Why isn’t Gary Johnson in the debates and funny things that make you go “Hmm”

Politics just isn't what it used to be. Photo: AP File Photo

WASHINGTON D.C., October 7, 2012 ― Lately American politics just isn’t what it used to be. In the old days, people knew exactly what they wanted and were enthusiastic to go to the ballot booth to vote for it. Today, presidential candidates routinely trade one to three point separation from each other in national polls, talking points sound cheap and unimaginative, and so many unanswered questions persistently plague the process.

In an earlier article I explored ten unsolved mysteries of the 2012 election. As it turns out, in just the span of a month our wonderful and wise political overlords have given us reason to ask ten more questions that make you go “Hmm …”

1. Gary Johnson is one of the most articulate and popular third party candidates America has seen yet. Why isn’t he in the debates?

2. Why is it that the rules for high school debates require kids to cite sources for key facts mentioned during a debate (and have a box full of copies of the sources if anyone wants to look at it), but in presidential policy debates the candidates are allowed to make up wild statements without providing any evidence?

3. If I suffer from a hyperallergic reaction to shampoo or hairspray, my doctor will certainly advise that I purchase hypoallergenic hair products to “remove the source of the irritation.” On the other hand, when a Congressional candidate claims that there’s too much hyperpartisanship in Washington, their solution is for us to vote for “bipartisan” leaders just like them. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that we need HYPOpartisanship in D.C. – to remove the source of the political irritation?

4. If politicians “invest” our money, when do I get my dividend check in the mail?

5. Babies scream, cry and become extremely agitated whenever you try to take their stuffed animals away from them. Why are adults complaining so much about Mitt Romney wanting to take away Big Bird?

6. Speaking of PBS, don’t their shows start with a thank you that says “this show is made possible by contributions from viewers like you?” Why do they still need taxpayer funding?

7. Congressional and state legislature candidate attack ads always ask questions like, “How many bills has my opponent passed for the district while in office?” Shouldn’t the more important question be, “How many bills has my opponent racked up for the taxpayer while in office?”

8. Candidates love to say that affordable housing is important, but they also say “the economy is recovering because housing prices are going up again.” How do you make houses more affordable by making them more expensive?

9. If President Obama thinks that corporate jets are a sign of excess, why does he travel on a taxpayer funded, 231 foot long, 833,000 pound, $325 million dollar Boeing 747-200B? By contrast, a private/corporate jet like the Citation X only costs $22 million.

10. Last but not least, why is it candidate debates never feature moderators who are experts in economics, public administration, constitutional law or former military? Are the organizers afraid someone might ask a question no one can answer?

Someone please whistle the jingle from The X-Files. The truth is out there …


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Danny de Gracia

Dr. Danny de Gracia is a political scientist and a former senior adviser to the Human Services and International Affairs committees at the Hawaii State Legislature. From 2011-2013 he served as an elected municipal board member in Waipahu. As an expert in international relations theory, military policy, political psychology and economics, Danny has advised numerous policymakers and elected officials and his opinions have been featured worldwide. Now working on his first novel, Danny resides on the island of Oahu.

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