The media continues to trivialize our politics by treating the presidential campaign as though it were a board game in which gaffes, scandals, missteps and debate zingers all get tallied up to delight the talking heads and newspaper columnists. Meanwhile, the voting public wishes they'd grow up and start doing their job. They can begin by pressing the candidates to answer some urgent questions and holding their feet to the fire until they do. Here are four questions with which each candidate should be confronted at the earliest opportunity, and they should be badgered with these questions every time they make a public appearance until they answer them:
1) The National Intelligence Estimate notwithstanding, the consensus seems to be that Iran is still engaged in the production of a nuclear device. The Iranians have threatened to use such a weapon against Israel once they have it. What will you do if Iran (or North Korea, for that matter) persists in pursuing a nuclear weapon? Please do not answer that you will sit down and talk with their leaders. The question presupposes that all such diplomatic efforts have failed. How far are you prepared to go to stop Iran or North Korea from obtaining a nuclear weapon?
2) The sub-prime mortgage crisis and the falling dollar have placed us on the verge of a global economic recession. What, precisely, will you do about the crisis we are facing? Please don't answer with platitudes about "hope" and "change" and "yes, we can". What measures will you take, that the Bush administration has not taken, to fix the problem?
3) Illegal immigrants are flooding into this country and placing enormous burdens upon our schools, hospitals, justice system, and welfare system. What, if anything, do you propose to do to stop the flow of illegal immigration? Please be specific. Telling us that we must secure our border is vague and unhelpful. Please state exactly what you propose to do, if anything, to secure the border.
4) Please name a Supreme Court justice, current or former, who would be most similar to a nominee that you would select for the court or federal bench should the opportunity arise during your presidency.
If the media neglect to ask these questions and to demand answers they will have failed to meet their responsibility to the public. If the questions are asked, but the candidates refuse to give clear answers then the candidates will have failed the voters, who will be given little upon which to base a responsible vote.RLC