On October 13 the Democratic Party held its first presidential debate. CNN host Anderson Cooper served as moderator. And Anderson Cooper, a contributor to the Clinton Initiative, played many roles: democratic apologist, media superstar, and gifted moderator. The role Mr. Cooper did not play was journalist. If he was a serious journalist, he would have asked the following ten questions. But being the democratic apologist that he is, he wasn’t going to go there. Following are ten questions a true journalist would have asked. These are ten questions the Democratic presidential candidates, especially Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, do not want to answer.
1. How will you pay for the 13 new programs you have proposed?
2. What is your plan to pay down the $20 trillion national debt, half of which has been incurred in the past eight years?
3. Why can’t you say, “All lives matter?” Why can you only say, “Black lives matter?”
4. How will you pay for free college for everyone, and where will you put all these new students, given the overcrowding of many campuses already?
5. Explain how climate change is a greater threat to national security than ISIS.
6. What is your plan to defeat ISIS?
7. How many lives would have been saved in the recent mass shootings, by your proposed new gun laws?
8. Have you watched the entire Planned Parenthood videos?
9. If racism remains our “national sin,” why are millions of minorities risking their lives to immigrate to America?
10. The top one percent of wage-earners pay 46 percent of all taxes. You say that is too low. How much should they pay?
The Democratic candidates did an outstanding job of answering questions that, by all appearances, they wrote themselves. There was no discussion of ISIS, national debt, or the fact that none of the proposed new gun laws would have had any effect on any of the recent mass shootings. Miss America candidates have received tougher questions. I’m sure many in Democratic leadership like this, as the “debate” sparked only hugs and kisses. But when their candidates for president and vice-president face real debates in a few months, such softball questions and non-debate debates will not serve them well as preparation for the main event. There are real issues that need to be addressed. And at some point, a real journalist will step to the plate. I hope the candidates will be ready.