BOSTON (CBS) – Tonight’s the final US Senate debate between Republican Gabriel Gomez and Democrat Ed Markey, and I think we have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen, don’t we?

Markey will paint Gomez as a sort of right-wing Rambo gone off the deep end, eager to slash benefits for vulnerable seniors and distribute the savings to greed-crazed oil barons.

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In return, Gomez will describe Markey as a clueless, feeble old carpetbagger out to bleed the private sector dry to fund left-wing social-engineering fantasies.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Markey will counter by casting Gomez as what Karl Rove would look like if he were a Navy Seal.

Gomez will rebut by reaching beyond his description of Markey as “pond scum” to portray him as “organic waste.”

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Most of the voters will recoil in disgust from the entire spectacle, and thus, yet another opportunity for serious discussion of serious problems will be lost.

If you think debt and deficits are important, it’s hard to imagine you feel well-served by the Markey campaign’s schoolyard mocking of Gomez’s perfectly reasonable claim that major tax breaks like the mortgage interest deduction should be part of the budget-balancing conversation. President Obama has taken the same position, and is also with Gomez on changing the way Social Security benefits are calculated, another attack point of Markey’s.

If you believe lobbyists have too much clout in Washington, you are likely appalled by Gomez’s insistence on stale ideas like term limits and congressional pay cuts that would give unelected power-brokers more sway over the nation’s business, not less.

The sad thing is, both Gomez and Markey strike me as pretty good men, capable, and well-meaning.

So why has their campaign devolved into organic waste?

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Jon Keller