Did you watch? What did you think? Who would you feel comfortable with as President and Commander in Chief, particularly in an economic or national security emergency?
There are lots of qualities we want in a President, and I suspect there would be pretty fair agreement on the following: intelligence, experience, judgment, composure, courage and possibly less agreement on this last one compassion. Did anyone last night reasonably embody these qualities?
Even the unflappable Romney was seriously ruffled by Perry's attacks, though, on balance he came out the best in my view, although the bar was set way too low.
I was embarrassed: it was like watching a debate among angry adolescents. Very sad to think this is, in theory, about half of our political universe.
Here is just a few of the big questions that were not discussed (I know Anderson Cooper asked the questions, and encouraged the "bickering", but when has a politician not ignored the commentator and talked about whatever he/she wanted to say?):
1. What's wrong with the President's jobs bill?
2. Do we hope the Supercommittee succeeds or fails in reaching a budget deal?
3. If they fail, will you honor the Summer 2011 agreement and carry through with the mandatory cuts to Defense and Medicare?
4. Do you believe that Medicare must be thoroughly restructured, along the lines of the Ryan Plan? How about Social Security?
5. Do you basically agree that the US can no longer afford its social safety net?
6. Do you think Wall Street and the Banks are responsible at some significant level for the 2008 crisis?
7. Do you support Tom Miller, Iowa's AG, who is trying to put together a multi-state foreclosure deal with the major banks, or do you side with New York AG Eric Schneiderman and Delaware's AG Beau Biden, who have pulled out of the talks, arguing the banks do not deserve a broad release from liability?
8. Do you agree that the US recovery will not take off, until housing recovers? And that with up to 40% of US home mortgages underwater, or almost underwater only serious debt relief and principal forgiveness will clear up the logjam and get us moving?
9. What's the greatest national security danger facing the US?
10. What would you do differently from President Obama in dealing with this danger?
And so on. The issues are real, present; and we don't seem to be able to talk about them in any intelligent, respectful way.