Back to the salt mines.

Ed Morrissey attempts to shame me by reminding us that debates aren’t supposed to be exciting:

Real debates don’t make good public spectacles. High school debates don’t get held at stadiums or gymnasiums on Friday nights in front of massive crowds. The bands do not conduct halftime shows and cheerleaders do not appear, unless coincidentally a cheerleader is a member of the debate squad. There is a good reason for this. Real debates tend to be dull to everyone except the people involved, or those very interested in the topic under discussion.

Everyone complains when the candidates don’t provide substantive discussion of policy, but it appears that the truth is that very few people in the media are interested in a substantive debate. They need headlines and hooks, and find an actual debate on substance a waste of their time. The truth is that they don’t want a debate, because a real debate does nothing much more than compare position papers and well-established policy. They want bloodsport, a cage match in which two candidates joust to the rhetorical death, so that they can breathlessly report on every injury — and then act superior in chastising everyone for not providing substance.

He fails only because I had my sense of shame surgically moved. Piece of shrapnel tore up that nerve cluster my first tour… sorry, classical reference. Seriously, Ed’s got a point, and I’ll have to meditate on whether it’s as big a one as he thinks (we’ve got those who would argue that bloodsport was needed last night). In the meantime, back to the campaigning! From yesterday:

(Via Hot Air)

Two things about that speech: first: Obama apparently has stopped pretending that he didn’t say that he’d negotiate with leaders like Ahmadinejad without preconditions. I’d normally think that he just forgot, except that Obama was obsessive about addressing all the other issues that got under his skin last night. Second: while Sarah was probably just a touch disappointed with the debate last night, there was a difference between the two there. Obama talks at people; McCain talks to them. There’s a reason why McCain was at his warmest last night when he was talking to the NCO, while Obama’s was when he was talking about his wife.