Mitt Romney the Agree-er showed up at the final Presidential debate, replacing Moderate Mitt from the second debate and Angry Smart Mitt from the first. Its difficult to keep track of so many multiple personalities - believe me, as a psychologist I know. But this is now the "substance" (sic) of US politics - appearance.
We have just a few days to go. Those few who intend to vote have decided what they are going to do and many have already voted in the early polls. The so-called undecided are either hoping to get credit with Direct TV or some other retailer, or they are playing the pundits at their own game.
In the new politics, the last thing to be discussed are issues and policies. Mitt the Deceiver's so called five point plan is no closer to a plan than a Mars bar wrapper. Obama's plan for the future is akin to all his plans: sounds great until you ask "what will you actually do, when and how?".
The working campaign assumption is that you can fool most of the people all of the time and that those who pay attention to policies, data and trends wont vote, except on the basis of party loyalty. Opinion polling data supports this kind of assertion.
So what is this election all about? Nothing. Nothing will change but the suit and the person wearing it. In a Romney win (looking increasingly possible), expect lots of talk and a hope that the confidence fairies pour their magic dust over the economy and that 95% of economists will be proved wrong and 12 million jobs will be created in 48 months (do the math!). Climate change will stop and, best news of all, Barry Mannilow will retire.
Meantime, congress will remain dysfunctional, inept and ineffectual. Distractions will abound and the core business o government will drift just as much under Romney as it has done under Obama.
If Obama wins, expect even less. He appears to have no burning ambition to do anything other than survive and make "Obamacare" work. Not a major agenda. Yet the global economy is falling apart, Iran could go "bang"at anytime and the US economy is broken (as is Congress). Do we expect courageous leadership from Obama - no. Do we expect inspirational leadership - on the odd day, periodically, with a following wind. Do we expect the US to address its challenges - no.
It is all very disturbing. A nation who believes itself to be the strongest and most innovative nation on earth cant produce leaders who have courage, conviction and followership that will lead to change – change you can believe in.