: I just sent this to the producer at the CNBC show where I’ll be gabbing about the Veep-off as an email preinterview:

I’d say that no one will decide to vote FOR one side vs. the other based on the debate and the vice-presidential candidates. But this could make some decide to vote AGAINST.

And that is the problem with this entire election: It’s mostly about ‘against’ rather than ‘for.’

There will be the Cheney conspiracy theorists who hate or fear him and hold him against Bush.

There will be the Edwards dismissers who think he’s inexperienced and slick and will hold that against Kerry.

Each group will see each man’s ills as symptomatic of what’s wrong with the ticket and presidential candidate they don’t like.

Will that affect the vote? I doubt it. The folks who already hate Cheney hate him; the folks who don’t know but mahy get to like Edwards won’t come to like Kerry as a result.

What I’d rather see is a debate of each side’s secretaries of defense and state and treasury and such.

That would be not only entertaining, it might actually be informative and meaningful.

: The more I think about it, the more I’m guessing that Edwards will try to spend the debate calling Iraq “your war, Dick.”

: I’ll be on with John Hinderaker of PowerLineBlog and Ana Marie Cox of Wonkette. It’s on CNBC at 7p ET, I believe.