Like “Mad Men,” it feels like forever since the last Republican debate.
Okay, so it hasn’t been 492 days like the missing-in-action, critically acclaimed AMC show, but we haven’t been treated to an episode of “The Real White House Husbands of DC” since way back on January 26.
On Wednesday night in Mesa, Arizona, the four remaining GOP contestants will take their spots at the podium for the 20th ‘debate’ of the primary season, and the last before February 28′s Arizona and Michigan primaries and March 6′s Super Tuesday throwdown. It’s a big one, too. Can Mitt Romney finally connect with humans? Will Rick Santorum show up to talk economy and jobs or do his Pastor Dad from Footloose routine? Which CNN moderator will feel the wrath of Newt Gingrich’s Zod-like icy glare? And will Ron Paul goldgoldgoldgoldgold? Since we’ve been remarkably unimpressed with the questions at the previous 19 debates, we thought we’d offer up some questions to really get the show humming.
1. This president nearly tripled the national debt, signed an immigration reform bill that granted blanket amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, talked with our enemies, raised taxes 11 times (and raised payroll taxes in order to pay for government-run health care), presided over double-digit unemployment, expanded the size of government and created new federal departments, cut and ran from hostile regions, put two justices on the Supreme Court that voted to uphold Roe v. Wade, closed tax loopholes to ensure “every corporation pay their fair share,” and even advocated gun control on the op-ed pages of the, gasp, New York Times. My question is: Which one of you on stage is ready to break the 11th Commandment and speak ill of a fellow Republican, in this case, Ronald Reagan?
2. Every one of you on stage has advanced diametrically opposed viewpoints of Barack Obama at some point. You have all argued that President Obama is an incompetent boob who’s in over his head but that the same man is a Marxist radical who is succeeding masterfully in fundamentally transforming the United States of America. So which is it? Is he incompetent or masterful? Show your work.
3. A hypothetical to ponder: Due to some sort of religious miracle that we can’t explain, you can end poverty in the United States as we know it by dropping out of the presidential race. If you call it quits, there will suddenly be a massive jobs boom and unemployment will fall below 4 percent. You will also get credit for this in the written history of the nation. But should you choose to stay in the race for your own aspirational gain, nobody will ever know you were given this choice. What do honestly you do?
4. When’s the last time you personally bought a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread and a carton of eggs, and please tell the audience right now how much each one of those items cost? The Price Is Right rules apply, the closest without going over wins headlines about how folksy he really is.
5. Which one of you will commit right now to ban dancing by the end of your first term?
6. Governor Romney, you’ve taken more positions than the Kama Sutra, which I’m sure you’ve never read. But one thing you’ve been pretty consistent about, as we saw in the release of your tax returns, is support for the Mormon church. You’ve donated more than $4 million to the Salt Lake City-based faith and paid about $6 million to the government in taxes over the past two years. How do you justify hating on a government that tries to provide a social safety net when you willingly pay more than your fair share to a religious organization that spends your money demonizing good people they perceive to be sinners?
7. Senator Santorum, you argue that abortion should ALWAYS be illegal, even in cases of rape and incest. When asked about your extreme position, you admitted that it’s “horrible” but said rape victims “have to make the best out of a bad situation.” Like Christopher Hitchens volunteering to waterboarded for the purposes of forming a coherent, rational position, would you be willing to submit to a brutal rape so you can see how it feels to be violated and told to make the best of it?
8. Speaker Gingrich, which member of the liberal lamestream media do you blame for the Houston Oilers’ blowing that 32-point lead to Frank Reich’s Buffalo Bills in 1993?
9. Congressman Paul, how is it possible that you’ve had almost a full decade to come up with a viable, coherent answer about your involvement or lack of involvement in the racist, conspiracy-laden newsletters that bear your name and, yet you haven’t come anywhere close to issuing one. Please explain.
10. Another hypothetical: Let’s say you are guaranteed to win the general election if you pick a Democrat as your running mate, but you have only a 20 percent chance if you stay within your own party. Would you cross the aisle, and which Democrat would be on your short list?
Slade Sohmer is co-founder and editor-in-chief of HyperVocal. Follow him @hypervocal.