The United States does not have presidential debates in any realistic sense of the word. It holds quadrennial joint appearances by major-party candidates who have been schooled in the art of saying little of consequence in the most absurdly aggressive way. And Americans will be served a full helping this evening… But the likelihood that it will matter is slimmer now than ever. That is because presidential debates have become the political equivalent of a classic rock radio station. You’ll hear all the hits, and maybe even a few obscure tracks that you’d almost forgotten. But the whole point of the Barack Obama’s appearance will be to say nothing that harms himself and everything that harms Mitt Romney, just as the whole point of Romney’s appearance will be to say nothing that harms himself and everything that harms Obama.

Mitt Romney, yesterday:

We simply can’t have a setting where the teachers unions are able to contribute tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of politicians and then those politicians, when elected, stand across from them at the bargaining table… I think we’ve got to get the money out of the teachers unions going into campaigns. It’s the wrong way for us to go.

So Mitt’s got absolutely no problem with billionaires buying elections, but working people participating in the political process is apparently a bridge too far.