1) No attention whatsoever will be paid to the real, all-party vice presidential debate in Cleveland. After all, if the vice-presidency, as Jack Garner had it, isn't worth a pail of tepid saliva, who really cares about the opinions of the also-rans for it?
That sucks. There'll be a lot of joyful weirdness there. Peter Camejo, an old commie who previously ran for president on the Socialist Workers Party's 1976 ticket, is Nader's running mate. Richard Campagna, my own party's nominee, is a devotee of what he calls "Rational Existentialist Liberty." Sartre versus Trotsky in a no-holds-barred cage match! That's entertainment.
2) The match everyone will be nodding off through will be the one at Caesar's Pala ... er, Case Western Reserve University: John Edwards v. Dick Cheney. And if any pair personifies the "bucket of warm spit" sentiment, it's this one. Nonetheless, this debate may be the first important VP moment since Admiral Stockdale's 1992 "why am I here?" performance.
My prediction: Edwards will romp. He's a trial lawyer, and he's eager to make the Closing Argument to the American public. His Rolodex Of The Mind is full of little cards cataloging every lie, prevarication, misstatement and mistake Cheney's ever made, and he'll work them all in there. With a smile.
Cheney's playing out of his league. The absolute best he can hope for is to hold the line, giving the GOP three more days of faint hope before Bush tanks with finality in St. Louis.
But that seems unlikely. By Friday, the battleground states will be turning uniformly blue and Bush's handlers will be urging him into seclusion in the hope that by keeping his mouth shut he can eke out a win, or at least come close enough for another intervention by Rehnquist and Co.