Questions that won’t be asked tonight

Daily Bob LogoBy Bob Eschliman


There are a lot of questions that are going to be asked tonight, beginning shortly after 5 p.m. Central Daylight Time, on CNBC. Some of those questions should be aimed at the media — and we’ll discuss those tomorrow — but there are some that should be aimed at the candidates, as well.

Sadly, you won’t hear them asked tonight.

CNBC, with the blessing of the Republican National Committee, has decided the focus of tonight’s debate should be on jobs, economy, taxes, retirement, and technology. Bless their hearts, the candidates will of course try to break out a little — but only as far as they want to break out.

In lieu of our typical “five things you need to know” today, I’m going to focus on questions that should be asked tonight — but won’t — questions the candidates don’t necessarily want to be asked. I’m asking them in the hope that you, the discerning voter, might finally get the answers you deserve.

So, let’s start with the 5 p.m. “Happy Hour” debate featuring former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former New York Gov. George Pataki, and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

To Sen. Santorum: How have you been able to maintain a national campaign, let alone travel repeatedly to Iowa — having visited all 99 counties, many of them more than once — on less than $65,000 without violating federal election laws? (Note: I will continue to ask this question until he answers it)

To Gov. Jindal: You are the nation’s least-popular governor — in your own state, you are less popular than President Obama — and your state’s economy is in shambles after you have been in office for nearly eight years, so why are you running for President?

To Gov. Pataki: You have called on Twitter to ban Edward Snowden from having an account, saying the social media outlet shouldn’t be a platform for terrorists or traitors, and then specifically calling Snowden a traitor, so without injecting 9/11 into your answer, why is it appropriate for the U.S. government to spy on everyday Americans?

To Sen. Graham: You have acknowledged you are unable to gain any ground in this presidential primary race — going so far as to asking rhetorically how you don’t understand why you’re “losing” — so why are you still campaigning for a job Americans have almost universally agreed you shouldn’t have?

Now, on to the 7 p.m. main event, which will feature businessman Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.

To Mr. Trump: At what point does life begin, and at what point should that life be granted equal protection under the U.S. Constitution?

To Dr. Carson: Under what article of the U.S. Constitution does the federal government have the authority to require U.S. citizens to be vaccinated, even against their religious or conscientious objections?

To Sen. Rubio: You were quoted, in Spanish, as suggesting there should be a “pathway to citizenship” — a code word for amnesty — for those who are here illegally, but have repeatedly denied you are in favor of amnesty in English — despite repeatedly saying other candidates’ plans to deport those illegals, in accordance with current immigration law, make no sense — could you please tell the American public where you really stand on the issue?

To Gov. Bush: In the states that have implemented it, Common Core has been an absolute disaster — increasingly fewer students are prepared for college-level coursework, which is now being dumbed down further, and “achievement gaps” are growing, not shrinking — so can you please explain why you still believe it is necessary for Americans?

To Mrs. Fiorina: If you aren’t accepting any paid speaking engagements during your presidential campaign, why is the promotional firm Leading Authorities attempting to book events for you?

To Sen. Cruz: You recently said we are one liberal activist judge on the U.S. Supreme Court away from a loss of our Second Amendment-protected rights — but you also say courts don’t make law — so which way is it, and do you believe the president or Congress can nullify the courts?

To Gov. Huckabee: You have bristled at the suggestion you are a progressive-statist, yet you just came out this week with an op-ed published on this network’s very own website suggesting Medicare and Social Security need to be protected from your opponents’ plans — despite the fact, combined, the account for nearly $42 trillion in long-term unfunded liabilities to the U.S. government — so where is the fiscal responsibility and conservatism in your plan to keep those programs?

To Gov. Christie: After three years, many New Jersey residents still have not been able to return home after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy; is there a message you have for them as you continue campaigning for president while polling at less than 2 percent in the most recent polls both nationally and in key early states?

To Gov. Kasich: You recently derided some of your opponents’ plans to reduce citizens’ tax burdens and to rein in out-of-control government spending, suggesting you want to know where your party has gone, so please tell us, when has it ever been the official position of the Republican Party to redistribute wealth by taking from those who have it and giving it to those who don’t?

To Sen. Paul: You have said this week you plan to filibuster the budget deal negotiated by outgoing House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — a fellow Kentuckian who you have previously refused to criticize — so, will you tell us now whether or not you believe McConnell should remain as leader of the Senate Republican Conference?

Well, like I said, these aren’t the questions the candidates want to take. In fact, several of these questions have already been asked, and ignored, by their campaigns. But as voters in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, you have incredible access to these people that many journalists would die to have.

If you get the chance, try to ask a couple of them for yourself. And if you get an answer, be sure to let us know. Until then, be sure to keep things straight.


Quote of the Day

As long as property exists, it will accumulate in individuals and families. As long as marriage exists, knowledge, property and influence will accumulate in families.

— John Adams, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1814

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