Before the US Presidential Elections become the victim of the game of who can can best navigate through the reefs and dangers of a Deliberately Damn Nasty Silly Season, here are some questions for the presidential aspirants which should prove illuminating. The questions start identically the same for both candidates – alternating such that each candidate must answer first.
Presidential Candidate Questions:
Many a seasoned observer of Presidents say that the first 100 days in office are crucial. After the election there is for a few fortnights at least a honeymoon if not a full range truce on the divisive partisan politics that has plagued the country’s policy making for the past decade or two.
What would be the 3-5 most important policy matters that would be on the top of your agenda during this important first 100 days ? Then as a follow up, tell us what 2-3 national or international events might upset the apple cart and force new issues into the top priorities.
What are the most important beliefs that drive your decision making on some of the policy matters just discussed?
Both scholars and political experts agree that smooth running of the administration depends on the quality of the staff and cabinet appointments. What 2-3 posts do you believe will be of critical importance for your administration given its 100 days agenda and who or what type of candidate would best serve you ?
Both parties are campaigning on a theme of change – what are the 3-5 policies of President George W. Bush that you find highly commendable and would not change ? Note we are asking for more than one.
What are the 3-5 policies of George Bush that would be in need of immediate change and why ?
In the 2000 campaign George Bush promised to “be a uniter not a divider” and then proceeded to have an administration that is by consensus one of the most divisive and partisan of the past 50 years. Given your tough change policies how can you avoid continuing such partisanship – what specific things would you do to avoid such an outcome?
John McCain: Your have talked about cleaning house and “Washington, the reformers are coming”. Yet your key election staff positions are made up of the very lobbyists whose influence you would seek to diminish if not eliminate. George Bush promised to be a uniter not a divider and then allowed Karl Rove’s mean and nasty electioneering and pugnacious administrative actions to hold sway to produce a very divisive and partisan executive branch. What is to prevent the McCain-Palin administration from being deflected if not subverted from change by your closest and also lobbyist advisers ?
Supplimentary to McCain: By what measures and specific actions on reform and change will the American public know that you have been able to deliver on your promises of reform? Note again the use of the plural – I think the American people will expect more than one reform/action.
Barack Obama: Inexperience and lack participation has been cited as your major weaknesses. What is your response to the public that you will not turn out to be a Jimmy Carter, well meaning but plagued by internal squabbles and great botches of ineffectiveness?
Supplimentary to Barack Obama: The word “liberal” has become an epithet to nearly half the US population. This is serious because your “change” campaign has innate mistrust among a significant portion of the US electorate. First, what specific areas do you feel the pain of 1/2 the electorate is significant if not justified? Second, how would you accomplish change given this distrust and the counter forces of partisanship and lobbyists rounding up the wagons to fiercely protect their turf?
Questions for the Vice Presidential Candidates
Again start with identically the same questions for both candidates.
You have heard your presidential candidates top 3-5 agenda items in order of priority. Now one of the reasons you have been selected is for the independent voice and ideas that you bring to the ticket. What one or two policy issues would you try to add to your Presidents list or change his priorities on?
What are the 2-3 key personal beliefs that inform you during policy making and decision meetings and specifically how do they play out in your thinking and judgement?
What things are wrong with Congress and what would be the 2-3 items you would try to fix and how?
Many say the role of the vice-president has become more powerful and influential. Do you believe that to be true and is that a good thing for the future ?
Joe: In early February, President Barack Obama asks you to work with the head of the Senate policymaking committe, John MacCain, on critical reforms of Federal Campaign financing. Now don’t give us the nonsense that this is not going to happen but rather indulge us and describe the strengths and weaknesses of Senator McCain that you would be looking to channel into a productive outcome on this thorniest of issues.
Sarah: In early February, President John McCain asks you to work with the representative of the Foreign Relations Committee – Senator Barack Obama on a new crisis with Russia over disarming Iran. Tell us of the strengths and weaknesses of Senator Obama and how you would hope to work with him in the crucial negotiations with Russia and Iran.
If you have questions send them to Takethe5th as emails or just add comments and we shall add the top 3 to our list.