Below are a number of questions I would ask of President Obama if I were fortunate enough to participate in the town all style debate on Tuesday. The questions would require substantive answers and are neither softball or nor wingnut bloviator troll dung. The President has both significant accomplisments and unfinised business relative to policy and I don't believe that Congress will be significantly different either in political makeup or behavior in a second Obama term.
- When you came into office, the unemployment rate was nearly eight percent - on its way to ten, we were losing 800,000 jobs per month, we had just experienced near Armageddon in worldwide capital markets and GDP had ground to a halt. Do you now believe that you underestimated how deep the recession turned out to be and overstated the expected impact of stimulus efforts?
- Though one can point to a litany of first term accomplishments, many are disappointed with those items left undone. Guantanamo Bay remains open. We remain at war in Afghanistan. Immigration reform has not occurred. Infrastructure investment remains stalled. What are your priority efforts for a second term?
- Why did you not more enthusiastically embrace the deficit reduction proposals put forth by the Simpson-Bowles commission
- Throughout your first term, but particularly since 2010, Americans saw a seemingly unprecedented level of obstruction, division and discord in Washington. Why should Americans assume a different atmosphere in Washington should you be re-elected and what do you intend to do to help that change occur?
- Most economic observers believe that Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable in their current form. What specific measures do you intend to implement to bring those programs to a greater level of viability?
- Aren’t tax increases inevitable?
- We have called on our men and women in the military and their families to sacrifice on behalf of their Nation’s future well being. Isn’t it time we put out a broader call for sacrifice on the part of all Americans in order right our fiscal ship and meet our future obligations?
- If tax reform is pursued during a second term, would your objective for the results of that reform be government revenue neutral, revenue-enhancing, or government revenue-contracting?
- Do you believe that race relations have improved, stayed the same or became worse during your first term in office?
- So far, crushing sanctions have failed to deter Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for the United States to establish a red line beyond which Iran would be subject to serious military consequences. Do you expect to endorse such a red line if re-elected?
- What was the flexibility you were seeking when you were speaking with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev within range of an open microphone?
- From Afghanistan through Libya, the Middle East seems to be in a state of utter chaos. What are your priorities for the Middle East during a second term and what type of end-game do you hope the region is pointed toward by the end of your second term?
- The War on Drugs has been an unmitigated failure for America and has been particularly devastating to communities of color. Isn’t it time we took another path? What do you expect to do differently in a second term?
Of course, the above list is b no means exhaustive and Viners are welcome to add their questions within the bounds of the COh, the more substantive the better. While the likely won't result in deletion, intellectually bankrupt, puerile and self-serving questions more appropriate for Faux News or Stormfront will be treated as such.