Cutting Through the Fog of Political War

I’ve read quite a few “what to watch for” or “why it matters” or “why ___ will win” pieces on tonight’s vice presidential candidates’ debate, and it’s obvious that the foundation is there for pretty much anybody to reach pretty much any conclusion they want, barring a media-dominating gaffe or “zinger.”

All I’ll contribute to the run-up is to repeat with greater volume than I did last week that my own live-blogging of the debate and immediate post-debate analysis will not, other than sarcastically, include terms like “energy level” or “aggressiveness” or “momentum” or dwell on either candidate’s physical appearance. I know some of these things may matter to some viewers (my own grandmother voted against Richard Nixon three times because she didn’t like his nose), but you know what? We’ve got a vast, stupid entertainment industry to tell us about “style points.” And matter of fact, I’d trust Joan Rivers’ take on all the superficial stuff a lot more than that of middle-aged pundits who are pretending to understand the perspective of Americans who think about politics less each decade than they do each day.

It’s obvious that Joe Biden needs to rip the “moderate” mask off the GOP ticket, and Paul Ryan needs to keep it on. Everything other than that is probably just a detail.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.