Is there a nonzero chance that...(presidential election primary issue)

I would like to see, even briefly, the national debate focus on:

Who would do a better job of running the country in the next four years?

Instead, we’ve been getting a microscopic scrutiny of Romney’s finances and job history, and on the other hand, a minute examination of the last four years and whether Obama was the salvation of humankind or the world’s worst leader since Pol Pot (there seems to be no middle ground available here).

Is it at all possible that the national debate might focus on the fitness of the candidates for the job in 2013, since that’s what we are presumably evaluating them for, i.e., the future?

I haven’t, for instance, heard anything other than a few blurted sound bites about what Romney’s foreign policy goals would be, or how Obama would react to a persistence (or increase) in the unemployment rate in 2013…you know, stuff like that. I’m horribly sick of each candidate trying to tell us what an unworthy douchebag the other is. I even see it on this forum.

Nope. People complain about it but the fact is that negative advertising works. No one gets ahead by taking the “high road” while the other guy slings mud at him.

Spending time talking about your big plans for 2013 just gives the other guy ammunition to use against you. So everyone speaks in vague terms about obvious stuff “I’ll bring down the deficit”, “I’ll lower health care costs”, “I’ll strengthen our role on the geopolitical stage” without saying how. Because once you say “I’ll lower the deficit by raising taxes” or “I’ll lower the deficit by cutting Medicaid”, you’ve just painted a bulls eye on yourself.

Well, per usual, there should be 3 presidential debates. To the extent that the candidates actually answer the questions asked (instead of given pre-packaged answers to the questions they wished were asked), then yes. They probably won’t be Great Debates (hah!), but they’re usually a lot better than the stupid campaign ads.

How do you determine someone’s fitness to be President? You can’t give him 3 month probationary period to let him try it out. You can’t run a “Presidential formula” through a computer to spit out an answer for you. You can’t even look at the Constitution for answers because they’re both equally qualified there (Birthers notwithstanding).

I’d argue that looking at Romney’s job history is precisely what we should be doing and it’s the single best determining factor in how he would act as President. In other words, the national debate IS answering your question.

In that being President only vaguely resembles running a large company, no, it isn’t even close to the best way to look at Romney. Though he is himself to blame for that perception, since he’s used it (a la Ross Perot) as a metaphor.

This is too general a question for anyone to discuss without specifics that are illuminated by questions such as, “Does Obama have a plan for the economy and the debt?” or “Is Mitt Romney being deceitful about his record?” and many other pointed questions.

It’s like going to a car dealership and hearing a salesman talk about why his car is better than his competitors, and you respond with, “No, I don’t want to hear about why your car is better and theirs is worse; let’s just talk about what car I should buy!”

Well how would you look at it then? You can either say “well you’ve never been President and so you’re clearly not qualified to be President,” which is rather stupid and would eliminate everyone on this planet except Obama, GWBush, and Carter.

Or you can treat this like the job interview that it is and judge the candidate based upon his previous experience and what he’s accomplished in those positions. So explain to me why it’s wrong to examine Romney’s time at Bain as a necessary requirement for evaluation in how he’ll be as President? Why is it wrong to do so?

You cannot discuss how you are going to handle an unknown future. No matter how utopian your world is. Nobody understands what it means to be President until they get into the job and it blindsides them. Obama has all but explicitly admitted that he was not prepared for the depth of problems in the economy and that his statements about what he wanted to do about foreign policy were drastically tempered by the realities of the details.

This is true for every single person who has ever become President. It was true even for George H. W. Bush and he was probably the most aware vice president to take the office since WWII. It will be true for Romney.

And you know what? A lot of it will be true for Obama. How you respond to real-world events depends entirely on the actual details of that event and not even the sitting President can foresee those.

The more you discuss specifics of how you would handle the future, the more meaningless your words become. Doing so is not a good thing to be wished for. It actively discredits anyone who tries it.

So the chances of it happening are zero. For good reason. What you get is general positivity about one’s abilities and general negativity about the opponent’s. Yes, Romney’s finances and job history work squarely into that. You as a voter are judging overall fitness to respond to the unknown, not a set of policies.

The Republican solution to unemployment is typically appealing to the private sector, or in the case of Reaganomics, shoving wads of cash into the invisible hand. Some people question the effect that’d have on unemployment and the recession, pointing to Romney’s record. Romney decides not to own the period of outsourcing by claiming he’d severed links to Bain. Now that position raises further questions. Is his earning a salary many times higher than the average American due to the outsourcing of jobs he didn’t even oversee the result of his innate superiority? Is it taxation that’s depriving the rich from the fruits of their labour, or is the system gamed so that the rich expropriate the fruit’s of another’s labour as it is? Americans tend to have a problem with unearned income and entitlements see. People don’t deserve healthcare, food or a roof over their head simply for being born in the country. Especially not simply for residing in the country. When someone commits fraud to deprive the taxpayer of $30k, that’s intolerable. However, no-one seems to make a fuss about corporations being defrauded out of billions. Just when they’re taxed, at all.

Because his time holding elected office would be *much * more relevant.

It’s not either-or. You can talk about both his time as governor and the business experience that he himself keeps touting.

I think exploring Romney’s time at Bain is perfectly legitimate. However, the President wanting to make it the central issue of the campaign is pretty crazy, given that his record is the actual central issue of the campaign.

It would also be nice if he would attack Romney’s Bain tenure in a way that didn’t set the fact checking sites to awarding him pinocchios and “pants on fire” awards.

Crazy like a fox, you mean.

If you don’t like what’s being said, change the subject.