I know that presidential candidates have to make themselves seem invincible to win elections, but it is still depressing to watch. If hell freezes over and I ever became a presidential candidate, I imagine blowing the election in a debate something like this:
Moderator: "Mr. Croxton, when will your administration get unemployment below 6%?"
Me: "No, not my administration. The president doesn't determine who works and who doesn't. That's a decision made by millions of private individuals."
Mod.: "So you think the government has nothing to do with the economy?"
Me: "Of course not, that would be absurd. The federal government can do a great deal to hinder economic activity, and it can do a little to promote it. But it makes no sense to speak of a president 'getting unemployment below 6%.'
I will not promise what the unemployment rate would be because it is out of my control. I will also not promise a certain rate of growth in the economy, or a rise in morals or personal happiness. The president has only the vaguest influence over all of those.
I can't even promise that crime will go down or that violence against America will cease, but I will promise that I will do everything possible to make sure we prosecute criminals and defend the country against attackers.
Moreover, even the things I can do, I can't do all at once. I will strictly limit the number of things that I promise to do on 'Day One' of my presidency. I will keep a list and make sure I can do every item on it. Some things will have to wait until day two, or three, or fifty-six.
Most of the things a president can do by himself are very limited. Congress is the most important branch of government, and as president I will not try to usurp its role. I will continue to propose laws and submit budgets as other presidents have done in the last century, but I will not act as though Congress has a responsibility to do everything I want, and I will not now promise to do things that I know only Congress can do."