It’s Wednesday, June 26, 2019.
It’s the 149th anniversary of the designation of Christmas Day as a federal holiday.
It’s the only purely religious national holiday – New Year’s technically is tied to Christianity, but we celebrate it as the first day of the year.
And, because I didn’t post yesterday, this little history lesson is a reminder that we are now a day more than midway between Christmas 2018 and Christmas 2019. Not to rush things.
Tonight’s first Democratic presidential debate – or, rather, part one of the first debate – is generating Christmas-like excitement among Democrats.
It’s the beginning of the process of winnowing out all these candidates and dubbing the knight in shining armor who will try to rescue America from Trump.
The debate begins at 9 p.m. ET and will air on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. Tonight’s card features these 10, in alphabetical order:
— Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
— Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro
— New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
— Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland
— Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii
— Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington
— Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
— Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas
— Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio
— Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
What this is concerned with is the questioners. And their questions.
According to NBCNews.com, the five “moderators” are Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Telemundo’s José Diaz-Balart.
Todd didn’t exactly cover himself with glory this past weekend with his questioning of Trump on “Meet the Press.” He let many of the usual Trump lies stand without challenge.
So it’ll be interesting to see if he’s as magnanimous with the Democrats or if he decides only they deserve to be challenged.
I don’t have a problem with the others. Now.
But I will if the questions they ask focus on the political dynamics and not on the issues that the people of this country actually care about.
That’s what’s pissed me off about primary and general election debates in the past. Often the questioners are trying to get the electric soundbite. The gotcha moment.
The prime example: In the general election debates last time, there was not a single question about climate change. Instead, we got Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and can you say something nice about the other.
So I’ve devised 10 questions I think Americans – particularly Democratic primary voters and caucus goers – want answered. And 10 questions that get a rise out of an audience but add zero to the understanding of what these people would do in the White House.
TEN QUESTIONS I’D LIKE TO SEE:
- What is your campaign doing to protect against efforts by foreign elements to sabotage the 2020 election?
- Since all of you believe climate change is real, what do you think is the fastest way to reach the goal of eliminating or reversing the problem?
- You’ve all condemned the migrant detention centers near the southern border. What would you do through executive order to alleviate the problem and what long-term solutions would you seek to get passed in Congress?
- “Infrastructure” is a magic word that seems to get bandied about at election time, but about which little seems to get done. What proposals would you make to revitalize the nation’s transportation system and utilities, and how do you expect to achieve your goals?
- Which is the best way to reduce health care costs and increase coverage: Medicare for All, improvements in the Affordable Care Act such as a public option, or something else?
- Student debt tops $1.6 trillion in the United States and affects more than one in eight Americas. How do you propose to alleviate this problem?
- China is on its way to becoming the world’s largest economy. Is China our enemy, our rival or our partner, and what issues would you prioritize with President Xi.
- What are American priorities in the Middle East? What are the first policy changes you would make?
- What role would your administration in improving education in this country? What would be your priorities in making changes?
- How would you either take executive action or work with Congress to reduce the level of gun violence in this country?
I think those are pretty fair. As a voter, those are just some of the criteria I’ll use to decide who to vote for in a primary.
Then, of course, there are the questions I fear:
TEN QUESTIONS I UNEQUIVOCALLY DO NOT WANT ASKED
- Why do you think you’re better qualified than the other 22 Democratic candidates? (Isn’t that what the damn debates are supposed to determine?)
- Candidate 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10, recently you said _______________ (insert some controversial remark/gaffe/curse). Do you think you should explain that/clarify that/apologize for that?
- How will you respond to the nickname Trump will come up for you if you’re the nominee? (Why give Trump’s nonsense any more credence?)
- Do you believe Congress should launch an impeachment inquiry against Trump? (That’s for Congress – and not a would-be president – to decide.)
- Would you tear down the portions of the southern border wall that have been built?
- How would you win over the people who supported Trump in the last election? (aka – how would pander to the racists and morons who would elect a grifter?
- Who is your hero?
- What’s the go-to song on your phone?
- What’s the first change you’ll make at the White House when you’re elected?
- Which of the other candidates would you vote for if you weren’t running?
Those are the 20 questions. I probably could come up with another 10 questions about issues.
Unfortunately, I could find 10 more really stupid questions.
Let’s see if the NBC crew can rise to the occasion. This election needs to be taken seriously – and that starts tonight.