What to ask those Democratic presidential candidates tonight?

Everybody is offering suggestions to CNN as to what questions should be asked of the Democratic presidential candidates at tonight’s debate in Las Vegas.

Who are we to buck the trend?

Hillary Clinton: Please tell our audience tonight how they too can invest $1,000 in cattle futures and turn it into $100,000 in 10 months.

Bernie Sanders: Can you explain why you defended the VA medical system and said: “the VA holds up as good or better than private hospitals. By and large, veterans throughout America believe that they’re getting pretty good health care.”

What difference does it make?

Lincoln Chafee: Though Bernie Sanders calls himself an independent and a socialist, can you explain why you switched from Republican to Democrat in 2013?

Martin O’Malley: Could you sing a few verses of “Whiskey in the Jar”?

Jim Webb: Can you explain why you oppose taking down the Confederate flag and saying: “The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades. … But we should also remember that honorable Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War, including slave holders in the Union Army …”?

Clinton: Can you explain why you gave a Russian diplomat a button that was supposed read “reset” in Russian but instead said “overcharge”?

Clinton: Why didn’t you tell the ambassador to get the hell out of Benghazi?

Clinton: Who was the head of the vast right-wing conspiracy?

Clinton: Why did you loot furnishings from the White House?

Clinton: How do you find Chinese dishwashers, waiters and street stall hawkers to contribute so much to your campaigns?

Clinton: How many email devices are you carrying right now?

Clinton: How much was Chelsea paid by your foundation and what did she do to earn it?

Clinton: Was there any sniper fire when you landed at McCarran airport recently?

Clinton: Tell us how you are going to use “Dear Saul” Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” to win this debate tonight?

Clinton: Why were you fired by the Watergate investigation?

Clinton: How does HillaryCare differ from ObamaCare or does it?

Clinton: Are you and Bill staying at the Greenspun home during this trip?

All candidates: How much will the national debt be after your first term in office?


24 comments on “What to ask those Democratic presidential candidates tonight?

  1. Vernon Clayson says:

    Let’s ask them to leave politics as they give even thar wretched profession a bad name.

  2. Patrick says:

    Let’s ask them all when they would initiate prosecutions against members of the bush administration for crimes against humanity.

    And as a follow up: when they will initiate criminal actions against all members of any banks that caused the 2008 crash, along with all members of the bush administration.

    And then finally, when they will initiate prosecutions against the Koch Bros. For their crimes.

  3. Rincon says:

    Come to think of it, did anyone’s head roll for the 2008 crash? Well, except for Bernie Madoff. Of course, the rich are only prosecuted rarely, when the media demands it. Those in power take care of their kind.

  4. Steve says:

    “The Madoffs were also hefty donors to political candidates. In total, the Madoff family has donated more than $380,000 to political candidates, parties and political action committees since 1993, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The giving skewed largely Democratic, although donations were made to several Republicans, including scandal-ridden Rep. Vito J. Fossella (R-N.Y.).”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2008/12/madoff-bought-influence-in-washington-016608#ixzz3oUo2A64x

  5. Tom Sowell was asked what caused the housing market crash and he said:

    “The most fundamental thing is that the money that was normally paid for monthly housing payments stopped coming in, or stopped coming in in the volumes that it had in the past …

    “The question then is, why did that happen? And the reason that happened was that banks and other lending institutions began lending to people who did not meet the traditional standards for mortgage loans, but were given those loans under pressure from government regulators, and even in some cases under threats from the Department of Justice if their statistics didn’t match what the Department of Justice thought they should be — for example, in terms of income levels, race, what communities they invested in, and so on.”


  6. Rincon says:

    If I understand your link correctly, the author says that the government relaxed mortgage requirements and forced Fannie May and Freddie Mac to buy up those mortgages. One would have thought then, that the problem would have been primarily Fannie and Freddie’s problem. Why did it turn out to be one of the entire world banking system? Could it have been just a little more complicated than that?

    Wikipedia seems to think so. Their article cites a variety of factors that contributed to the severity of this disaster. I’ll only give two quotes, but they only scratch the surface of the problem:
    1) “Global pool of fixed-income securities increased from approximately $36 trillion in 2000 to $80 trillion by 2007. This “Giant Pool of Money” increased as savings from high-growth developing nations entered global capital markets.” and, “The temptation offered by such readily available savings overwhelmed the policy and regulatory control mechanisms in country after country, as lenders and borrowers put these savings to use, generating bubble after bubble across the globe.”

    2) “But large default rates on subprime mortgages cannot account for the severity of the crisis. Rather, low-quality mortgages acted as an accelerant to the fire that spread through the entire financial system. The latter had become fragile as a result of several factors that are unique to this crisis: the transfer of assets from the balance sheets of banks to the markets, the creation of complex and opaque assets, the failure of ratings agencies to properly assess the risk of such assets, and the application of fair value accounting. To these novel factors, one must add the now standard failure of regulators and supervisors in spotting and correcting the emerging weaknesses.”

    Conservatives see only the sins of their enemies.

  7. Rincon says:

    Jeb Bush and probably most of the Republican candidates need answer one question most of all: Since your platform heavily favors the 1%, why should the other 99% vote for you?

  8. nyp says:

    The argument that the Community Reinvestment Act, which became law in the 1970s, somehow caused the housing bubble and crash that took place under the Bush Administration in 2003-2008, is absurd on its face and has been repeatedly debunked. For example, only 6% of subprime loans during the bubble were made by by CRA-covered lenders to lower-income borrowers or CRA neighborhoods.

