For the president: Why are you pushing Simpson-Bowles austerity when we're still in a crisis? Why aren't you fighting to prevent cuts in Social Security and Medicare? Why aren't you telling the country in clear and direct terms how we can create jobs and stimulate growth?
For Mr. Romney: How can you cut the deficit by reducing tax revenues? How will your voodoo economics work tomorrow, when it didn't work yesterday and isn't working today? (And how do you keep your hair so perfect, what with so many "wind jobs" blowing in your general vicinity?)
For both candidates: How does cutting public-sector jobs create private-sector jobs? Who'll rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges with all this austerity deficit-cutting going on? And with a deficit that was caused by wars and tax cuts -- and a future deficit driven by medical costs -- why aren't we addressing the root causes of the problem: excessive military spending, wealth and tax unfairness, and excessive greed in the health care economy?
But in the end, the takeaway from this debate was: Man, what about that Mitt Romney? There's no there there. Romney's the ultimate phony salesman, the Joe Isuzu of American politics, the PowerPoint candidate with no product to sell. Ever sat in a corporate boardroom with a sales person like that? I have. If you ask them a substantive question you'll see a blank look cross their face for second. Then they'll go right back to reciting the bullet points on the screen.
Speaking of questions, it's a funny thing: We heard a lot of discussion -- and a lot of "wind jobs" -- about employment and economic recovery. But there wasn't much talk about why the economy's in such bad shape. Why didn't anybody mention the bankers whose illegal and unethical behavior triggered the financial crisis? Why wasn't there any discussion about holding them accountable for ruining so many millions of lives?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.