Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that, in my view, what wasn’t talked about at the first Presidential debate last night was more remarkable than what was.
I’m not spinning it like my pals in the liberal media are — although I’m relieved and happy to see that the President’s energy has returned today. (Favorite admonishment? It’s from Rachel Maddow, after a superb presentation on the history of modern presidential debate: “As for the national bedwetting going on among Democrats today? C’mon! Buck up!”)
All right! But like many folks on the left who were Tweeting last night, I rocketed from unpleasant emotion to unpleasant emotion: boredom, fear, rage, anxiety are a few. I even became uncharacteristically angry at darling Jim Lehrer for appearing to submit to Mitt Romney’s relentless bullying. (The last time I yelled that loudly at the television was probably when the Philadelphia Phillies dashed my playoff hopes.)
You can review my Tweets in the box to the right, but here are a few thoughts that didn’t make it into 129 characters + #debate2012 as I floated off into some political trauma space I do not recall ever having inhabited before last night. I have re-written these missing Tweets as questions that might enliven future debates.
- Mr. President, Seattle Grace Hospital currently appears to have no cardiothoracic surgeon on staff, having had two excellent ones — both women — last season. This is largely due to the Chief of Medicine, and his unwillingness to go retrieve his former wife from the prestigious fellowship she accepted in order to get away from his sexist insistence that she bear a child rather than have the topflight surgical career she wants. How would the administration
resolve such an implausible plot lineseek to fund universal and affordable childcare and kindergarten that would save this marriage?
- Governor Romney, would legal polygamy be a viable resolution to the dilemma described above? Would you prefer it to the governmental overreaching exemplified by federally subsidized universal childcare? Or do you imagine that child care workers will simply volunteer at the community level?
- During Prohibition, Governor Romney, federal overreaching created social problems (like national networks of organized criminals and endemic middle-class alcoholism) that did not exist before. However, Governor Romney, could you explain how an historic expansion of government activity, one that trumped states rights and led to institutionalized violence, occurred at the behest of conservative activists? Could you explain how your tax policies would help or hinder a small businessman like Nucky Thompson in his desire to employ nearly every member of the Department of Justice, from the Attorney General Harry Daugherty on down?
- Governor Romney, would your running mate Paul Ryan classify Nucky Thompson as a “maker” or a “taker”?
- As recently as yesterday, Arizona Sheriff, “birther,” Tea Party activist and Romney supporter Joe Arpaio resurrected the question of citizenship by saying that he did not think that the President’s birth certificate should be discussed in the debate. Governor Romney will you agree to bring your other wives to the next debate if President Obama brings his birth certificate?
- You have two minutes to respond, Governor Romney. Governor Romney? Governor Romney?
- President Obama, if it hadn’t been your wedding anniversary, and say you had been found in a basket like Moses and didn’t have a mom or a grandmom, would you have mentioned any women at all ? How about a policy that affects women? How about mentioning the ways that the GOP platform seeks to rescind all reproductive rights granted to women since the 1960s?
- Governor Romney, are you thinking of firing the campaign dude who made you into a laughing stock only seconds after you said you would “balance the budget” by cutting funding to the Public Broadcasting Service?
- Jim, this is a question for you: are you pondering the benefits of wearing a Big Bird Suit to the next debate?
- Governor Romney, does your willingness to cross party lines extend to endorsing disabled student Max Braverman’s campaign for student council president? What is your position on vending machines in schools?
- Governor Romney, what keeps you from just wrestling Jim Lehrer to the ground in a good-natured way and giving him a little haircut, just like in the good old days at Cranbrook?
- President Obama, if this were to happen to Jim, would you consider fighting back on his behalf, if not on your own? Just this once? Maybe in the next debate?