    (Of course, I acknowledge that making arguments backed by actual data is a fool’s errand on this blog.)

  9. Steve says:

    Per usual, Nyp leaves out relevant data. Federal Reserve Board data shows more than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions.
    Private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year.
    Only one of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006 was directly subject to the housing law that’s being lambasted by conservative critics.

    These private loans were subprime and based on CRA criteria. The big problems really hit when the rates automatically adjusted. People who took those loans couldn’t afford the new rates. That type of loan is intended for people who will not remain owners of the property for very long. Lenders should never have made such loans to people who obviously could not afford them.
    Subprime was a BIG contributor to the crash.

  10. Patrick says:

    “The Community Reinvestment Act, passed in 1977, requires banks to lend in the low-income neighborhoods where they take deposits. Just the idea that a lending crisis created from 2004 to 2007 was caused by a 1977 law is silly. But it’s even more ridiculous when you consider that most subprime loans were made by firms that aren’t subject to the CRA. University of Michigan law professor Michael Barr testified back in February before the House Committee on Financial Services that 50% of subprime loans were made by mortgage service companies not subject comprehensive federal supervision and another 30% were made by affiliates of banks or thrifts which are not subject to routine supervision or examinations. As former Fed Governor Ned Gramlich said in an August, 2007, speech shortly before he passed away: “In the subprime market where we badly need supervision, a majority of loans are made with very little supervision. It is like a city with a murder law, but no cops on the beat.”

    Not surprisingly given the higher degree of supervision, loans made under the CRA program were made in a more responsible way than other subprime loans. CRA loans carried lower rates than other subprime loans and were less likely to end up securitized into the mortgage-backed securities that have caused so many losses, according to a recent study by the law firm Traiger & Hinckley (PDF file here).”


  11. Patrick says:

    So, the question for Clinton, and Sanders (and I love Sanders answer) is WHEN are these people going to jail?

  12. Steve says:

    Without CRA, subprime would never have existed.

  13. Steve says:

    Best answer.

    “I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone”

    Claims the best excuse to vote for her…is because she is a woman!

  14. Patrick says:

    If it don’t fit on a number sticker ain’t a conservative I know believes anything.

  15. nyp says:

    “Without CRA, subprime would never have existed.”
    that is crazy. What evidence to you have for such a dumb assertion?

  16. Patrick says:

    If Steve thinks it it MUST be true, right?

  17. Rincon says:

    “Lenders should never have made such loans to people who obviously could not afford them.” But Steve, isn’t that what you advocate? Trusting private enterprise and not subjecting them to regulation?

  18. Yes, trust private enterprise to make decisions and then pay the consequences and not be bailed out because they were pressured into making the bad loans.

  19. Rincon says:

    Unfortunately, in your Utopian dream, the collateral damage would be massive indeed. C’est la guerre?

  20. Steve says:

    Private lenders should have been allowed to fail. Bailing them out only encourages more of the same.

    CRA was and is, a government idea. Privates should never have been encouraged to join the party.

  21. Rincon says:

    I think the most common criticism of Hoover was that he had similar ideas to yours. When he acted on them, which was mostly failing to act at all, the nation continued its slide into the crapper. While I also do not like bailing out careless capitalists, I also realize that when you’re up to your butt in alligators, it’s not the time to continue your original plan to drain the swamp. The time to get stern with the financiers is either before or way after the crisis, not in the midst of it.

    Ben Bernanke famously chose to allow Lehman Brothers to go into bankruptcy. The result was, as put in Fortune: “The failure of Lehman Brothers sent shockwaves through the global financial system, accelerating the crisis until leaders of the seven largest economies met on Oct. 10 and pledged to not let any more systemically important financial institutions go under.” To have done nothing when AIG began to follow suit seems highly questionable. Why would we doubt that the dominoes would keep falling as they had in the Great Depression?

    “In light of this, economist Alan Meltzer has called the decision(to allow Lehman Brothers to go bankrupt) “one of the worst blunders in Federal Reserve history.” Five years later, the recently released transcripts give us no reason to disagree with Meltzer’s assessment.” http://fortune.com/2014/02/21/fed-transcripts-bernanke-chose-to-let-lehman-fail/

    I think I’ll have to believe Meltzer’s assessment rather than yours..

  22. Steve says:


    We can never really know what the outcome would have been. The world had already absorbed the Lehman incident and could well have been ready to handle the next ones.
    But in true hindsight blindness, where are the efforts to make these big institutions break themselves up and become less of a threat and more of a tool?

  23. Rincon says:

    By criticizing the rescue efforts, you are presuming to know what you just said no one can know. I do agree though, that we need to break up these gargantuan institutions, but I suspect Conservatives would scream that it’s too much government regulation. I can’t imagine Liberals getting in the way, EXCEPT that when huge companies can donate unlimited amounts of money, how in the world do you think we’ll ever get enough politicians to support such a plan? Doesn’t seem likely.

  24. Patrick says:

    I think the use of labels lke conservative or liberal don’t have much utility when discussing the subject of the last crash. As a liberal, I can honestly say my reaction was quite “conservative” in the truest sense; I wanted the banking system to continue with some small changes. “Conservatives” I knew, seemed to want the system, or at least the institutions, to crumble down like they deserved. I call that radical but certainly not conservative.

    It’s also ironic that he “socialists” or at least the group that “conservatives” seem most likely to label socialists, were among the ones favoring the most conservative position of trying to maintain most of the status quo.

    Funny how crisis brings such things out.

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