Sixteen of the GOP Presidential candidates will be appearing on CNN on September 18 for another round of “debates.” This time the showcase of GOP lack of ideas will be hosted by Nancy Reagan, who was quoted in USA Today saying that “Debates are a crucial part of the election process, and I’m thrilled that so many qualified candidates have the opportunity to be heard at the Reagan Presidential Library.”

The event is full of irony all around. First of all, consider the location. Ronald Reagan, conservative as he was, would be considered left of Barack Obama, today. Among other things, Reagan signed off on regulations that ultimately provided the foundation for Obamacare, including the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, prohibiting hospitals from turning patients away on the basis of insurance and citizenship – then, expanded Medicaid in order to cover the costs.  President Reagan also signed a bill providing amnesty for illegal immigrants as well as legislation prohibiting civilians from owning military-style assault weapons. It makes one wonder what planet today’s GOP members were living on during the 1980s.

The second irony is Ms. Reagan’s statement about “so many qualified candidates.” At age 94, the former First Lady is, by all reports, an intelligent and thoughtful woman. Given that, we have to wonder if she actually saw last week’s train wreck that put the ignorance and stupidity of today’s GOP on display for the entire world.

At least comedians can look forward to getting more material from what is certain to be yet another tragicomic farce.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.