Questions for John McCain

A new-and-improved list of tough questions reporters ought to be asking John McCain, but aren’t.

I’ve updated my little list of questions to ask John McCain. So far, reporters have been flocking not to ask them. But there’s always hope. We can always submit them for one of the “town hall” debates. Keep ’em coming.

Here’s the current list, new items first:

1. Don’t you think you were presumptuous when you claimed to be “the American president Americans have been waiting for”? Weren’t George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and the two Roosevelts “American presidents”?

2. Why did your campaign make an attack video poking fun at the idea of Barack Obama on the $100 bill, and, having done so, how could you attack Sen. Obama again for saying that you would try to point out that he didn’t look like the pictures on the currency?

3. Your campaign spent a ton of money on an ad charging that Sen. Obama refused to visit wounded troops because “the pentagon wouldn’t allow him to bring cameras.” That was false. Sen. Obama in fact visited wounded troops as part of the same trip, without cameras present or even an annoucement to the press.

In addition to your legally required “I approve of this message” at the end of the ad, you later said that you were “proud” of it. Did you ask whether there was any evidence to support that very serious charge before approving the ad? Are you still proud of having made a false charge, and using wounded warriors as political footballs? Have you apologized to Sen. Obama for attacking him unfairly?

4. If you agree that making sure tires are properly inflated is a good idea, why did your campaign poke fun at it? And are you aware that Sen. Obama has a comprehensive policy and that the tire issue was only a minor addendum to it?

5. Do you expect anyone to believe that an office manager for Hess Oil and her railroad-foreman husband made a $61,000 contribution to your campaign and the RNC out of their own funds? Will your campaign return the money and ask the RNC to do the same?

6. Are your anger management problems something voters should worry about? Is someone who shouts obscenities at his wife in front of witnesses safe to be trusted with the power to start a nuclear war?

7. How much did your wife collect from the shopping center deal she was in with Charles Keating at the time when you intervened to keep federal regulators from reining in his S&L before it cost the taxpayers $2.3 billion? Since she has refused to reveal her full tax returns, what assurance do we have that your decisions as President wouldn’t benefit your wife’s business partners?

8. How did your wife feel about your suggestion that she enter a topless beauty contest?

9. Carly Fiorina, speaking on your behalf, said it was wrong for insurance companies to cover Viagra but not birth control. But you voted twice to let insurance companies keep doing just that. When you were asked about it, you said you didn’t want to talk about the issue and couldn’t remember how you voted on it it, and promised to get back to the reporter with an answer. You never did. Would you require insurance companies that cover Viagra to cover birth control pills?

10. Do you still think that the Social Security system is “an absolute disgrace”?

11. The Bush Administration wants to classify birth control pills as abortion devices. Senator Obama and other members of Congress have protested. You have said nothing. Do you support the change? If the Administration issues new regulations to that effect and you are elected, will you withdraw those regulations?

12. Are lobbyists who have worked for foreign governments allowed to work for your campaign? Will they be allowed to staff your administration?

13. Is it still your position that if we find Osama bin Laden in Pakistan we shouldn’t try to capture him unless the Pakistani government, which is riddled with terrorist supporters, agrees?

14. Why is your campaign violating the McCain-Feingold Act by exceeding the spending limit after having agreed to take matching funds for the primaries and derived benefit from that agreement?

15. You have said that you would now vote against your own immigration bill. If the Congress passed the comprehensive immigration reform bill you sponsored just as it was written, would you, as President, sign it or veto it?

16. You claim to be against earmarks. Why did you ask the first Bush Administration for an earmark &#8212 that was the word you used &#8212 for a water project?

17. Is there any expert not employed by your campaign who thinks that a gas tax holiday is a good idea? How would you pay for rebuilding the transportation infrastructure without those tax revenues?

18. Now that the Iraqi government has endorsed Sen. Obama’s withdrawal timetable, and the Bush Administration is negotiating directly with Iran, are you feeling a little left out?

19. During the primaries, you attacked attack ads. Now your campaign is running virtually nothing else. What changed your mind? And are you really “proud” of an ad your old friend John Weaver called “childish” and your own mother called “kinda stupid”?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: