Maybe midterm debates would now make sense

Published 10:12 am Wednesday, September 15, 2010

… President Barack Obama came to Ohio last week to, in effect, debate Rep. John Boehner … at a distance. The House Republican leader — and would-be speaker — had recently given a Cleveland speech that attracted national attention because he might soon be speaker of the House.

A couple of Washington commentators — E.J. Dionne and Jonathan Alter — have asked the question: Why not have the confrontation in person? Why not just have the president debate Rep. Boehner or, for that matter, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who would be leader of the Senate if the Republicans took that body? …

There’s a lot to debate. And the debate would be more concrete than presidential debates, because we’re right in the middle of things. …

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Rep. Boehner has vowed to try to prevent funding for the Obama health care package that was passed this year. He has said he would not only stop the Obama stimulus in its tracks, but would try to reverse the government’s whole approach to the recession, by cutting spending.

The president is pushing extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class, but against extension for what he calls the top 2 percent of the income spectrum; the Republicans want to keep all the cuts in place. …

American politics is more about parties all the time. If that’s the way it’s going to be, the national midterm debate is an idea whose time has come.

Dayton Daily News