5 Debate Questions
The three Republicans looking to unseat Barbara Boxer — Tom Campbell, Chuck DeVore and Carly Fiorina — square off for an hour-long debate this afternoon in Sacramento, starting at noon, on radio’s “Capitol Hour” show hosted by Eric Hogue.
On the docket: national security, terrorism and foreign affairs.
Hogue’s station, KTKZ AM 1380, offers itself as “intelligent conservative talk”. Feel free to listen here and decide for yourself if the debate clears that bar.
One topic certain to get kicked around: Israel and the Middle East.
Specifically, the flap over Campbell’s attitude toward the Jewish nation and radical Islam movements, and whether Fiorina’s campaign tried to smear Campbell as an anti-Semite (and, oh btw, allegations that an H-P subsidiary sold printers to Iran while Fiorina was running the mothership back in Silicon Valley).
It could get ugly. But at least they’re debating, which is more than can be said about the governor’s race.
If I had the mike, here are five questions I might try:
1) Every Republican non-incumbent seeking office this year bemoans wasteful federal — this primary being no different. I’d like each of you to name three areas of the defense budget you’d trim ($549 billion in discretionary spending). With a caveat: no small-potato earmarks or one-time giveaways; the cuts have to amount to at least $10 billion in savings.
2) Guantanamo. Are you for or against closing it? What should we do with detained terrorist suspects? On two related notes: (1) describe the proper balance between waging a war on terror and treading lightly on other nations’ sensibilities; (2) as a U.S. Senator, would you vote to confirm or reject a nominee who provided legal aid to Guantanamo detainees, Liz Cheney’s latest cause celebre?
3) Sen. Boxer co-sponsored a cap-and-trade bill that appears to be on hold, if not dead in the water. She says it’s necessary to help ease America off its foreign-oil dependency. Do all three of you support offshore drilling? Assuming you oppose cap-and-trade, please describe the balance between the environment and the economy? While we’re at it, do you (a) support AB 32, California’s climate-control law; (b) a one-year moratorium on AB 32, as suggested by Meg Whitman; (c) the initiative to freeze AB 32 until California’s unemployment rate (now above 12%) is no greater than 5.5% for four consecutive quarters?
4) Assuming you get the job this November, how do you see yourself blending into the Senate mix? Are you a bomb-throwing Bunning or a bomb-defusing McCainiac? What are the first three nations you’d visit — other than Afghanistan and Iraq? How many nations have you visited in your lifetime?
5) With the exception of Pete Wilson, no Republican has won a U.S. Senate race in the Golden State since S.I. Hayakawa in 1976 (Wilson won in 1982 and 1988). Meanwhile, state GOP voter registration continues to fall (31% at present . . . not a single congressional, state senator or assembly district with majority Republican registration). This, despite two Schwarzenegger landslides in the last 6-1/2 years. Why do Republicans continue to struggle in California? How would you change the GOP “brand”?