Saturday, January 30, 2016

Questions for the Candidates: What Inquiring Minds Want to Know

I’m tired of the Presidential candidates getting softball questions.  I want to know how they’d answer the truly burning questions.  Here is a sample:

For Hillary Clinton:

            Everyone agrees that gun control, which you talk about constantly on the stump, is being stymied by the fact that the NRA throws gobs of money at members of Congress.  And everyone agrees that whenever our politicians take tons of money from a special interest group, we don’t trust them to fight that group.   You know this.  So how did you justify commonly charging at least a quarter of a million dollars per speech to various huge corporations?   How do you expect us to trust you to fight a corporation when it’s paying you that kind of money?   Do you expect us to trust other politicians who take tons of NRA money to then go on to support gun control?

            Let’s stipulate that, as one of your opponents sometimes argues, flying is an activity, not an accomplishment.  Without mentioning the act of flying, please identify your three greatest accomplishments as Secretary of State?

            During the seven years that Barack Obama has been President, the standard of living for the rich has improved substantially but the standard of living for the poor and middle class has stagnated.  Do you blame all of that on the vast right-wing conspiracy?  Does Obama bear any responsibility for that whatsoever?   What would you do differently to help the poor?

            When President Obama was agreeing to lock in the Bush tax cuts for the rich, Bernie Sanders was filibustering against this agreement and Bill Clinton was brought in to support the agreement.  Where do you stand on that issue?

For Bernie Sanders:

            You talk about helping the poor and middle class, but how are you going to do it?   Do you expect Congress to write “democratic socialist” laws?  Do you expect them to adopt a single-payer health care program given what they’re now saying about Obamacare?

Do you think you can scare Congressmen into supporting your democratic-socialist agenda?  If you won’t even take the gloves off against Hillary Clinton (see, e.g., your comment about her “damn e-mails”), why should we expect that you will scare moderate and conservative legislators into putting your platform into law? 

If you can’t implement your agenda through laws, do you really expect to do it with executive orders?  Be specific – which ones?  And how will you be able to defend these powerful executive orders against the charge that you would be abusing your powers as President?  

Why don’t you ever talk about being Jewish during debates or town hall meetings, even when people ask you about your background?  You would be the first Jewish President in US History, but you seem to have no interest in tugging at the heart strings of Jewish supporters by reminding them of your relationship to Judaism.  Why not? 

For Martin O’Malley:

            You’ve been campaigning for many months and you still get only 2 percent of the vote.  Why don’t you drop out?   How can you justify complaining so much about the small number of debates when you’re taking so much debating time away from the only two candidates who anyone thinks has a chance to win? 

            What are you fighting for that neither Hillary nor Bernie is fighting for?  What is so unique about your platform?

Realistically, are you running for President in 2016?  Vice President in 2016?  Or President in 2024?

For Donald Trump:

            Do you think Barack Obama was born overseas?  Do you think he is a Muslim?  

            You seem so obsessed with your self-image and your own greatness that you even have nice things to say about Putin after hearing that he was praising you.   You also like to talk about the inspiration you’ve received from your Christian faith.  Where in that faith do you find support and encouragement for narcissism or self-obsession?              

             How is it Constitutional to keep all non-US Muslims out of the country when the 1st Amendment says that Congress shall not make a law that abridges the free exercise of religion?

For Ted Cruz:

            If you can’t point to any of your Senate colleagues who support your campaign, how do you expect to work successfully with Congress and get things accomplished?

What views do you have that appeal to Reagan Democrats?  Moderate Republicans?

Explain your appeal to minorities.

For Marco Rubio:

            You’ve been criticized both for your failure to show up for key votes in the Senate and for your failure to develop the kind of campaign infrastructure that some of your opponents have developed.  If you’re neither voting in Washington nor developing a kick-ass campaign apparatus in Iowa or New Hampshire, what the hell are you doing?   Should Trump be calling you “low energy” instead of Jeb?

            What’s your plan to help the poor? Or the middle class?   Or to gather support from the Reagan Democrats?

            Why do you always do so well in the debates and then fizzle once the campaigning begins again?  If you are the darling of the Establishment and Trump is the devil of the media, why is he outpolling you by at least two to one pretty much everywhere, including your own home state?

For Chris Christie:

            What does it say about your judgment in selecting top advisors that your administration intentionally created major gridlock on a bridge?   If the people who you tasked with running the State of New Jersey would engage in that behavior, why should we trust you to select the officials to run the executive branch of the US Government?  In other words, if you can’t escape scandal as Governor, how can you possibly avoid a scandal-plagued run as US President?

Discuss your foreign policy experience, or at least your involvement with foreign policy causes over the decades other than simply as a politician who makes speeches.

For Jeb Bush:

            What went so wrong with this campaign?  Was it your unwillingness to separate yourself from your brother’s legacy or his former advisors?  Was it Trump’s “low-energy” charge that seemed to stick to you like glue?  Or was it something else? 

            Do you have a date in mind when, if you haven’t yet either caught fire or at least caught Rubio, you’ll drop out and throw your support to your old mentee?

For John Kasich:

            You are every Democrat’s favorite Republican candidate.  When will you admit that in this election cycle, that is a kiss of death?

            Have your staffers not mentioned that your constant gesticulations during the debates are terribly distracting?  There are enough distractions out there when you don’t have the spotlight on you. During the one percent of the time when you do own the stage, how can you afford to create even more distractions?

For Carly Fiorina:

            How dare you pander to the people of Iowa that you were rooting for the U of Iowa in the Rose Bowl against Stanford, your own alma mater?  Do you think they want the support of someone that disloyal?

For the rest of the candidates on the GOP side:

Isn’t it time to say goodbye?  

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