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Column: Candidates Fail To Show Differences, Consistency At Debate

This story was written by Lake Morris, The Daily Gamecock

You know what I really like? Flair and showmanship.

What could possibly be better? Moving speeches, big ideas with little follow-through, unanswered questions that appear to be answered. What more could we ask of presidential candidates?

How about some substance? How about actual follow-through and mapped-out plans of how to fix the economic crisis? How about an actual plan of action in Iraq and Afghanistan? How about health care reform that doesn't have the words "universal" and "health care" in the same paragraph? How about a simple answered question?

OK, so maybe I don't like flair and showmanship. So sue me. I like substance with my choice of president.

This is a major issue facing the moderate, undecided voters in America. It isn't the economy, the war, health care or immigration. Nope, it's actual substance in regards to those issues. Today, the game of politics has become a simple equation of being as vague as possible to deceive voters into actually thinking the candidate generally cares about the populace so he or she can advance the agenda of one's political party and his or her own self-interest.

Hate to say it, but politics is merely a game, and we are its pawns. Why do you think only a few states are being targeted? You don't see Barack Obama campaigning heavily in conservative South Carolina, nor do you see John McCain campaigning in liberal California. Elections come down to a handful of states every four years -- usually Ohio and Florida -- which has contributed to the numbers game that is politics.

Even the media are playing into the game with electoral experts predicting that if Obama wins this state and that state, then he wins the election, while McCain needs to win this state and that state and hold off Obama in the former Republican strongholds like North Carolina and Virginia.

The election and campaign doesn't even resemble logical debate, but rather a car show with two models at opposite ends of the spectrum. The voters can pick from the classic Ford Pinto with the engine in the back and the flint bumper, or the flashy 2009 Ferrari with the 22-inch rims, top-of-the-line stereo and 27" TVs on the inside. Neither really works that well. The Pinto has a lot of miles and could give out at any minute and is a scratch away from blowing its top, while the Ferrari, though shiny and eye-catching, is new and really hasn't gone through safety inspections and road testing.

I swear, if one of these cars would just show that it has a working engine, is reliable and won't break down halfway through the four-year trip, I'll gladly take out the loan and buy it -- assuming my bank is still in business.

It has gotten to the point that if one of the two would just answer a question, and not dance around the bush, I'd probably vote for him on the spot. That is, if I don't pass out from shock first.

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