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What the Candidates SHOULD Be Asked, But Won't

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Have you ever sat there, watching the talking heads and designated questioners toss softballs and dodgeballs at candidates, and wished you could somehow slip into their heads, ask a real question, and then get out of there before you were tackled by "security?"

Boy, I sure do. I think the best question I ever saw was in the documentary "Feed," when a young man asked then-candidate Bill Clinton if he was for a woman's right to get an abortion. When Bill said "Yes, yes I am," the kid asked "How many have you caused?"

There was a moment when Bill's face froze, and you could see something harden behind his eyes. He caught himself once, then twice, and then, slowly putting a hand on his questioner's shoulder, patted him like they were chums sharing a joke. He caught himself a third time and said "zero" and "none" and repeated the mantra as he walked away, trying to laugh.

(The kid explained to the camera that he just asked to see what he'd say, and said, yes, he'd vote for him. He had a great sense of humor.)

I would have given anything to be that young man, right then. And I would have given twice that and more to have been able to ask that on live television, in a public debate. Because in that moment, I think we saw the real man shine through for just a second -- far apart from all the gloss and spin and weaseling that came to typify his time in the Oval Office.

So, in that spirit I've got some questions of my own. Some are rude, some are obvious, and some are probably self-evident statements, but anything to liven up the proceedings and see some real thought spark behind those glazed, smiling eyes is a good thing, I think.

And if I hear the word 'Change' one more time I'm going to be sick.

Hillary Clinton: Senator Clinton, these last few days in the campaign you've talked a lot about change. Speaking in terms of change, what guarantee do we have that, should your husband become the first gentleman, he won't bring the same shame and dishonor to that post that he brought to the Presidency, itself, by chasing after interns?

Duncan Hunter: Sir, with all respect, what were you thinking when you accepted a man who said "Screw the Buddhists and kill the Muslims" to be your campaign advisor in South Carolina? I know you booted him as soon as the controversy started swirling, but I'd like to know what you were thinking in the first place.

John McCain: Senator McCain, in past elections you've been savagely and underhandedly undercut by your fellow Republicans during the Primary phases of the campaign. When are you expecting to be boxed into a corner, and will you do what's necessary to stay viable this time?

John Edwards: Sir, when are you planning on going on the offensive in this Primary? And if you're not planning to do so, whose Vice President would you like to be?

Fred Thompson: Sir, now that you have admitted that you don't really care whether you are elected President or not, when are you going to admit that the only reason you're running is because a large number of people wanted you to run, and bow out of the race while you still have some dignity left?

Barack Obama: Senator Obama, the Islamophobic right is still making a talking point out of whether or not you were a Muslim while a boy in Indonesia. When are you going to tell them, in no uncertain terms, that it doesn't really matter, and take them to task for trying for demonize Muslims as a whole? Or are you afraid of something?

Ron Paul: Sir, I realize it isn't fair to disparage a candidate because of his supporters, but it does seem as though your campaign has attracted the support of white supremacists, racists and other such persons. Can you tell us why you think you've gained their support?

Dennis Kucinich: Sir, with respect, the United Nations can't manage to do anything in the countries they peacekeep in but not fire their guns, have sex with the locals and take advantage of the bad situation. Why WOULD the Iraqi people want them to take over from America's armed forces?

Mitt Romney: Sir, you've said that you're running for the President as an American, and not a Mormon. But if the Mormon Church ever decided to reverse its relatively recent decision regarding Black people and their spiritual welfare, what guarantee do we have that you will be able to uphold the Constitution equally for all citizens?

Mike Gravel: Um... who are you, and why should we care?

Mike Huckabee: Governor Huckabee, if Jesus appeared in the White House the day after you were sworn in, and told you to use your powers as President to take actions that would clearly violate the Constitution, what would you do?

Bill Richardson: Governor Richardson, did you have your photo in the first-time visitor page of your website photoshopped? Because every other photo of you on the site is seriously pasty and jowly, but that first one is all tanned and missing your double chin.

Rudy Guiliani: Mr. Mayor, don't you think it's time you make a proper apology for using State funds to carry on an extramarital affair, and bow out of the race to show your contrition?

Alan Keyes: Sir, since it's obvious the only reason you're running is to push the debate further to the right, as you clearly have no chance of winning, isn't it about time you dropped out since the only way this race could get any more rightward would be if Generalissimo Francisco Franco came back from the dead and threw his hat into the ring?

All Republicans: In the year 2000, we elected a Republican as President. He promised fiscal conservatism and non-interference in other countries. After the events of 9/11, he went back on both promises and left us with a terrible mess to clean up. If you think we could do better than we've been doing, please say how the current administration has screwed up and how you will fix it. Alternatively, if you think the Bush Administration's been batting pretty well, all things considered, please tell us what you DO intend to change.

All Democrats: To invoke Inigo Montoya, you all keep using the word "Change" but I do not think that it means what you think it means. In one three sentence paragraph, please tell us what you stand for, as a candidate, without using the word "change," cliche's or abstractions, or telling us how you're not George W. Bush.
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J. Edward Tremlett is a lot of things, currently. He's back in the states after a seven-year stint in Dubai, UAE. He's been published in such diverse places as The American Partisan, the International American, The End is Nigh, Pyramid Magazine (more...)

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