It is reasonably safe now to assume that Joe Biden won’t be able to duck the presidential debate scheduled for September 29, but smart money wouldn’t bet the ranch — or the Supreme Court — on it. Six topics have been selected, but may change with breaking news. The topics are: the Trump and Biden Records, the Supreme Court, Covid-19, the Economy, Race and Violence in Our Cities, and the Integrity of the Election.
Here are five questions that should be asked. And if they are not asked by the media, they should be asked by Donald Trump. Once the candidates get on stage, it becomes a free-for-all, whatever the agreed “rules” are. Trump is good at free-for-alls. Actually, Trump is best at them. He could work these questions into his answers.
Question 1: (This question really comes from Kimberly Klacik, the Republican candidate for Maryland’s 7th congressional district, Baltimore.) If you think this country is systemically racist, why didn’t you say anything about it during the last 48 years that you’ve been in Washington — far longer than Trump has been there? Is there any record of you saying, during eight years as vice president, that this country is systemically racist? If not, why not? And if not, don’t you shoulder some of the blame for the country’s systemic racism? And in that case why do you keep blaming President Trump?
Question 2: You said Trump didn’t take the Chinese Flu seriously. Yet when he stopped people from entering the country from China in February, you said the policy was “xenophobic.” And then again, in May, you said, “The pandemic has unleashed familiar forces of hate, fear, and xenophobia . . . .” Why did you say that? Back in February, would you have allowed people to continue to come to the US from China? If yes, wouldn’t that have been irresponsible? If no, why aren’t you as guilty of xenophobia as you claim President Trump is?
Question 3: We know that states suffering the highest unemployment and job losses as a result of the Chinese Flu are run by Democrats who instituted draconian lockdown measures. We also know cities with the highest crime rates are also run by Democrats — some have been run by Democrats for decades. In the past few months we’ve seen violent rioting almost nightly in major cities (also run by Democrats) across America. It looks as if Democrat politicians are either unable or unwilling to deal effectively with either a health crisis or a law and order crisis. Why should anyone expect you to be different? And why, at the Democrat Convention, was not a single reference made to the violence that has been sweeping the country?
Question 4: This question comes from Richard V. Reeves and Christopher Pulliam of The New York Times, who wrote that you claim to be fighting for “the young people who have known only an America of rising inequity and shrinking opportunity.” And yet, you’re pushing a $137 billion tax cut — a cut that would be delivered to the mega-rich by eliminating the $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local taxes. You accuse Trump of cutting taxes for the rich — but that’s exactly what your proposal does. Explain.
Question 5 is about the mental capacity of the candidates, which relates directly to integrity of the election: Questions have been raised about your mental capacity. Here are four statements you have made recently, which, it is fair to say, either make no sense or display extraordinary confusion:
- You said, “COVID has taken this year, just since the outbreak, has taken more than 100 years. Look, the lives, when you think about it, more lives this year than any other year for the past 100 years.”
- You said, “A hundred and fifty million people have been killed since 2007 when Bernie voted to exempt the gun manufacturers from liability, more than all the wars, including Vietnam from that point on.”
- You said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident. All men and women are created, by the, you know, you know the thing.”
- You said, “US Covid infected military, uh, excuse me, US Covid infected in America, six thousand three hundred forty thousand seven hundred, US Covid deaths, one thousand one hundred eighty nine thousand five hundred and six, military Covid infected, one hundred eighteen thousand nine hundred eighty four, military Covid deaths, six thousand one hundred fourteen.”
A charitable description of those statements might be that they are confused. A less charitable description would be they are gibberish. Why shouldn’t the American people worry about the mental capacity of anyone who made those statements?
If the reporters won’t ask the tough questions, Trump should, and can in his closing statement. That will be a debate worth watching.
Daniel Oliver is Chairman of the Board of the Education and Research Institute and a Director of Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was Executive Editor and subsequently Chairman of the Board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review.
Email Daniel Oliver at Daniel.Oliver@TheCandidAmerican.com.