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Political debates aren’t “debates” in any formal sense. And they’re not viewed or judged as debates.

If they were, then the clear winner Wednesday night in Milwaukee was Nikki Haley. She was prepared, logical, pragmatic, confident, quick and unafraid. And I make this assessment as someone who seldom agrees with her. But if that had been a UIL debate competition, Haley cleaned up. She had cogent points and arguments, she expressed them clearly and she backed them up with established facts. And she did that without pandering to the audience. Here’s your blue ribbon, Nikki.

But political debates are not debates. They more resemble kabuki theater performed by clunky dancers. And nobody’s clunkier than the rhythmically challenged Rhonda Santis and Mike Pence, both of whom accomplished exactly nothing. Oy.

Chris Christi started by accurately framing Trump’s conduct as “beneath the office.” Focus on the conduct, he said, rather than on the criminal charges. But Christi then spent the rest of the evening calling his own conduct into question. His endless (and scripted) insults to the admittedly clueless Vivek Ramaswamy crossed over into bullying.

Tim Scott is an interesting man. Not that anyone would have come to that conclusion Wednesday night.

And who were those other folks onstage, and why were they there? Stagehands?

“Debates” aren’t debates. They’re circuses. And as usual under the GOP big-top, the star attraction was the absent Fat Clown.

Rudy’s scowling mug shot may be my favorite photo of the 21st Century. Rudy says if all this can happen to him, it can happen to you. Not if you don’t commit serial felonies. So most of you can relax…

Judge to Mark Meadows and Jeffrey Clark. “Get your weak shit outta here.”  And then get your asses to the Fulton County Jail, pronto.

Apocryphal or not, there are stories circulating that gambling degenerates are getting down heavy on whether and when Trump will violate his bond agreement. For entertainment purposes only, I’m gonna say, “Yeah, and very soon.”

Which leaves me with a tough viewing decision tonight.

Donnie v. Fani? Or Falcons v. Steelers?

OMT. You didn’t really think Putin was gonna let all that slide, did you? Chilling.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.