Tuesday, October 2, 2012

COMMENTARY: Questions that should be asked during the presidential debates

By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com

The Washington Post's George Will is one of my favorite columnists in America.

While I may not agree with everything he writes - he's a conservative and I'm a political libertarian - he makes an educated attempt to inform his writers on why he's right.

Arguments soaked in education and statistics are missing in today's political system and Will is the best at making smart arguments, not red meat type of stuff you see from both parties. 

Will recently cranked out a column including some of the questions he would ask in a political debate.

I liked the idea - and formed some of my own.

If I had the chance to ask President Obama and Candidate Romney some questions, these would be some of the questions.

TO BOTH CANDIDATES: How and why will your economic plans turn around America?

We get the promises about millions of jobs. We get the promises about economic growth. What we don't get is how those promises turn into reality. Why will your economic policies grow America?

How can you ensure Americans that 12 million jobs will indeed be created with your policies? Americans deserve an explanation on how exactly those jobs will be created. No talking points - no platforms.

We want solutions. Those solutions should be given in a step-by-step answer.

TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Your daughters benefit from private schooling. Why shouldn't that same opportunity be given to millions of inner-city kids?

The education system across the United States has failed too many of our poor families in the inner-city. While a school voucher system isn't full-proof, it's another opportunity for poor families to improve the educational situation for their children.

And Mr. President - you're a great story for the private education system, yourself. You benefited from it and your daughters have.

Why can't more Americans?

TO CANDIDATE ROMNEY: You have said in interviews that you would keep the "good parts" of the Affordable Care Act. Which parts?

"Obamacare," as it's called, is one of the reasons why the Democratic Party lost the 2010 election in near-record fashion. The bill was not popular and the backlash it received proved it in some ways.

Having implemented your own government health-care system while serving as Governor of Massachusetts, what would you change about Obamacare and what would you keep? Health-care is the most important issue for a segment of America and your solution needs to be made clear.

TO BOTH CANDIDATES: What role does government have in the role of the general health of Americans?

More and more city and county governments are beginning to make health awareness an important service they provide. That's the case in Wyandotte County, too.

Does the federal government have responsibility in improving the health of Americans nation-wide?

TO BOTH CANDIDATES: The national debt is now over $16 trillion. This year's deficit alone is around the $1 trillion mark. Entitlement programs and national defense take up over 75 percent of the budget alone. How can you balance the budget without either reforming entitlement programs, cutting defense spending or both?

Republicans, in general, fight hard to prevent cuts in military spending. Democrats, in general, fight hard to prevent reform in entitlement programs.

We hear about the constant need to cut "earmarks," but there's not enough discussion on those two budget items listed above. Doing the math, both need to happen to have America back on a path to financial sanity. As former President Bill Clinton put it - it's arithmetic.

Why hasn't there been more of an effort to compromise in these two areas? And what you would do as president to balance the budget? Again, giving specifics would rock.

TO BOTH CANDIDATES: We've killed Osama bin Laden. The United States, within a month, will begin its 12th year of being in Afghanistan. What's the point of remaining in Afghanistan for over two more years, again?

OK, I'll steal one of Will's questions.

Both major candidates generally agree that remaining in Afghanistan is important.

But why? I'd love to find the answer out here, because I can't explain it when people ask me about that.

TO BOTH CANDIDATES: The federal government has increased the amount of raids on medical marijuana pharmacies in the last four years. Multiple studies have confirmed that medical marijuana can help Americans who suffer from a variety of health issues. Why shouldn't government allow that to happen? And if marijuana is illegal, why shouldn't alcohol and cigarettes be?

More and more Americans are supporting the legalization of marijuana, whether it's used for medical purposes or not.

Yet, the federal government is spending millions of dollars each year "cracking down" on medical marijuana pharmacies. For a small segment of the American population, medical marijuana has helped.

Why shouldn't this option be available for Americans?

Also, alcohol has - in some cases - much worse health and social effects than marijuana does. Why are Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco allowed to prosper at the same time while the government cracks down on weed?

TO BOTH CANDIDATES: America, arguably, is more polarized than ever. You have restaurants being boycotted due to political stances. What will you do to improve the civility in America and unify the country?

No explanation needed. Last question.

TO BOTH CANDIDATES: What won't you compromise on?

Compromise can be a beautiful thing. In politics, it's a dirty word.

As president, what issues won't Obama or Romney compromise on? I would be curious to hear them.