What if I could sit next to President Barack Obama on an airplane flight and have a nice talk with him?
What if there were no handlers or press people or cameras and it were just the two of us guys, and I could ask him about anything I wanted?
Yes, I know it’s not going to happen. But here are a few of the items I would like to go over with him . . . if it did happen . . .
“Mr. President, you ran for president and won. Looking back on your life, what made you think you were qualified to be president? That is, considering that you had gotten into the Senate from Illinois only by a series of flukes, largely having to do with sex scandals in the GOP, that you had no national legislative accomplishments, that you had been a teacher of law at The University of Chicago, a position that normally involves some scholarship in law, yet you had written no scholarly pieces on law.
"You are obviously a good speaker and a friendly guy, and these are vital qualities in any leader. But what in your past made you think you were qualified to lead the most important nation in the world in a period of extreme challenge?”
Next, “Do you believe in American exceptionalism, i.e., that America is a uniquely great nation, or do you believe we are just another country like Spain or Uganda — only bigger?
“You have recently arranged, largely out of sight, for significant cuts in the American nuclear arsenal relative to that of Russia. You have said your goal is for the United States to have no nuclear weapons and for the world to have no nuclear weapons.
“What makes you believe we are better off making large cuts in our nuclear arsenal relative to Russia? That is, what about Russia or the United States makes you think we should put ourselves in a weaker nuclear posture versus them than we were two years ago?
“Do you really believe that the United States would survive nuclear disarmament? Do you think that if we eliminated our nuclear arms we could trust every single other nation and terrorist entity on the earth to eliminate theirs forever?
"What possible goal is worth jeopardizing the entire future of the United States and making us naked to enemies by nuclear disarmament? Why does it hurt us or anyone else for us to hold onto our nuclear arms forever?
“What in your background makes you qualified to make this kind of life or death decision about the United States and nuclear arms?
“You have made a drastic reshaping of the national healthcare system the major priority of your first year in office. Yet, as we know, the majority of Americans do not want reform on a drastic scale of the healthcare system. You have pushed through this reform in secret in large measure in Congress.
"What in your life has made you think you know how to reshape a system as incredibly complex as the U.S. healthcare system? That is, what is the nature of your experience in nationwide healthcare systems that made you decide you knew how to do this better than anyone else who has ever been president or that you needed to do it with zero business or government executive experience in healthcare or any other area?
“Do you think you are behaving as the framers wished by shoving through a huge national change largely in secret without popular support? Is there precedent for such a thing?
“Are you absolutely sure that man-made activities are changing the climate? If so, how would you explain the hundreds of climate experts who question this supposed truth? If meteorologists are unable to uniformly successfully predict weather one week from now, what makes you think they can predict the weather 10 years or 40 years from now? Have you considered the possibility that the consensus on climate among your experts might be wrong?
“Have you consulted with experts with other views? Have you considered that climate change may be an artifact of other causes than man-made activity? If so, who did you talk to and when? If not, why not?
“Do you not think the subject is important enough to get a range of views? Did you consider the fact of the East Anglia e-mails, which suggest a conspiracy to not allow dissenting views on climate to be heard? Did you consider that a wrenching change in environmental laws, along with immense changes in healthcare cost burdens, may be impeding recovery from the recession? If you do not think so, why not?
“Finally, is there anything, on any subject, on which you do not know better than everyone else?”
I know I will never get the chance to ask these questions, but it’s nice to dream. Or maybe not.
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