What Can We Expect in the Debates?

I know the Democratic Primary season is just getting underway, and it may seem like November is an eternity away, but I've begun thinking about the 2004 Presidential Debates. Given George Bush's tendency for malapropisms and his general ignorance, and given the relative strength of any potential Democratic opponent, whether it's Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, John Edwards or whomever, how many presidential debates do you think we will see this time?

Bush doesn't like to give press conferences. He doesn't like to travel overseas or hold state dinners. His Vice President rarely comes out of his spider hole, except to raise cash at $2,000-a-head dinners. According to Paul O'Neill, Bush doesn't like to ask questions or be bothered with anything remotely presidential. He's the least presidential President we've ever had. So should we expect him to want to match wits with a Democrat in televised debates?

How many times did Bush end up debating Al Gore in 2000? Three. I recall that expectations were set so low, Bush succeeded simply by showing up and not making a complete ass of himself. Of course, it didn't hurt that Al Gore gave one of the worst performances of his political life in the first debate, and no one really watched the debates who hadn't made up their mind.

I would be suprised if we got more than three debates this year. But they should be highly entertaining, whoever gets the chance to embarass George.