Presidential Debates & Lie Detectors

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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40 Responses

  1. E.C. Gach says:

    I’m psyched to see tonight’s debate if only to stare incredulously at the TV screen as CNBC reporters ask completely obtuse questions about the economy.Report

  2. Koz says:

    Those are really great questions, in a situation where you expect the opposite number to level with you. In the context of these debates, not as much. (Except the Huntsman one. That one is actually legit.)Report

  3. b-psycho says:

    Romney: (what Tod said)

    Cain: you make a big deal about your business experience, yet you are running for a position that both a) is, in principle at least, not about profit & b) includes a grant of the use of force.  What are your thoughts about this clear contrast between running a business & the presidency, and in what way (if any) would you admit applying business principles to politics would be counterproductive?

    Gingrich: It’s been recently pointed out that the individual mandate part of “obamacare” was originally part of conservative proposals for health care reform.  Why, in terms of philosophy, did the perception of that feature shift to where it is now?

    Paul: Federalism seems to be a way you’ve been able to play to both social conservatives and libertarians at once.  Well, say hypothetically you won the presidency & got to fill 2 slots on the Supreme Court in quick succession — after which they get cases where their rulings result in the overturning both of Roe vs Wade and of all federal laws criminalizing drug possession.  What would your response be to the respective parts of your base who would obviously be angered by one ruling while being thrilled by the other?

    Perry: you took some serious heat within the party for your remark about the children of undocumented immigrants getting in-state tuition.  Could you explain what you think the source of their anger is?

    Bachmann: imagine it were conclusively proven in the future that sexual preference was a genetic trait and not a choice.  Say a committed, deeply Christian couple had a test early in the pregnancy of the woman revealing her child had “the gay gene”.  If the woman confided to you that she considered, even if briefly, abortion because of that, what would you say?

    Santorum: same question as Bachmann

    Huntsman: you stated, in contrast with much of the base, that you agreed climate change is a man made phenomenon.  What do you think the opposition to that stance comes from?

    Johnson: say you won the nomination and were to choose a running mate, but your only options were between one that disagreed with you on abortion and one that disagreed with you on marijuana.  Which one would you choose, and why?

    Karger: …why are you a Republican? Seriously, I don’t get it. Explain.Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to b-psycho says:

      BHO believed in change a lot, I think.  He was not a Reagan who could lead the people [even enough of his own party] to it.  If he’s come out as a “centrist,” it’s for what he was unable to accomplish, not what he wanted to.

      The Christmas Tree tax?  Good grief, is this for real?

      Taxing Christmas?  Even the Gingrich Who Stole Christmas wouldn’t try that.

      Gingrich still has a snowball’s chance, I think.  The others, no.  I’m interested to see if Gingrich, the only one who’s followed Reagan’s 11th Commandment, can lead the others into resisting being baited into giving all their free campaign airtime over to the Cain mess.  Gingrich himself won’t bite, I’m certain.

      As for Tod’s core question here, I think the one question none can or should answer honestly is how much they’d actually be willing to compromise with the Democrats in Congress.  Now is not the time.


      • Uh, Tom, did you read the article about the Christmas tree fee?  This ain’t really an Obama proposal.

        The fee, requested by the National Christmas Tree Association…would fund a program “designed to benefit the industry and will be funded by the growers” … According to the Federal Registry, the proposed Christmas Tree Promotion Board, which would be funded by the new fee, would launch a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace; maintain and expend existing markets for Christmas trees; and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry” and to “enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States.”

        This is cartel behavior, plain and simple, and it’s being rung through the Department of Agriculture. Does Obama ultimately bear responsibility for the regulations passed by the executive branch agencies in his administration? Of course. Is there any real sense in attacking Obama on this? No, it’s just cheap political rhetoric designed to lull people who don’t pay much attention into thinking that Obama himself proposed and pushed the idea.Report

        • Dan Miller in reply to James Hanley says:

          It’s also worth noting that the administration is delaying the implementation of this (bad) idea.Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to James Hanley says:

          James, I did ask if it was real, giving BHO some benefit of the doubt as it’s breathtakingly stupid.  I didn’t and don’t read every little stupidity down to the nub; however, it does appear that BHO’s administration did greenlight this.  As I wrote recently, if Romney’s smart he’ll run against the administration and its incompetence, for which he’s answerable for, rather than the personally popular BHO himself.

          I’m semi-listening to the GOP debate just now, and it seems they’re taking that advice and doing what I wrote about Gingrich, the 11th Commandment, etc., as above, what I really wanted to add to this discussion.  The attempt at the Grinch tax was just another drop in the bucket—of course it would never actually be implemented.  That outrage alone would guarantee BHO as a one-term president.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to James Hanley says:

          “This is cartel behavior, plain and simple, and it’s being rung through the Department of Agriculture.”

