Let's face it: the days of serious, hours-long Lincoln-Douglas debates, where the burning issues of the day are clearly and politely expounded to an audience who actually knew what they were talking about are long over.
Whether you like or loathe Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton - and for most Americans, it's the latter for both - their first debate was every bit the trainwreck expected. Hillary was in probably the best form of her life, lying smoothly and flawlessly with every word, and even putting on a startlingly realistic simulation of a human being. Kudos to her doctors, for sure!
And Donald Trump was... Donald Trump, a guy with more ideas than he can get out of his mouth in order, and one so easily distracted it's amazing he never actually uttered the word "Squirrel!" His fighting spirit does have a certain appeal - Trump won all the online insta-polls, though of course not the "real" polls conducted by the media and carefully over-weighted with Democrats. As one post-debate pundit put it, "Donald Trump didn't lose any votes and Hillary Clinton didn't gain any."
But you can't get an entire article out of that, at least not one worth reading. So we waited for this week's "Debate - The Sequel: Vice Presidential Edition" to see if we'd get anything better.
Alas, it seemed like we didn't. Tim Kaine's obnoxiously arrogant preening accomplished the seemingly impossible feat of making Donald Trump's demeanor appear Presidential. Indeed, we've never before seen a major-party candidate so perfectly exemplify the Democratic mascot. When the biggest result of your debate performance is Twitter hashtag #STFUKaine, you're not doing your nominee any favors.
Meanwhile, poor timid Mike Pence couldn't seem to get a word in edgewise, between Kaine's kindergarten blathering and the nakedly biased "moderator" who stomped him down every time he managed to blurt out a sentence.
As Osama bin Laden famously observed, people naturally want to side with a strong horse, and Kaine certainly came off as - well, not an entire horse, but definitely strong and unstoppable. Once again, the Democrat and his allies in the media completely bulldozed the polite Colonel Blimp. For all his erratic unpredictability, at least we have a warrior at the top of the ticket, otherwise we'd have yet another gracious Romney-style loser.
And then, the polls came out: To the shock of the media, as even the New York Times was forced to admit, Mike Pence won decisively.
Why? Not because he carefully rebutted every blast from Kaine's shotgun. Not even because he hammered Kaine with Hillary's record because the "moderator" made sure to prevent that.
He won because he provided a sterling contrast of dignified, adult, Presidential temperament to Tim Kaine's unhinged psychotic ranting.
It's been said for a long time that America is so debauched that people don't care about the issues, or courtesy, or the Constitution; they just want to see a gripping reality TV show. This election seems to have delivered that in spades.
Unlike any other country in the world - really, any other in history - our Presidential elections last for years. The Brits, for example, polish off an entire election cycle in about six weeks at much lower cost but with not nearly the entertainment value.
Only the most obsessive-compulsive political junkies will pay the slightest shred of attention for the entire length of an American campaign, and by definition they'll want something eye-catching to keep them awake and engaged.
Along about now, though - with sure enough, about six weeks left - normal people decide to lend an ear. Normal people don't want a reality show, or Jerry Springer.
No, they don't want Lincoln-Douglas either, much less William Henry Harrison, but they do expect to hear something that makes sense. That was not delivered by Tim Kaine, whose constant interruptions meant nobody could understand most of what either of them said. Focus-group voters overwhelmingly felt that he was an obnoxious jerk. As one commentator observed, "Mike Pence is winning because Tim Kaine cannot debate like an adult without interruptions."
This is all the more startling because shouting down conservatives has become standard practice of the Left. It's almost impossible for anyone even remotely conservative to get a hearing at any college campus because loony-left students ensure they can't speak, secure in the knowledge that campus authorities will stand idly by no matter what they do or what laws they break.
It's easy for the Left to forget that a majority of Americans do not hold college degrees. These are working people who are suffering most, who are completely ignored by Democrat economics if they're not content with a welfare check, and who are intending to vote for Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
And who knows, maybe they believe in old-fashioned courtesy too! This may seem a contradiction, because Donald Trump does not exactly exemplify Emily Post.
Apparently, Mike Pence does; and perhaps some portion of middle America will be reassured by his calming presence at the side of The Donald.
Let's see what side Mr. Trump presents to America in his next debate on Sunday night, now that he's seen an example of another way to win. There's not much he likes better than winning; maybe he'll pick up a pointer or two.
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.