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Star Parker: Where's beef in debates?

By Star Parker
The Republican presidential debates are looking more and more like symptoms of the problems we’ve got than part of the process of solving them.
Maximum style, minimum substance. Focus on sizzle, forget about the steak.
These events are supposed to be about quality information, raising the bar, and producing a thoughtful, informed electorate. But they are being produced to provide entertainment, and we are barely getting that.
Can it really be that Rick Perry, in this third debate in which he has appeared, was not pushed, after all the heat being thrown out on Social Security, on how specifically how he would reform it?
Can it be, as health care expert after health care expert has laid out the long list of failures of Romneycare in Massachusetts, and its unquestionable similarities to Obamacare, that Mitt Romney was not grilled thoroughly on this and called on his sidestepping and denials?
Can it be that, on a day where the stock market in our country dropped 3-1/2 percent and in China 5 percent, that candidates were not asked what they think is wrong with the global economy?
Can it be that, when many experts agree that government meddling in housing and mortgages — particularly through mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — was central to the recent financial collapse, there has not been a single question on why Fannie and Freddie are still standing, propped up by government, and untouched?
Why, when everyone knows that Rick Santorum is a social conservative, would the question on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy in the military be directed to him? His answer was a surprise to no one. Why wasn’t Romney the one questioned on this?
Both Romney and Michele Bachmann have said they will repeal Obamacare on day one.
Wouldn’t you think someone would ask what happens on day two? What would they do with our health care system?
With all the focus on Social Security, policy experts generally agree that the problems of Medicare are much bigger and more complex.
Yet, there has not been a single question about Medicare and what, if anything, should be done to reform it.
But perhaps even more fundamentally, the cable sponsors of these events have failed grotesquely to bring out the fault lines that divide these Republican candidates and the Republican Party.
Where are these candidates on Roe v Wade and the role of law in protecting unborn lives?
Where are these candidates on preservation on the integrity of traditional marriage?
With all the talk about states’ rights, why are there no questions about the appropriateness of a federal court overturning a popular vote in the state of California — Proposition 8 — to preserve the traditional definition of marriage in their state?
Does the collapse of the traditional family in America even matter? Should not these candidates be forced to weigh in on this?
Allowing this to become an exclusively technocratic discussion about the economy — like we’re all laboratory mice in a box with politicians pushing the buttons — obfuscates key differences between these Republican candidates and the two parties.
It is a symptom of the big problems of our country that we appear incapable of having presidential debates with serious questions.
• • •
Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and Education (www.urbancure.org).
Email: parker@urbancure.org.

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