John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Why Are Republicans So Angry, and 4 Other Questions for the Iowa Debate

Posted on January 29, 2016


(Originally posted in the WSJ)

With Donald Trump planning not to take the stage in Iowa, perhaps the other Republican candidates will have a more substantive debate. As I’ve done with previous debates, I’m suggesting five questions the moderators could ask:

1. You all call yourselves conservative. What does that mean to you? Is “conservative” an ideology or more of an attitude? Is a conservative somebody who is merely pro-life and pro-gun, or do you think people have be anti-immigrant and oppose free trade to be “real” conservatives? Who is your conservative hero?

2. Why are Republican voters so angry? Let’s all agree that President Barack Obama gets some of the blame, so we can dispense with that part of your answer. Is it because of the financial crisis? The failed war in Iraq? The influx of immigrants into this country? The struggling economy? Lobbyists in Washington? Tell us why you think voters are so mad–and, specifically, how you would fix it.

3. On balance, do you think globalization of the economy has been a positive thing for the middle class? If so, how would you make it work better? If you think it has been negative, how would you protect American workers?

4. Over the past few decades, more people have been lifted out of poverty than at any time in world history. Yet here in the U.S., the war against poverty seems to be a failure. What are your thoughts on how to continue progress on a global scale while making more progress here at home?

5. The separation of church and state is part of the foundation of U.S. politics, but a candidate’s religious faith is still viewed by many Republicans as an important factor in gaining their vote. Tell us about your faith. Do you think that the Bible is the only authority, or do you take a more expansive view? Do you believe that faith alone can save you, or do you think that works play an important role in salvation? Are you more private about your faith, or are you an evangelist for your beliefs?