Commenting on the recent ABC debate, Barack Obama lamented:

"Last night we set a new record. It took us 45 minutes ... before we heard about health care. Forty-five minutes before we heard about Iraq. Forty-five minutes before we heard about jobs. That's how Washington is."

Hillary's pointed and cleverly effective response:

"Having been in the White House for eight years, and seen what happens in terms of the pressures and stresses on a president, that was nothing."

"I'm with Harry Truman on this: If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Speaking for myself, I'm very comfortable in the kitchen."

Score another rhetorical point for Hillary. The mainstream media crush on Obama has spoiled him. Aspirants to the presidency should expect hostile questions. It is time to "toughen this kid up."

The other point, of course, which begs address? Obama displays a ridiculous lack of self-awareness in complaining that no one wants to talk about the issues.

Which issues?

The issue of change, perhaps? The issues of guaranteed healthcare, risk-free mortgages, peace and prosperity, national solvency combined with universal affluence, and, don't forget, domestic political tranquility? We are going to achieve all these things and the lambs are going to lie down with the lions.

But those are not issues; they are merely bromides.

The real issues, just to name just a few: reconciling our nanny-state mentality with our finite resources. Social Security? Medicare? Bailouts? How to withdraw from Iraq, decrease military spending, down-size the army, and preserve our preeminent place and relative security in a hostile and changing world? Preserving a unifying nationalism in an increasingly apathetic and individualistic nation?

In reality, Senator Obama has no intention of addressing any truly pressing dilemmas with anything more specific than a "be the change you seek."

No candidate has done more to make this an issue-free presidential campaign than Barack Obama. Not that I blame him. This is the game--and it is an old game.

For kicks, reflect on this passage concerning the Election of 1848 taken from David M. Potter's The Impending Crisis (1976):

"The ambiguity of [Democratic nominee Lewis] Cass's position might well have won him the election in a more normal year, but the Whigs showed a talent for evasion that made the Democrats seem decisive by comparison."

The Whigs of 1848 passed over their experienced party leader and well-known warhorse, Henry Clay, to tap Zachary Taylor, who claimed no prior party affiliation (and had never even voted in a presidential election), but was a newly minted war hero whose political views were a mystery to voters.

Potter again: "While the Democrats had adopted a platform whose meaning no one could be sure about, the Whigs found a way to be evasive without equivocation: they adopted no platform at all."

"After a campaign in which most participants furiously avoided the issues, Taylor...won the election."

This is the way to win the presidency!

The game has always been to tell us as little as possible about yourself without being such a blank slate that you appear dangerously ill-equipped for the office.

Zachary Taylor ran a successful military campaign in a successful war. He might be a good president. You get the picture.

We are likely to fall for this ruse from time to time.

But Senator Obama reaches another level of arrogance and duplicity entirely when he lashes out with self-righteous calumny, accusing others of doing what has, in fact, formed the bedrock of his campaign: placing personality over serious policy proposals and problem solving.