The Republican presidential debates are looking more and more like symptoms of the problems we've got than part of the process of solving them.
Maximum style, minimum substance. Focus on sizzle, forget about the steak.
These events are supposed to be about quality information, raising the bar, and producing a thoughtful, informed electorate. But they are being produced to provide entertainment, and we are barely getting that.
Technology doesn't take the place of substance. YouTube and real time polling are not substitutes for thoughtful, provocative questioning.
Can it really be that Rick Perry, in this third debate in which he has appeared, was not pushed, after all the heat being thrown out on Social Security, on how specifically how he would reform it?
Can it be, as health care expert after health care expert has laid out the long list of failures of Romneycare in Massachusetts, and its unquestionable similarities to Obamacare, that Mitt Romney was not grilled thoroughly on this and called on his sidestepping and denials?
Can it be that, on a day where the stock market in our country dropped 3-1/2 percent and in China 5 percent, that candidates were not asked what they think is wrong with the global economy?
Can it be that, when many experts agree that government meddling in housing and mortgages -- particularly through mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- was central to the recent financial collapse, there has not been a single question on why Fannie and Freddie are still standing, propped up by government, and untouched?
Why, when everyone knows that Rick Santorum is a social conservative, would the question on Don't Ask Don't Tell policy in the military be directed to him? His answer was a surprise to no one. Why wasn't Romney the one questioned on this?
Why, instead of time being wasted with stupid questions like "Who on this stage would you choose as your vice president?" would the question not be asked "Who is your favorite justice on the Supreme Court"?
Both Romney and Michele Bachmann have said they will repeal Obamacare on day one.
Wouldn't you think someone would ask what happens on day two? What would they do with our health care system, which clearly has problems?
With all the focus on Social Security, policy experts generally agree that the problems of Medicare are much bigger and more complex.
Yet, there has not been a single question about Medicare and what, if anything, should be done to reform it.
But perhaps even more fundamentally, the cable sponsors of these events have failed grotesquely to bring out the fault lines that divide these Republican candidates and the Republican Party.
Where are these candidates on Roe v Wade and the role of law in protecting unborn lives?
Where are these candidates on preservation on the integrity of traditional marriage?
With all the talk about states' rights, why are there no questions about the appropriateness of a federal court overturning a popular vote in the state of California -- Proposition 8 -- to preserve the traditional definition of marriage in their state?
Or the denial of the District of Columbia government to even allow a vote of its residents on this issue before declaring same sex marriage legal?
Does the collapse of the traditional family in America -- something undeniably happening as we rapidly approach almost half our children being born to unwed mothers -- even matter? Should not these candidates be forced to weigh in on this?
Allowing this to become an exclusively technocratic discussion about the economy -- like we're all laboratory mice in a box with politicians pushing the buttons -- obfuscates key differences between these Republican candidates and the two parties.
It is a symptom of the big problems of our country that we appear incapable of having presidential debates with serious questions.
Planned Parenthood, which rakes in hundreds of millions in the abortion business, actively discourages women from going to crisis pregnancy centers. (comments)
The irony does not drip but pours forth like a tsunami when liberals start talking about morality and ethics. (comments)
Black Americans are bearing the brunt of the cost of a nation that has lost its moral rudder as a result of wantonly legal and available abortion. (comments)
As our reverence for life has diminished, so has our reverence for the institutions that surround and support it. (comments)
National pro-life leaders were demonstrating outside Kermit Gosnell's abortion center as early as February 2011. (comments)
Carson, through diligence and traditional values, achieved on his own what trillions of dollars of government programs were supposed to deliver. (comments)
Employment set-asides designated for unskilled foreign workers, with wage levels determined by the government, are nothing but a stick in the eye to competing low-wage workers in the American market. (comments)
The purge of religion and traditional values from our public schools has produced a new generation of with values different from those of their parents and grandparents. (comments)
If we are going to save our cities, we need to get back to what built them in the first place: Freedom, enterprise and entrepreneurship. (comments)
I saw a once-barren land -- a land once described by Mark Twain as "a desolate country ... a silent and mournful expanse" -- now fruitful and ripe. (comments)
No gun-sale background check could have prevented the Sandy Hook tragedy. (comments)
Medicaid is a pure welfare program. (comments)
Gun control initiatives mask the issues that really need attention. (comments)
At the National Prayer Breakfast, Ben Carson reminds us that religious ritual devoid of content is pointless and destructive. (comments)
No matter how hard you squint and try to discern the values of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass in those now wielding the money and power at the top of the party, they've disappeared. (comments)
Why are the president and Feinstein so ready to compromise basic American freedoms with gun control measures to solve a problem that Obama acknowledges we don't understand? (comments)
It is no accident that as the American welfare state grew, the American family collapsed. (comments)
What was once understood as religion and tradition is now called bigotry and pushed off the stage. (comments)
An ultrasound picture, showing the growing and moving fetus, has raised awareness that this unborn child is alive and that abortion is murder. (comments)
Economic growth happens when success and risk taking is rewarded and sloth and failure is not. (comments)