The third presidential debate has come and now gone. Dispiriting. For all the verbiage that has been cascading forth for far too long, from both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, there has been precious little substance in what they had to say.
Can you conceive of a serious, sustained discussion on American foreign policy with nary a reference to, say, Europe, or Mexico, or the political, military, and moral implications of dropping drones? Similarly, can you conceive of a serious, sustained discussion on domestic policy in which the subjects of immigration and climate change and banks-too-big- to- fail are avoided altogether, and no reference is made to how entitlement programs, Medicare, Medicaid, and even Social Security will have to be cut if they are not to go broke? Hard to believe, right? Well… that’s exactly what happened. What happened is that after all these many months and after all that fulminating we still steered clear of subjects of critical importance, and tolerated generalities where specifics were required. .
Clearly the fear of failure is what drives the two candidates. Better to be a lame leader than a loser. But what exactly drives us to tolerate a presidential campaign so lacking in lucidity is more elusive. The consequence in any case is obvious: Beginning November 7th we’ll be forced to follow the winner – wherever he may lead..