          Not that this excuses this behavior by any means, but it’s the same sort of the thing the Dairy (Got Milk?) and Pork (The Other White Meat) sectors (among others) have been doing for years.Report

        • Scot in reply to James Hanley says:


          Barry isn’t responsible for this economy so why should he be responsible for anything the executive branch does?Report

  4. b-psycho says:

    Crap, I didn’t know it was supposed to only be people who’d be at the debate…Report

  5. b-psycho says:

    Since you throw in Obama…
    I have way too many things I’d ask him.  Pick one:

    – You recently gave up smoking tobacco after a bit of a struggle.  Yet, in the past, you had smoked marijuana and that didn’t seem to stick anywhere near as stubbornly. Do the implications of government using as a source of tax revenue sales of an addictive product while a non-addictive one is barred from the open market ever cross your mind?  If so, how?  If not, why not?

    -Say hypothetically an alleged supporter of terrorism against another country was hiding out in the U.S.  The intelligence agency of that country found out where that person was, and launched a drone strike which killed both that person and some nearby civilians.  Would this be a war crime?

    -Surveys of OWS protesters have suggested many of them are disaffected Democrats, angry about Wall Street influence in politics.  Many democratic politicians, including yourself, receive a lot of campaign donations from the finance sector.  What do you think the perception of quid pro quo from this does with regards to the credibility of representative government & voting for said representatives?

    I’ve got more.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to b-psycho says:

      Nice.  Especially #2, which I’d really like to see asked while Obama was under the influence of a truth serum.Report

    • JG New in reply to b-psycho says:

      To make #2 a valid, or even an interesting question, you would have to also posit that the US was somehow either complicit in sheltering the terrorist or otherwise incapabale of either detaining him or extraditing him to the other country in question.  Both of which premises are absurd – and the question’s therefore a slow lob over the plate.Report

      • Katherine in reply to JG New says:

        They’re not absurd.  The US has been doing just that with Luis Posada Carriles, a terrorist accused of bombing a Cuban plane in 1976, killing 77 people.  He’s known to be living in Miami; US law enforcement even picked him up several years ago for immigration violations, of all things, before releasing him on bail.  The US refuses to extradite him either to Cuba or to a Cuban-allied country that would be willing to try him if the US considers Cuba not an option due to human rights issues.

        For bonus points, he was trained by the CIA.  As an anti-Cuban terrorist.  Anyone does anything like that to the US, it’s an easy cause for war.  The US does it to another country, it’s business as usual.  Damn imperial hypocrites.Report

  6. Katherine says:

    To Romney: Under what circumstances would you wage a pre-emptive war; are you sincere in saying you would expand Guantanamo; and what are your views on torture?  [I want to know precisely how dangerous this guy is, and how much of it is populist posturing.]

    To Paul: Do you really think you could get a return to the gold standard, substantial military cuts, or drug legalization through Congress?  What would you do if Congress refused to pass any of your major initiatives?  [Optional alternative question: Do you believe that historical factors play a significant role in how prosperity is distributed in America; and if not, explain why and how not.]

    To Obama: What have you learned since assuming office that has affected your views on such issues as sweeping government concealment of information, the importance of having proof of guilt before we lock people up and/or kill them with drone strikes, and the extent of constitutional liberties; how much of what you said and wrote on the subject prior to your election as president did you believe; and, to your knowledge, is the US still using torture in any form?

    That’s just the start of what I’d like to ask him, but it covers some of the most important points.  I’m fairly sure Romney will get the nomination, so he’s the only candidate who it’s really important to have questions for.  Paul’s the only other interesting one, so he gets a question for that reason.Report

  7. BSK says:

    O/T, but when I tried to find the debate tonight, I saw the Country Music Awards were on.  For a second, I thought that was actually the debate…Report

  8. James Hanley says:

    To all of them.  Would it be on your first trip to the Oval Office bathroom or the second that you first wipe your ass with the Constitution?Report

  9. Kyle Cupp says:

    To all: why shouldn’t the American people trust you with power?Report

  10. Stillwater says:

    Tod, posts like this make me feel extra special good that I’ve made a commitment to always agree with you. It was the right move at the right time. This. is. awesome.Report

  11. Mike Schilling says:

    Romney: What responsibility do you bear for the perception that you’re completely insincere?

    Gingrich: Do you understand why gay men in comitted relationships don’t want to be lectrued to by a serial adulterer?

    Santorum: What you said that there used to be no sex in the military, what in God’s name were you talking about?

    Cain: Do you respect people who blame their own mistakes on racism?

    Paul: How much did you know about the objectionable material in the Ron Paul Report?

    Obama: How do you intend to become a more effective president?Report

  12. Jaybird says:

    “Could you give me a list of things that are not Interstate Commerce?”Report

  13. Jaybird says:

    The other one I’d be tempted to ask is “Let’s say a bill from a Republican Congress and a Republican Senate reaches your desk. You agree with the aims of the bill but you are pretty sure that it is not Constitutional. Do you sign it anyway?”Report

  14. Jeff says:

    For Obama:

    You knew from the primaries that the Republicans were going to be complete a-holes obstructionists and from your first summit were shown how “serious” they were about fixing the economy.  So when you thought to reason with them,