I wish I had anything very trenchant to say about the debate I just sat through. It seemed to me that no one actually changed the dynamic of their own candidacies or the cogency of their own arguments. Clinton will have pleased her supporters, but I doubt she will have won over any waverers or doubters. Her more aggressive rebuttals led to a few moments of bossy screechiness, and her careful parsing of everything continued, diamonds and pearls included. By saying she wasn't playing the gender card, she played it. And so on. She grates on me more with every minute I have to listen to her. And that whole passive-aggressive crap about "throwing mud" and "Republican talking points" drove me once again up the wall. But she was better than her previous outing and the crowd was very supportive, in a rowdy dumb-liberal kind of way. She also managed to defuse her dreadful Kyl-Lieberman vote, which was quite a feat. We had one "laugh" - inappropriate, of course.

Obama was a solid B+, started strongly and then petered out. He blew the illegal drivers' license question and the polarization question. He really is uneven in these things. He didn't suck, but, at this point, he needs to keep the A grades coming to keep pressure on you-know-who. Alas, I think he just trod water. Edwards was impressive again - he can just sum up arguments, frame questions and target his opponents' weak spots like a, well, trial lawyer, I guess. But still I cannot think of him as a potential president. I liked the scrappiness of the start and found the usual high-minded reminders that we're all Democrats and deeply respect one another blah blah blah to be a letdown. But I guess I'm not a Democrat and I love watching them tear each other Clinton apart. It's quite clear to me, though, that Obama and Clinton loathe each other. When I hear people talk of a Clinton-Obama ticket, I want to know what they're smoking and get some.

There were a few fun moments. When Biden answered one question, "No", and then shut up, I began to worry about his health. When Dodd started tourettesing in Spanish, and when Kucinich insisted on impeaching Bush now, I perked up. Richardson had a bad surge answer. The Democrats had better think through the shifting sands of Iraq with a little more authority than they seemed to muster tonight.

I have to say, though, that I don't think I can make it through another one of these. Sit them down; stand them up; I don't think there's any way to make these less soporific any more. Maybe a Clinton-Obama two-some would be instructive. But it won't happen.

I guess I'm a little tired, but the Onion summed up my feelings about the campaign tonight. Tomorrow, of course, is another day.

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