"pretend the Windows 8 Tablet Mode never happened"
Unluckily, it worked very well in tablet mode, unlike the Window 10 "tablet" mode which is a kludge. Of course it didn't work well at all in desktop mode.
Why the mighty Microsoft can't deliver and switch between two different UI experiences, each tailored for a different input, instead of trying to force one to adapt to the other, every time delivering a subpar experience?
Maybe if it stops trying to deliver the next API incompatible with all the previous ones - but if you want something usable you still have to call Win32 one, it could free resources to deliver it.