The most brutal takedown in the history of presidential debates came in the 1988 vice presidential debate between Senator Lloyd Bentsen and Senator Dan Quayle. Here it is.
If you pause, you can see the very moment that Dan Quayle's will to live shrivels. One of these men became Vice President. The other became famous for delivering a brutal debate takedown.
So, about tonight...
Yeah, neither Tim Kaine nor Mike Pence are going to be doing anything like this, and even so, remember what I said about the first real debate. It ain't the debate. It's the post-debate coverage anyway. Plenty of people tuned in to watch Donald Trump pour gasoline all over himself and light himself on fire, but neither Kaine nor Pence will do that. They were both selected for being boring and safe. (Hey, I predicted it would be Pence back in April!) Neither are likely to take any risk of doing the kind of thing that will generate post-debate coverage.
Something will get covered. Likely something small and petty that cannot overshadow what is already generating coverage, like Trump's tax issues. As a political scientist, I am obligated to watch tonight. But, I don't have to like it. You have my permission not to watch this snooze-fest.