What would you ask the candidates?
The first presidential debate is just two weeks away, which means it’s high time to start dreaming up awesome questions which are far too thoughtful to be ready for primetime.
Writing for Reason, Ira Stoll suggests a number of in-depth questions with the domestic policy focus on which the first debate will focus. My favorite selection from Stoll’s collection for Romney is:
You are airing campaign commercials promising that you will generate “59,000 new jobs for New Hampshire,” “create over 200,000 new jobs for Colorado,” “create over 700,000 new jobs for Florida,” “create over 100,000 new jobs for Nevada,” and “create over 340,000 new jobs for Virginia.” Doesn’t this undermine your message that jobs are created by entrepreneurs not by Washington politicians? How can you possibly know with such fine-tuned certainty and specificity how many jobs you will create in each state?
And for Obama [emphasis added in both quotes]:
Mr. President, the Supreme Court upheld your health care law only on the grounds that the penalty for not buying insurance is a tax. Doesn’t the tax then break your promise not to raise taxes on anyone earning $250,000 a year or less? Do your tax increases on cigarettes and tanning salons also break that promise? If you’ve already broken the promise at least three times, why should voters believe you won’t break it some more in a second term?
My own top questions for the President, however, would be firmly in the realm of foreign policy and the accompanying civil liberties breaches supposedly so vital to our safety.
For a single example, let’s consider the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012. For those who aren’t familiar with it already, this part of the NDAA law allows Americans to be thrown in military prison (like Gitmo) for any length of time without any charge or trial, even on so flimsy an association to terrorism as, for instance, being a charity worker who gave food or medical aid to someone later identified as a terrorist sympathizer. This is a HUGE violation of the 1st, 5th, and 6th Amendments, not to mention habeas corpus.
While President Obama initially stated his opposition to the provision, he ultimately changed his mind and signed it on New Years Eve, a Saturday — a move which ensured that his flip-flop would get minimal immediate news coverage.
This dangerous portion of the NDAA was struck down just a week ago in court, but it’s already back after an “emergency petition” from the Obama Administration. In other words, despite his pro-civil liberties rhetoric, Obama is very keen to retain the power of indefinite detention — and he’s not giving it up without a bitter fight. As HuffPo phrased it: “Lawyers for the Obama administration are arguing that the United States will be irreparably harmed if it has to abide by a judge’s ruling that it can no longer hold terrorism suspects indefinitely without trial in military custody.” Clearly these lawyers have a, uh, unique idea of what is harmful to America.
So, here’s my question for the President:
Why did you sign the NDAA after saying that you would not? While signing it, you issued a signing statement which said your “administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.” If you have no intention of using the indefinite detention power, why did you file an emergency petition to reinstate it as soon as it was struck down? Do you or do you not think indefinite detention is constitutional and/or just?
What’re your top questions for Obama and Romney? Answers are open.
66 Notes/ Hide
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- political-chick answered: I really like your post. Please check out mine: I Was Onced a Proud Canadian
- haikuforromney answered: If armies are raised / To elect one of two men, / Why not for good deeds?
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- munkymelee answered: For both, which economists and/or economic theories do you follow? Be specific.
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- neightkelly answered: My question for Obama: Where do you get the authority from the Constitution to unilaterally assassinate individuals *suspected* of terrorism?
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- jimicowan answered: How do you win a war on terror? 1 of 2 answers: you don’t= permanent war or a defined goal with an acceptable # of US and/or civilian deaths.