I actually watched the debate last night. It triggered in me an very deep psychological reaction; I started cleaning the living room. When I was a kid, the one thing I didn't do very often is clean up my room. It's because it wasn't my room, I shared it with my two brothers. So when my mother decided it was time to scream at me, I would have to begin cleaning up other people's mess. As she'd begin her tirade, I'd fall into a fugue state knowing that there is a lot of important sounding stuff that's being said that I'm supposed to be concerned about, that really is in an overly harsh emotional tone, that really has very little to do with me, but I need to take it seriously for a couple more years.
The debate was between two pragmatists lacking vision; two sides of the same inflated coin. Neither of the gentlement demonstrated an ounce of wit that didn't sound like it was coming from a middle school playground. Watching them was like watching kids eat spinach thinking that it's going to make them into Popeye. They were so proud of themselves.
There was nothing I saw that convinced me that one would be better than the other except that the one who has been in the White House never convinced me that he did anything unusually good. The way the President slipped directly into campaign-speak was unnervingly defensive. He never quite impressed me with a one two punch of what he actually did that was snappy. He was annoyingly subtle, which suggests to me that in everything he may have accomplished there was always the proviso "It's complicated". He almost accomplished things. Moreover, his willingness to do so suggests to me that he blitzkreigs a political spin on every issue. He manages perceptions.
The dilemma of Pakistan stood out from all the other mumblings of the debate. For all of their overuse of pronouns, understatement and diffuse allusions, the fact that neither of them had a credible answer for exactly what strategy will work in that nuclear nation somewhere near the brink was rather astounding. Neither of them said 'India', not once. Nor did they name any political faction they might encourage. They seemed to agree on everything, admitting nothing.
What nobody seems to understand is that neither of these two mental giants has the capacity to direct the ship of state. It is 50 meter beast they seek to control by standing on its head and lassoing its eyelashes. We have come to the state of futility in which the most reasonable, and dubiously actionable plans to manage the budget requires more time than a President can constitutionally use.
It's time for a radical.