Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Questions I Want to Ask

Tonight is (another) Republican Presidential Candidate debate, produced by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, and will air on CNN. The debate is to focus on national security and foreign policy, but will necessarily branch into other topics such as the "super committee" failure.

For each of the eight candidates who will be in the debate, these are the one, single question I'd like each of them to respond to, listed alphabetically (some may have a follow-up, too):

For Representative Michele Bachmann:

Mrs. Bachmann, since you took your seat with the 110th Congress in 2007, not one single piece of original legislation that you have authored, or were the primary sponsor of, has been brought to the floor of the House for a vote, much less passed. This includes the time you have spent to date with the 112th Congress, under the leadership of your own party. What does this say to your abilities to shepherd legislation through Congress - for foreign, domestic, or national security issues - whether your party is in control or not?

For Mr. Herman Cain:

Mr. Cain, in New Hampshire on November 17th, you were quoted as saying, "Who knows every detail of every country or every situation on the planet? Nobody! We need a leader, not a reader," and, "Forget the facts, forget history, just lead!" Without a strong perspective on world and regional histories, the ability to rapidly digest the written intelligence reports you would receive as President, and contextualizing that intelligence into historical context, exactly how do you propose to lead with a consistent strategy for foreign policy?

For former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich:

Mr. Speaker, in 1991 you introduced H.R. 3965, the "Ronald Reagan Peace Dividend Investment Act", which had at its purpose to insure that any federal dollars saved by the post-Cold War "peace dividend" would be automatically applied to deficit and/or debt reduction, or returned to the taxpayers, and not used for additional spending on other programs. That legislation was not adopted. Would you support legislation today with the same purpose in mind, essentially separating defense spending for budgetary, accounting, and tax allocation purposes from the rest of the Federal budget?

For Governor Jon Huntsman:

Governor Huntsman, for nearly two years you served as the United States Ambassador to the People's Republic of China for the administration of President Barack Obama and in the State Department under Secretary Hillary Clinton. Since you were largely responsible for executing the United States' foreign policy with respect to China, do you support the Obama Administration's policies to date in our relations, and what has worked well and what has not?

Governor Huntsman, a follow-up: do you support maintaining the "one China" policy or would you support recognizing the de facto state-on-the-ground and granting full recognition to the Republic of China including the within the United Nations?

For Representative Dr. Ron Paul:

Dr. Paul, you have said repeatedly that United States' policies regarding to the Middle East either directly or indirectly led to the 9/11 attacks, continued terrorist and Islamic extremist threats against the United States, and what is perceived as our poor reputation in that part of the world - and also that withdrawing American presence from that area would improve our relations. If we can take a minute to put your stated position in historical context, we are coming up on the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by Imperial Japan. Japan went to war in 1941 because they viewed the United States as encroaching on their sphere of influence in the western Pacific. Should the United States have acceded to Japanese demands and withdrawn from the western Pacific in 1941 to prevent war and improve our relationship with the Japanese Empire?

For Governor Rick Perry:

Governor Perry, your State of Texas shares the longest border with Mexico, and as you have said often, your experience with border security and the work of Texas law enforcement responding to crimes directly or indirectly caused by illegal immigration makes you uniquely qualified among your peers on stage to address border security as President. You have also taken a lot of criticism for legislation enacted in Texas which could be viewed as enabling further illegal immigration to this country by providing state benefits to the children of illegals. As President, how would you balance the Tenth Amendment rights of the states to enact policies that, in the views of their legislatures and executives, are necessary and proper for the sound running of a state but are in conflict with national interests to deter and prevent illegal immigration?

Governor Perry, a follow-up: Can you please describe how Texas is insuring compliance within your state with 8 USC 1623 which reads, "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or nation of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident."?

For Governor Mitt Romney:

Governor Romney in your foreign policy position papers, you have promised to take steps for the "strengthen[ing] and repair[ing of] relationships with steadfast allies," and to "enhance our deterrent against Iran." Since its founding in 1949, the United States has led NATO and has had one of our senior military officers in the position of Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. The recent NATO actions in Libya, however, were executed mainly outside American leadership; we were said to be "leading from behind." How do you view the role of NATO in reinforcing American interests both in Europe and surrounding areas, and would you support and push for expanding NATO membership to include countries such as Israel and Iraq who are under direct Iranian threat?

For Senator Rick Santorum:

Senator Santorum, as a freshman in the 102nd Congress you introduced legislation to cancel a nuclear submarine program of the Navy, require that all missile defense efforts stay within the ABM treaty, cancel the remainder of the B-2 stealth bomber program, and scrap all nuclear weapons projects of the Department of Energy. In the 103rd Congress, you introduced legislation to cut the personnel of our intelligence agencies by 25 percent, terminate the Department of Defense's independent research and development program, cancel upgrades to the F/A-18 fighters of the Navy and Marine Corps, and slow down the acquisition of destroyers by the Navy. How do these positions from your congressional career mesh with your stated positions on national security and defense today, and what specifically caused or informed you to change your views?

Will any of these questions be asked? I'm not a moderator, so probably not...

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