, Katie Couric, and Hitchens as the snide, Simonesque Pom) and a call-in vote as with the rapidly crashing primary system. Tonight: riffs on foreign policy. Next week: riff on your sex life. Two weeks from tonight: health care (Zzzzzzzz . . . )
An idea reminiscent of Buckley's remark that 435 people chosen at random from the phone book would do as well as our elected Congress.