Don't they look pretty?

Perhaps Senator McCain will try to get under Senator Obama's skin tonight, but based on his past performance he'll probably behave collegially senatorial. Pity really, because it would be so much more fun otherwise. Unfortunately, the debate is probably just going to be a bore but the commentariat's parsing of the minutia should be good for a laugh or two.

With all the seriousness the journalistas put into their analysis, you might think something substantive is happening, but the truth is that the debates are purely for entertainment purposes. In the modern communications age, anyone with a minimal amount of drive can already get all the information about a candidate's positions through media and the Web. Barring a complete meltdown by one participant or another, the vacuous minds of the undecided voters are simply going to be filled with whatever random trash wafts through their ears before they finally make their choice based on nothing but sentiment and catchy phrasework.

By any reasonable standard, it matters not at all whether or not a modern politician is a decent speechmaker -- there are plenty of more effective ways to communicate. But voters demand these kabuki debates, obstensibly to get a "sense" of the man behind the political machine. Like a large subset of NASCAR fans, political junkies pretend that they're watching for the race but what they really want to see is a crash.