"A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." That line, from Shakespeare's Macbeth, pretty much sums up last night's final -- thank goodness! -- presidential debate. Just make that TWO idiots, who spent 90 minutes reciting the same old lines, the same old talking points, the same old bullshit. People here what they want to hear, and I'm sure partisans of both Donald Trump and Crooked Hillary will be talking up their candidate's performance, but I doubt many minds will have been changed by their performances.
The debate was (IMHO) anticlimactic, given all the hype about how we should expect fireworks, surprises and general mayhem. There was less of that last night than in the second round. Credit goes to the moderator -- Chris Wallace of Fox News -- who kept a civil tongue in his head, and politely asked the audience to be quiet on the three occasions (my count) when spontaneous applause broke out following a comment by The Donald. (Example: He called the meeting on the airport tarmac between the Attorney-General and Mr Bill "disgraceful".) Perhaps some day someone will explain why they even both having an audience if they can't ask questions or express emotions. How I wish British-style heckling were part of the American tradition!
The debate was a lot of SOSO (same-old-same-old) including another recitation by Shrillery of he laundry list of women (and others) Mr Trump supposedly insulted. The Donald, to my disappointment, did not reply with what could have been a long list of women who her husband did more to than insult. When Hellery said someone needs to stand up to Donald and stand up for women, I was itching for Mr Trump to say, "Yeah, just like you stood up to your husband when he was leaving the mess on Monica's dress!" But he didn't.
When prodded by the moderator for comment on the 1000s of damaging e-mails revealed by Wikileaks, Mrs Bill Clinton made a sharp pivot. Instead of explaining or defending what was in the e-mails, she claimed that the leaks were all the result of hacking by "the Russians" in an attempt to influence the election and undermine American democracy! "Nice pivot," said Donald, and the crowd could be heard laughing.
The debate started with a comparatively civil discussion on policy disputes ranging from gun rights to abortion to immigration. Mr Trump managed to sound more presidential without appearing subdued. But the evening ended with the candidates hurling a grab-bag of accusations and insults at each other. The Donald called La Clinton a "nasty woman". She called him the "most dangerous person to run for president in modern history".
The only new controversy came on Mr Wallace's last question, when he asked Mr Trump if he would commit to accepting the results of the presidential election if he loses. "I will look at it at the time," said the candidate, citing his concerns about voter registration fraud, the corrupt media and his opponent, who he said "shouldn't even be allowed to run" because she committed a "very serious crime" in destroying 33,000 e-mails after receiving a subpoena from Congress. Pressed again on whether he's prepared to concede if he loses, Mr Trump said, "I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense."
The suspense is building already. Less than three weeks, folks, until we find out whether Donald Trump can defeat the dark forces of Hillary Clinton and all that she stands for. If not, what then? Will Walt and the millions of others who back Mr Trump pick up their torches and pitchforks and take to the streets? Let's see... How do you sharpen a pitchfork?!