As I was leaving Boston, I was thinking about how this year's campaign stacks up to the one four years ago and I came to an awful realization. Suddenly I couldn't remember what the last campaign was about. Quick now, can you? I remember there was a lot of talk about putting the Social Security money in a lock box, and whether Al Gore invented the Internet, and did George Bush know the president of Pakistan was. But what was the campaign about?
And then I remembered it wasn't about anything, except maybe who could make the nastiest campaign commercials. Certainly it was not about the problems that the country has faced over these past four years. If anyone in that campaign on either side talked about foreign policy or terrorism for more than a minute or so, I missed it.
No surprises there. Pollsters have been telling candidates for years that voters don't care about foreign policy unless there's a war, so they don't talk about it, or much else of substance, if they can get away with it.
Well, whatever else can be the said about it, that will not be the case this time. For the first time in a long time, we're going to have a campaign about real issues and the candidates will be forced to talk about them. That's how it ought to be. The tragedy is it took a war to get us there.
By Bob Schieffer
Copyright 2004 CBS. All rights reserved.