The first of four debates in the run-up to the presidential election may or may not take place tonight at the University of Mississippi. If it does, don’t set your hopes too high. Judging from past debates, some of the most important questions may never be asked.
The first debate will center around foreign policy and national defense. Since no nation can be secure without a strong economy, host Jim Lehrer likely will bring economic issues into this debate. In a perfect world, these are the questions that would be asked and answered. Use this list as a guide and keep score.
What is the proper size for the U.S. military?
Should gays serve openly in the U.S. military?
By law, women are not to be used in combat units. Should that law be changed?
Recently the lines between combat and combat support have been blurred so it is a distinction without a difference. What would you do about that?
What, if anything, can we do to ensure victory in Iraq?
Should there be a timetable for bringing home our troops?
Should we prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon?
How far are you prepared to go to prevent that from happening?
At a time when Russia and China are vigorously upgrading their strategic weapons, should we be upgrading our nuclear deterrent?
Do you support the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty?
What should be our response to Russian aggression in Georgia and its arms sales to states and groups that threaten international security?
Should we put more money into missile defense?
What should be our goal in Afghanistan and Pakistan?
Closer to home, what should be our policy with Cuba?
What should be our policy toward Cuban refugees fleeing communist oppression?
Russia is looking at the possibility of building a space center in Cuba. Many see this as the next generation Cuban missile crisis. Do you?
The United States and much of the world is in the middle of an economic crisis. Since a strong economy is vital to our national defense, please explain our current economic situation.
How serious is it?
If you were president, what course of action, if any, would you take to shore up the economy?
If Treasury Secretary Paulson’s plan is adopted, what part of this plan would you attempt to change, if any, should you become president?
As companies fail, more and more will be on the auction block. Presently, many petro-dollars from the Middle East are being used to buy up American companies. Are there any segments of our economy that should be off limits to Islamic companies in particular and foreign entities in general.
Assuming we survive the current economic crisis, Social Security and Medicare will eventually bankrupt this country. Prior administrations have passed this buck. What would you do about Social Security and Medicare?
Another issue vital to our national security is energy independence, how would you make the United States energy independent?
What would you do to bring energy costs down now.
What would you do to insure they are lower and not higher five years from now?
To Obama: You have stated that you would “find ways to safely harness nuclear power.” Does that mean that you think that the nuclear power plants we have now are unsafe? Would you immediately clear the way to build more of them?
To Obama: Presently, our nuclear waste has to be stored on sight because environmental groups have prevented it from being moved or recycled. Would you allow that waste to be transported to a place where it could be permanently stored or recycled?
To McCain: You are in favor of building more nuclear power plants: What would you do with our nuclear waste?
To McCain: Are you in favor of opening the proposed nuclear storage facility at Yucca Mountain?
Presently, our borders are anything but secure. What would you do to change that?
You both have come out in favor of allowing those who have broken into this country illegally to stay. How can you justify that to the millions of people who have stood in line to come here legally and what does that say to the rest of the world about our commitment to law and order?
We allow one million legal immigrates a year. How many more do you think this country can reasonably absorb?
Some of the 9-11 hijackers came here on student visas. Would you cut back on student visas?
What would you do to insure that foreign students are, in fact, coming here for the purpose of an education?
(Questions on domestic issues and more questions on immigration next week)