A Real Question For The Candidates

During an AFSCME candidates forum Tuesday, Chris Matthews was heckled for not asking Senator Clinton "a real question." The senator played along, "A question about the real people in this audience." And you know? The senator and the hecklers were right. There are questions that the traditional media, and even some of us on the blogs, aren't asking.

Here's a partial list of the questions that should be asked of each candidate at every event.

RUDY GIULIANI
Why are you morbidly and shamelessly exploiting September 11th for political and financial reward when you really had very little to do with the search and rescue effort? In fact, all you did was to act as a substitute teacher while the president of the United States sat calcified like an impotent mope in a Florida classroom.

SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON
Our faces are beginning to melt like that hairless Toht character in Raiders Of The Lost Ark due to the effects of the climate crisis. Why are you wasting your time on spoofy viral videos aimed at teasing your campaign song? You're still a member of the United States Senate, you! And while we're at it, don't you think censoring video game violence is way, way, way down on the list of our national priorities somewhere below eradicating the dreaded Super Power Flick from grade school recess and just above a ban on messin' with Sasquatch?

SENATOR JOHN McCAIN
You voted to continue handing out government cash to corporations that eliminate American jobs and send them overseas (defeated bill here). How much are they paying you? Be specific, Mr. Banner. By the way, here's one we comic geeks have been dying to ask: how do you always end up in those purple clam diggers? Do you wear them under your slacks?

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA
How can you possibly run as a strong candidate when your Democratic colleagues are about as weak as a life size standee of Adrian Grenier precariously fashioned from dollops of Jeremy Piven's hair glue?

MITT ROMNEY
Spray-on tan and Fructis receipts, please. Hand them over. Your GOP allies have had an unfair teenie bopper Mean Girls party at John Edwards' expense. It's your turn, Mitt.

MIKE GRAVEL

Senator Gravel, what the f*** was that?

Yes, okay. Some of those were joke questions and not real questions. So here it is: the one and only real question which ought to be asked of the candidates until their ears bleed:

EVERYONE
If elected, do you pledge to entirely eliminate private money from federal elections? Further, do you pledge to eliminate all gifts, no matter how insignificant, from lobbyists to any and all government officials? If your answer is no, then why not?

In other words, an obvious solution to many of our present and future national issues is simple and direct: take the money out of politics. Yet no-one is really talking about that. Why? Because of the money in politics, for one.

That's why it's the question we should all be asking. It's not scientifically complicated like stem cells or ambiguous like the alleged Iranian threat. It makes sense for both parties and all political persuasions.

If private money is stripped from the hands of politicians, here's what we could have:

-Real candidates selected by real people
-Universal health care, healthier Americans, and real regulation of the insurance industry
-Energy legislation that would help to eliminate the threat of the climate crisis
-A reduction in the bloated and dangerous military industrial establishment
-A repeal of the Bankruptcy Act
-A possible return to the Fairness Doctrine
-Privatization of our electoral process will be slowed and turned back
-Privatization of our military could be slowed and turned back
-Anti-trust laws that foster increased competition, especially in the tech, media and auto industries
-More American jobs remaining in America
-More arrests and convictions of corporate criminals
-Greater citizen access and a stronger ability to personally petition the government

This only skims the surface of what can be solved. That said, it won't create an American utopia. Defense contractors will continue to spread their subcontractors throughout hundreds of congressional districts. Corporate sponsored agitprop and disinformation will continue to spread (see oil industry global warming disinformation), albeit with closer scrutiny. There will always be loopholes, to be sure. But can we agree that any loopholes are infinitely more palatable than the high priced mutual masturbation currently in progress?

In the brilliant documentary Why We Fight, the filmmakers pointed out the delicate balance between capitalism and democracy in America, and how capitalism has, especially in the last 50 years, ascended to dominance over we the people. It's an ascendancy in which corporations have slowly seized control over the direction of the nation. Capitalism should always remain our economic system, but it shouldn't be allowed to unilaterally guide our destiny. This issue -- the elimination of private money from the political process -- would go a long way to restoring the balance in favor of "the real people in the audience."

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