On The Firing Line, Mostly Blanks

Seven Democrats emerge as Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time Players

As makeup artists worked feverishly backstage at Houston's Wortham Theater Center, seven Democrats gazed into the double mirrors of their slate-gray dressing rooms, and each saw the next President of the U.S. Minutes later, the politicians were seated in leather chairs for the first debate of the too much, too soon 1988 presidential season. So what if their host and chief inquisitor was Conservative Columnist William F. Buckley Jr., who took puckish delight in presenting the Democratic lineup on a special two-hour edition of his TV show, Firing Line? These were seven candidates in search of an audience -- and they...