Questions for Political Candidates

These are questions I’d ask Presidential candidates if I were to moderate a debate:

1.  Do you know the oath of office for President?  If not, I’d recite it.

2,  What purpose do you believe the Constitution serves?

3.  How are changes to the Constitution made?  Article V: Amendment.

4.  What is your understanding of the role of the Office of the President, as it is defined in the Constitution?

I find it amazing that most folks cast their vote without giving these questions the faintest consideration.  And, yet we wonder why we get what we get.

I heard a local radio show host say it well recently.   He said something like (paraphrased from memory):

 We’ve come to expect that one candidate will tell us how he’s going to solve our problems.  Then the other candidate tells us how he’s going to solve our problems.  

What we don’t realize is that we should vote for the guy that tells us the truth — that it’s not the President’s job to solve our problems, it’s ours’.

Here’s more of my Questions for Politicians posts from the past.

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14 thoughts on “Questions for Political Candidates

  1. I think I would get a clue to that from the answer to, “What purpose do you believe the Constitution serves?”

    I can’t find allocating resources by proxy in the Constitution, except for those actions specifically enumerated in Article I, Section 8, like establishing post roads and post offices or to raise and support armies.

    • Isn’t it amazing that a small committee of government planners was able to accurately predict the proper scope of government 200 years in the future? That really gives me hope for socialism.

      • Not even they thought they did that. That’s why they included “Article V: Amendment” and that’s why the Constitution has been amended 27 times so far. Is it too much to ask those who would like to change the scope of government to use Article V rather than bypassing that democratic process and stretching interpretations to suit their own fatal conceit?

        • Well…personally…when it comes to determining the proper scope of government…if I had to choose between the invisible hand or amendments to the constitution then I would choose the invisible hand.

          Wait…I get the feeling like the president really weaseled out of answering whether resources can be efficiently allocated by proxy. Isn’t it just a simple yes or no answer?

        • “…the president really weaseled out of answering whether resources can be efficiently allocated by proxy.”

          Is there really only one note in your song?

          How many times have we been over this? Your proposed system might be better than 90% of government spending now, but is still sub optimal. How much time and care will folks take in allocating what they are forced to pay? Not much.

          • In terms of the proper scope of government….what’s optimal? The constitution? A government that only provides defense, police and courts? How did you arrive at your optimal scope of government?

        • I should have said ‘worse’, rather than ‘sub optimal.’ Optimal is an ideal. Better or worse is realistic comparison.

          I’d start by saying a government that follows its charter is better than one that doesn’t for the simple reason that we will better know what to expect from the former and make our individual plans accordingly, while the latter increases uncertainty.

          Tell me, in your proposed system, how is the scope of government determined — that is, how is the tax code determined?

          • It doesn’t make any sense that a charter could determine the proper scope of government. How does a charter know whether the government is better than the private sector at supplying something?

            In my proposed system it would be up to each and every taxpayer to use their individual taxes to indicate whether the government is better than the private sector at supplying something. The aggregate of their tax allocation decisions would reflect the proper scope of government.

        • I’d much prefer a gov’t that stuck to it’s charter. Just as I prefer a homeowner’s association that sticks to its charter. I would not like to live in a neighborhood where the officers of the homeowners association could arbitrarily decide to do things beyond their charter.

          How would it be determined how much each of us pays in taxes in your system? Do we each get to decide individually?

      • To be clear, I’m not saying that a “charter could determine the proper scope of government”. I don’t even know what that means.

        All I’m saying is that I’d prefer a gov’t that stuck to its charter, because that allows us to better make decisions about our lives without having to consider arbitrary and new encroachments.

  2. We’re going in a circles here.

    Me: What should the government do?
    You: It should do what the constitution says it should do.
    Me: How does the constitution know what the government should do?
    You: Abiding by the constitution is better than not abiding by the constitution

    How do you know what you should do? Well…you should try various things and see which of those things you’re good at. How do you know you’re good at X? Well…people pay you more money to do X than to do Y.

    How do we know what the government should do? Well…the government already does a lot of things. How do we know the government is good at doing any of these things? Well…if people pay money for the government to do these things then we know that the government is good at doing them.

    That’s why…in order to determine the proper scope of government we should allow taxpayers to directly allocate their taxes. People aren’t going to pay you to do things that you’re not good at…and taxpayers aren’t going to pay the government to do things that it’s not good at. The end result will be the proper scope of government.

    • Again, how is it determined how much each individual pays into your scheme? Do we each get to pay whatever amount we want?

      “How does the constitution know what the government should do?”
      This is where we make the turn to go back in the circle. You’re arguing from a place where the current constitution doesn’t exist and is replaced your constitution. I’m arguing from a place where the current constitution does exist.

  3. How about asking them some harder questions.
    http://www.telusplanet.net/public/stonedan/mla_questions.htm
    With the above link you can quickly down 3 files onto a usb stick and have the question / answers play randomly.

    We have to ask them real questions. Like should lobbying be considered treason when anything but a handshake is exchanged.

    Softball questions allow the corrupt candidates a free pass to public funds. Planted questions are pathetic and should be booed.

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