The debate showcased an assortment of the most unproductive questions I’ve ever heard, such as telling us who their favorite teacher was as a child, and spending far too much time letting them prance down memory lane. Those questions belong on a human-interest talk show interview, not on a national debate. They were a colossal misuse of time, with no bearing on who is fit to lead America.But there were some good questions that a frontrunner should answer. When the first one was asked, I wondered what Mrs. Clinton would say. But it wasn’t given to her. Curious, I thought. Then a second tough question was asked, and again she was not quizzed. Remembering a children’s book, I thought, curiouser. Then the third tough question came, and again was directed elsewhere. Curiouser and curiouser.
There’s a scene early in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” where Alice starts to grow and becomes bewildered as her head bumps the ceiling and her feet look farther away. Bewildered, Alice cried, “Curiouser and curiouser!” That’s what the debate became as you realize what Hillary was not asked.
Sure, she got confrontational questions. But they’re questions on which most Democrats are united — minimum wage, condemning Iraq. We know where the Democrats stand on those issues, and she gives them what they want.
But what about the things that deeply divide Democrats? What about the questions for which the base wants to hear one thing but general election swing voters want to hear another? Why wasn’t she asked those questions?
Here are the questions that Mrs. Clinton must be required to answer:
First, she previously said her position on same-sex marriage was “evolving.” That’s refusing to take a position. What is her position on same-sex marriage, and also on de facto same-sex marriage, meaning a broad, comprehensive civil union that is indistinguishable from marriage? And if she supports one but not the other, why? What’s the difference?
Second, what is her position on guns? Vice President Gore and Senator Kerry both got pummeled by gun owners for opposing Second Amendment rights and freedoms. Does Hillary believe that the Second Amendment secures the right of law-abiding citizens to purchase and possess firearms?
And third, what is her view of religious freedom? What is her view of the role of faith and religion in public life?