If the purpose of presidential debates is to give the candidates an opportunity to explain how they would address pressing national and international problems the second presidential debate was pretty much a waste of time.
Let’s ignore Candy Crowley’s bias, for a moment. She was so busy backstopping Obama that she might as well have stood behind him. As it was she had to make do with interrupting Romney 28 times. Shamefully, she even supported the president’s obfuscation about his initial statement on Benghazi. But that’s another whole subject. This commentator’s ire is directed at the quality of questions posed at Hofstrau University.
We are facing financial Armageddon; government spending is out of control; the economy is in the tank; government run health care is about to kick in with huge associated costs. Islamic terrorists are burning our embassies and killing Americans. Iran is making a nuclear bomb. Iraq and Afghanistan are coming apart. So what questions occupied the candidates’ attention and (I’m guessing) at least half the allotted time?
Did the president agree with Secretary Chu that it is not the job of the Energy Department to lower gas prices? The president never actually answered the question. He just turned it into an opportunity to tout his (disastrous) energy policies. When Romney pointed out this administration’s war on fossil fuels it didn’t stop the cascade of prevarications from the president. Truth to tell, gas is just one commodity whose cost is inflating and will continue to do so as long as this administration’s profligate spending and money printing drain value from American dollars.
Then there was the question about what deductions Romney intends to cut in his efforts to reform the tax code. Not a bad question, but one regarding the candidates’ economic policies would have been more direct. Obama has yet to explain what he would do better or differently in a second term.
The softballs lobbed to the president were the most egregious. How would the candidates address workplace inequalities, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what male counterparts earn? Though a favorite liberal canard, the premise of the question is false and has been repeatedly disproved. As Diana Furchtgott-Roth pointed out on National Review Online, “Women make about 95 percent of what their male counterparts earn, if the male counterparts are in the same job with the same experience.” The committee (if such there be) or the moderator should have thrown the question out before it was asked. But it got worse as Obama digressed into a discussion of the necessity for government-funded contraception.
This right out of the Obama playbook question should have embarrassed Crowley, but that assumes acolytes are capable of embarrassment. “What is the biggest difference between you and George W. Bush, and how do you differentiate yourself from George W. Bush?”
Who knew he was running?
And of course, no set-up would be complete without a loaded (pun intended) question for Obama’s anti-gun constituency: “What has your administration done or planned to do to limit the availability of assault weapons?”
There were probably others, but that’s more than enough to make a case for debate questions relevant to the real problems confronting the nation.