Senator Dick Durbin leaves the stage after answering questions about Democrats protecting President Obama's Iran deal Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais

So much for vigorous public debate of a weighty issue!

No one can say the proposed nuclear agreement hashed out between Iran, the U.S., and other nations escaped notice at home. Republicans insist the Iranians bamboozled us, a nuclear attack on Israel will follow in short order, the whole Middle East could wind up in ashes, and all President Obama cares about is his legacy as a peacemaker. Democrats say no deal at all would be a lot worse than this one.

 Thursday afternoon, Senate Dems successfully filibustered a Republican resolution rejecting the treaty, meaning President Obama won’t have to override the rejection. Anyone can follow that, right? But what’s the word on the street?

The Pew Research Center just asked around. The segment of the public with no opinion has climbed to 30 percent from 22 percent in July. If that sounds like confusion is in ascendancy, well, the truth is worse. “The share saying they have heard either a lot or a little about the agreement has declined from 79% in July to 69%,” Pew reports. “The share saying they have heard ‘nothing at all’ about it has increased nine percentage points, from 21% to 30%.” 

The effect of two months of noisy and bitter argument over an issue of monumental international importance was to reduce the number of Americans who are even aware the issue exists. Denial of this magnitude is impressive. And imagine: We’re headed into a presidential election campaign, when the candidates—if they do what the media will insist is their duty to do—will give all our great issues the same kind of raucous airing. Voters will walk into their voting booths having no idea what anyone said about anything and vote for someone they think has nice hair.