In public, politicians mostly get away with spouting talking points and clamming up about questions that really matter.
When Clinton was asked if she agrees with Trump's approach to terrorism and immigration, she confidently replied, "This is a serious challenge. We are well equipped to meet it. And we can do so in keeping with smart law enforcement, good intelligence and in concert with our values."
That's meaningless! Do we have "dumb" law enforcement now? Bad intelligence? What will Clinton do about it? She doesn't say. Reporters don't ask.
When Trump was asked how he'll handle terrorism, he replied, "I am very unhappy when I look at the world of radical Islam. I'm very unhappy with it. We're going to find the problem and we're going to come up with a solution. Obama could never come up with a solution. Number one, he's incompetent. And number two, the solution just is never going to be out there for him."
Trump wants us to trust that he has the solutions. He'll give us details later, I guess.
The media should talk more about the Clintons' foundation. It's raised billions but gives little to outside charities — a measly 6 percent of their assets, according to the foundation's last filing. It's apparently a "pay to play" operation; donors get meetings with Clinton — Clinton family cronies get well-paid jobs.
Neither candidate wants us looking too closely at their financial records. But both leading candidates say we should trust them with money and power.
Clinton promises more than $1 trillion in new "investments," free day care, maternity leave, an expansion of Obamacare, more funding for veterans, new solar subsidies, new bridges and tunnels and "college, tuition free!" Then she says, "We're not only going to make all these investments, we're going to pay for every single one of them!" But that's absurd.
Sometimes she says money will come from new "taxes on the rich," but America's rich aren't rich enough to fund her grand schemes. Even if they were, they'd move out of the country or use tricks to evade her high taxes. Even The New York Times admits that Clinton's tax plan adds "so many new layers of complexity" that it would "be a huge boon for tax lawyers."
Trump is as bad, promising tax cuts and new spending on the military, infrastructure and that giant wall. Other than promising that Mexico will pay (it won't), he never says where he'll get the funds.
The biggest chunk of America's budget is entitlements: Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid. Trump never talks about making those benefits sustainable — in fact, he says he "won't touch" Social Security.
Clinton rarely talks about entitlements at all.
Since we're $20 trillion in debt, you'd think journalists would press candidates to explain how they'll pay the bills. But they don't.
So the candidates talk and talk, and there is so much they don't say. Neither candidate will say much about how huge government bureaucracy has gotten. They never talk about the Constitution and what it says presidents cannot do. They almost never talk about the horrible violence that drug prohibition causes.
Instead, we get promises. Trump "will make American great again." Clinton will "get your kids the opportunities they deserve." Platitudes. But voters prefer them to ugly truths.
If you look at the details, you realize the candidates can't be trusted to do very much. Our government is already broke. Someone should level with the public about that instead of promising new free stuff.
Both leading candidates hide from the truth. It's one more reason I'll vote Libertarian. Gary Johnson has looked dumb when he's been asked about foreign affairs, but he does say what needs to be said about Social Security, Medicare, our ruinous debt and the limits of government.
Those are not popular things to talk about. But presidential candidates ought to talk about them anyway.