Here’s what the vigilant viewer of Tuesday night’s debate would have learned: You should vote for the Kerry-Edwards ticket because John Edwards’ old man used to learn math off of the TV. Dear Diary: Went to a vice presidential debate Tuesday night and an “Oprah” show broke out.

Too bad Mr. Edwards didn’t teach his son John that $119 billion (money actually spent on the Iraq war so far) does not equal $200 billion (money John Edwards claims has been spent on Iraq war so far), or that 700 Iraqi military deaths (actual number of Iraqi deaths in war to remove Saddam Hussein) is greater than zero (number of Iraqi deaths acknowledged by Edwards).

After Dick Cheney had beaten Edwards about the head for a while during the debate, Edwards waved his girlish hands and said: “There are 60 countries who have members of al-Qaida in them. How many of those countries are we going to invade?”

The Democrats’ silver-tongued boy thought he had made a very clever point. In fact, I believe this is the first time we’ve gotten any Democrat to admit that the entire al-Qaida terrorist network is not living in a narrow mountainous path between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Democrats are now on the record: 60 countries harbor al-Qaida. But apparently the one nation that had managed to entirely purge itself of all al-Qaida members was Iraq – under the great statesman Saddam Hussein! Iraq is the only country in the world liberals believe was hermetically sealed from al-Qaida.

Not only would the Democrats not have attacked Iraq, they would have given Saddam Hussein an award for having so thoroughly rid his nation of al-Qaida members. (And I know these Democrats are very proud of their superior manicures, but someone should tell Edwards to keep those girlish hands down.)

When asked to comment on the Israel-Palestinian conflict during the debate Tuesday night, Edwards had another personal story:

Now, if I can, just for a moment, tell you a personal story. I was in Jerusalem a couple of years ago, actually three years ago, in August of 2001, staying at the King David Hotel. We left in the morning, headed to the airport to leave, and later in the day I found out that that same day, not far from where we were staying, the Sbarro Pizzeria was hit by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed. Six children were killed.

A strange psychological compulsion compels some people to inject themselves into all historic events. On cross examination, it generally turns out they were not actually in New York City on 9-11, but had visited New York a week earlier. They did not march in Selma, but knew someone who knew someone who did. They were not near the Sbarro Pizzeria, but in the same country where it happened.

John Edwards managed to turn the deadly bombing of the pizzeria into another story about himself. On the basis of his brush with death, Edwards concluded: “What are the Israeli people supposed to do? … They have not only the right but the obligation to defend themselves.” (The scariest part of the story was that Edwards just had his nails done at the manicure place next door to the pizzeria that very day!)

So are we to surmise that if Edwards had not been at the King David Hotel the day the Sbarro Pizzeria was blown up, he would not think Israel has a right to defend itself?

Cheney did not need to stay in the King David Hotel to know what to do about ruthless suicide bombers. He said: “With respect to Israel and Palestine, Gwen, the suicide bombers, in part, were generated by Saddam Hussein, who paid $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers. I personally think one of the reasons that we don’t have as many suicide attacks today in Israel as we’ve had in the past is because Saddam’s no longer in business.”

Edwards lamely boasted, “I would find terrorists where they are” – but not in Iraq, the one nation miraculously free of all al-Qaida terrorists – “and stop them and kill them before they do harm to us.” For some reason, Democrats always feel the need to proclaim that they would kill terrorists too – just like they must constantly proclaim their support for “the troops.”

Edwards expressed his support for “the troops” by describing the brave men fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan – the war liberals claim to support – as evidence of America’s decline. In his rousing closing statement – about himself again – Edwards said, “Here’s the truth: I have grown up in the bright light of America.” (Technically, it was the not-such-bright-lights who sit on juries that turned Edwards into a multimillionaire trial lawyer.)

“But that light is flickering today,” he said. (Or is that the light from the tanning salon?) As evidence of the flickering light of America, Edwards said: “You see it when you sit at your table each night and there’s an empty chair because a loved one is serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.” How precisely is the Kerry-Edwards team going to “find terrorists where they are and stop them and kill them before they do harm to us” – if no one is going to be away from the dinner table doing the capturing and killing?

It’s very confidence-building that the Democrats’ argument for replacing the current team in the White House during a battle for America’s survival is Edwards’ capacity to recite the first draft of a Hallmark card inscription about flickering lights.