By Dan Miller
October 16, 2008
Each of the three debates was, frankly, a rather uninspired parroting of points, catch phrases and rhetoric we've heard a lot during this extremely long campaign, stretching all the way back to when my head contained slightly fewer gray hairs.
But that's really all these guys can do.
They can't come to physical blows.... that wouldn't be the American way.
They can't call each other obscene, ugly names.... or whip out compromising photos of one another.
So they make promises of stirring things that probably can't, in reality, be fulfilled by any one person, even a president.
And each tries to convince us that we should be appalled by the trail of mistakes and broken promises made by his opponent.
During the debates I never heard a real honest-to-goodness "eureka line" that will echo through the years.
There was no "You're no Jack Kennedy" comment...
No "Read my lips" moment...
Not even a "There you go again" that served Ronald Reagan so well.
The best zinger of the night had to be John McCain's quip, "If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago."
It was a really good line, though I think it amounted to little more than an air jab, with no damage to Obama.
The truth is, most promises made during presidential campaigns turn out to be "air jabs" in a sense.
Remember when George H. W. Bush promised no new taxes?
Remember when Lyndon Johnson promised to win the war on poverty?
Remember Richard Nixon promising to quickly resolve the Vietnam War?
Remember hearing about how Franklin Roosevelt promised to keep our country out of World War II?
Remember George W. Bush pledging that the U.S. military would not be used for nation building?
Remember Bill Clinton pledging universal healthcare?
Presidential campaign promises are purposely never chiseled in stone.... they're always subject to revision.
Perhaps the best payoff from these debates is a little insight into the character, decency and human qualities of the candidates.
Who lifts you up and inspires you?
Who makes you feel good about our country's future, and your own?
Maybe it's all just a feeling.
Maybe it's as simple as that.