As the presidential debates approach, the political junkies are gearing up for a shootout. If history is any guide, much attention will be paid to the political horse race. Much debate commentary will be about technique: Will President Obama be crisp?
This is all cute but irrelevant.
The debate really should focus on the future. And it should pay attention to stark realities that have largely gone unmentioned in the campaigns.
The candidates need to be asked what they plan to do to put people back to work and how they plan to create an economy that works for working people. Romney argues that austerity -- harsh cuts in spending -- is what is needed. But
Obama put forth a bold jobs program last fall, but congressional Republicans blocked most of it. Yet at the
The housing collapse has devastated homeowners across the country. Millions have lost their homes. Millions more are "under water," carrying mortgages worth more than the value of their property. Romney supported bailing out the banks but not the homeowners, the creditors but not the debtors. Does he still believe that? What steps would he take to help homeowners recover and boost the economy? The Obama administration's various programs haven't been at the scale needed. Is the president satisfied with the policies in place? Would either candidate support requiring that the big banks allow underwater homeowners to refinance their mortgages?
Gun violence continues to terrorize America as we have seen repeatedly over the past months. The ban on the sale of assault weapons -- which have no other purpose than the slaughter of humans -- expired under
Poverty is spreading. Since the recession, the richest 1 percent has captured a staggering 93 percent of the rewards of economic growth. We've heard a lot about the middle class but very little about the poor. The budget plans of both Romney and Obama call for cutting domestic spending, a category that includes support for infant nutrition, food stamps, poor schools,
Coverage of presidential debates often highlights who had the best one-liner or delivered the best shot. That's presumably why Romney is practicing zingers. But can't we have one debate where the focus is on who has the best plan, not the best pun? Wit is great, but it is vision that the country needs.
Read the latest political news.
- A Memo to Mitt and Ann Romney
- Mitt Romney's Biggest Problem is His Own Party
- Mitt Romney Can Win By Doing One Thing
- Mitt Romney on the Spot
- Presidential Debates Present Opportunity and Peril for Mitt Romney
- The Presidential Debate: Look for the Plans, Not the Puns
- His Campaign Sliding, Mitt Romney Must Deliver in Debate
- The 'Self-Made' Hallucination of America's Rich
- Why Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are Going Down
- Four Reasons Why Mitt Romney Might Still Win
- America Needs Good Refs -- On the Gridiron and in Politics
- How the GOP Protects Its Falsehoods
- 2012 Election Could Mirror 1980 Race
- A GOP Civil War Simmers
- Mitt Romney Missed Big Chance with Latino Voters
- Mitt Romney's Losing Bid to Win the Latino Vote
- Does Political Discourse Need Geneva Conventions?
- Another Episode in Mitt Romney's Foreign Policy Follies
- Team Romney Doubles Down
- In Defense of the 47 Percent
- The High Cost of Mitt Romney's Candor
- It was a privilege, Mitt Romney
- The Obama Hare and Romney the Tortoise
- An American Shame that Both Candidates Ignore
- Revisiting Wilson's 'Truly Disadvantaged'
- The Poor: America's Forgotten Swing Voters
- Pragmatic Racism
- Mitt Romney's Taxes: Who Cares?
- Waffling on Obamacare will Not Help Mitt Romney
- Why They Call Bill Clinton 'Big Dog'
- Bill Clinton's Secret: Make Little Words Matter
- Bill Clinton Delivers
- Forward to What, Democrats?
- The New Obama Shows Muscle
- Words of Wisdom from a Nun
- Likable Mitt Romney
- Mitt Romney Misjudges Voters
- Mitt Romney's Troubling Pattern
- Mitt Romney's Party -- Checks OK, iPhones Not
- Distractions and Diversions
- The Self-Immolation of Mitt Romney
- The Latest Battle in the War on Voting
- Better Off Today? Don't Ask
- What has Obama Learned?
- Obama Sells Old Ideas as New
- Let George W Bush Be
- Do We Want This Foolish Man?
- Poor Visibility
- Paul Ryan Runs Into the Truth
- Team Romney's War Against Facts
- Both Parties Go to Extremes
- Candidates Have De-Emphasized Foreign Affairs
- Campaign 2012 in a Nutshell: Wrong Ideas vs No Ideas
- Memo to GOP: Demography is Destiny
- Tribe of Liberty
- The Price of Freedom
- Paul Ryan Calling the Kettle Black with Medicare Scare Tactics
- House of Representatives Armed with Irony
- Obama Leads Romney in Post-Conventions Poll
- Character, Policy and the Selection of Leaders
- The Politicization of Violence
- The Selling of American Democracy: The Perfect Storm
- Losing Latino Votes
- The Party is Over: Longtime GOPer Dissects Modern Political Landscape
- Paul Ryan's Faux Populism
- Rise Up, Middle Class, Rise Up!
- A Modest Proposal: Three Weeks of Paid Vacation
- The Paul Ryan Choice
The Presidential Debate: Look for the Plans, Not the Puns | Politics
(c) 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc