Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Matt Towery: Debates Ignore Real Concerns

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Matt Towery: Debates Ignore Real Concerns

Article excerpt

It's ironic that baseball icon Yogi Berra died last week. "It's deja vu all over again," the most famous of his many zany quotes, seems relevant in light of the latest CNN Republican presidential debate.

Back in 2007, as the housing market in Florida was starting to collapse, a CNN presidential debate in Tampa all but ignored that looming crisis and instead focused on other issues, many of them trivial. Eight years later, we are witnessing new versions of the same old nonsense. What makes this all the more frustrating is the Republican National Committee had openly said it would seek debates that offered more discussion of important issues, instead of "gotcha" questions designed to pit Republicans against one another.

To many, it seemed most of the questions during the CNN debate at the Reagan Library in California consisted of taking one negative comment made in a speech or an interview by a candidate about another, and then using it to provoke a fight. This made for a tiresome three-hour brawl, and the main result was to provide Democrats with quotes they themselves can use later to attack the eventual GOP nominee.

Recent polls indicate most Americans don't trust the federal government and would like to see its role in their lives decreased. But to hear both the questions and answers in the few debates so far in this presidential cycle, the actual plans for reducing government are sparse if they are being made at all. To the contrary, many of the answers to the debate questions pointed to government -- more government -- to resolve the issue.

Consider that even as the candidates debated, the Fed was preparing to deal with a potential hike in the interest rate, and that the economies in many parts of the world were in shambles. Wouldn't the voters have been better served to hear a series of thoughtful questions that allowed the candidates to delve more deeply into where monetary policy and leadership of our economy should be headed? Instead they were treated to questions about how insulted Carly Fiorina was over Donald Trump's past comments concerning her looks. …

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