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Top Five Unanswered Questions Of The 2012 Presidential Election

Christian Patterson |
November 4, 2012 | 4:04 p.m. PST


(League of Women Voters of California, Creative Commons)
(League of Women Voters of California, Creative Commons)
It has been a long election season. With only three days remaining in the campaign, the candidates and their surrogates have been poked, prodded, and compelled to answer every question a swing voter could ever imagine asking.

However, there are some questions to which the candidates have failed to respond. Some of them remain unanswered because of the sensitivity of the issues, and others for political reasons. Regardless of the rationale behind the candidates' silence on these subjects, the five questions you’ll find below all involve key themes of this election cycle, and most assuredly deserve answers.

Question 1: What really happened in Libya?

In all fairness to the Obama administration, this issue is probably so confusing in part because of Republican politicization of it. The only thing we know for sure here is that a terrorist attack was carried out on a U.S. compound in Libya. Administration officials initially claimed that the attack was part of protests surrounding an anti-Islamic video, when in reality the attack was a premeditated terrorist ambush. John McCain has gone so far as to call this debacle the “worst cover-up since Watergate”. I don’t think I agree with that statement, but I will say that I don’t think anyone knows exactly what happened here. Between the conflicting reports on this issue and the GOP’s attempt to use the murder of an American diplomat for political purposes, this whole subject has become a nasty stain on the record of our nation’s political class.

Question 2: Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up?

I may be dating myself here with the vintage Eminem reference, but I can think of no line that better fits the shifting priorities of one Willard Mitt Romney. Is he a severe conservative? Is he a bipartisan dealmaker? Does he want to cut funding for FEMA? What products does he use to make his hair look that perfect? Mitt Romney has stood for a great many things over the past several years; unfortunately, he hasn’t stood for any of them for very long.

Question 3: When will Republican men realize that talking about women’s bodies is getting them nowhere?

Between Todd Akin’s offensive suggestion that women who get pregnant from sexual assault weren’t “legitimately raped,” Richard Murdock’s equally outrageous assertion that a rape can be a gift from God when it bears a child, and the national GOP’s assault on contraception, the Republican Party has dug itself a pretty sizable hole. There are obviously very persuasive arguments made by both sides of the abortion debate, but somehow conservative men seem to not know any of them. Republicans are really good at putting their fingers in their ears and ignoring questions about the specific programs they’d cut from the budget. Maybe they should use some of those techniques next time they get a question about the right to choose.

Question 4: Could the campaigns get more negative?

It's unclear whether it's because of the emergence of Super PACs, hyper-patisanship, or whether Obama and Romney just really really hate each other, but this election has been insanely negative. I’ve never really bought into the myth that Obama’s 2008 campaign was all sunshine and rainbows, but even I have to admit that this campaign is markedly more negative than the 2008 race. Between the Bain Capital ads and the Romney-Ryan attacks on Obama, we’ve definitely seen our share of mudslinging.

Question 5: What tax deductions?

Seriously, what tax deductions is Romney going to get rid of in order to make his tax policy deficit neutral? His failure to specify makes his claims of fiscal responsibility dubious at best, and at worst a downright lie. President Obama’s characterization of Romney’s plans as shady seems to ring pretty true. Romney's failure to answer this simple question should be a red flag to voters, considering the fact that the most important issues in this election are the economy and the long-term fiscal health of our nation.


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