Tomorrow night Senators Barack Obama and John McCain meet for their third, and final formal debate. Thus far, in this writer's opinion, both debates have been underwhelming. Neither candidate has been able to really distinguish himself from the other, as moderators Jim Lerher (of PBS) and Tom Brokaw (of NBC) have basically asked different forms of the same questions, over and over for 90 minutes. The candidates give the same canned, over rehearsed, stock answers. Obama drones on about the evils of the Bush administration, and McCain proudly proclaims his "maverick" credentials, and his ability to "reach across the aisle".
Here's a thought, gentlemen. First, Senator Obama, you're not running against George Bush, and every conservative will quickly tell you that John McCain is NOT George W. Bush! And you, Senator McCain - please understand that we, who are conservative couldn't care less about how you have loved up to Ted Kennedy, Russ Feingold, or Joe Lieberman. We want to hear about issues. Real issues. ALL the issues that matter to voters - and those issues go far beyond the two horses of the economy and taxes.
The economic crisis IS important. Someone needs to come up with a real plan that would lessen the government's influence in economic matters and let the free market work. American businesses and her workers must make the major adjustments it takes to be effective in the global economy. Taxes ARE an important issue and there is no doubt that government has it's hand way too far in our collective pockets. While important to each of us, taxes and economic issues are not the be all, end all of the important questions that voters need to ask.
I am no longer identifying myself as a Democrat or a Republican, but rather as a Conservative. I do not vote as an "evangelical", I consider candidates (at every level) from the perspective of being a Conservative with a Biblical world view. I do not believe I am alone in this. In fact I KNOW I am not. I know Democrats and Republicans alike who fall into that same category, and that world view should go with us in every aspect of our lives - and yes - even into the voting booth. I refuse to worship at the altar of the economy only. I want to know where these guys stand on issues that are important to me, and to our culture.
Where do they stand on the definition of marriage? What would their policies be in regard to that important institution? What about the right to life? What would they do to protect the rights of the unborn - the most helpless among us? What type of Federal Judges and Supreme Court Justices would they appoint? Would they go with appointees that strictly interpret our constitution, or those who would be judicial activists - legislating from the bench? Where do they stand on their commitment to national security, and that of our allies in general? What would they do to support Israel in the face of the threat of annihilation from their radical neighbors? What about their personal character? My mother used to tell me that you are judged by the company you keep. Shouldn't these candidates be examined regarding their past and present associations with others?
Other issues are important as well. How will they lead in dealing with illegal immigration? Who or what type of individuals would they appoint to cabinet and advisory positions? Do they believe in more government or less? Do they think that the "separation of church and state" means there can be no expression of Christian faith in the public square? What about energy independence? Will they support policies that would allow us to tap into our vast reserves of oil or would we still continue to spend billions of dollars buying crude oil from foreign nations that really don't like us much? Would they support nuclear power and clean coal technologies? No hedging. No spin. Just give us opportunity to hear their answers to these and other important questions!
The list goes on and on, but I hope you see the point. Where are these questions during the debates? Rick Warren's Saddleback Forum asked many of these questions. We were able to see some real differences between the two candidates in that forum. John McCain's first boost in the public opinion polls came as a result of his answers to those questions at Saddleback. The other came when he named a rather unknown running mate who openly and un-apologetically states what she stands for. Her Democratic opponent does the same. One can easily see the difference between the two.
It's a refreshing breath of fresh air, that I think would be helpful for the candidates at the top of the tickets to emulate. And as for the Wednesday evening debate, I would urge CBS's Bob Schieffer (the moderator) to ask about SOMETHING besides the economy. Give us opportunity to see where these candidates stand on a whole spectrum of issues. Then, perhaps, we will see the differences, and make an informed decision as to how to cast our votes.