Commenter SafetyinNumbers has a good suggestion:
Jon — You could have a role in this as an honest broker. Approach both candidates and ask them where they stand on matters that are important to a progressive agenda in Congress. Then, post their responses on the blog. Let’s see if they have the courage of their convictions and respond.
This naturally raises the question of what is “important to a progressive agenda in Congress.” I have my own ideas about what is important, but before I run with this, I want to open it up for others to make suggestions. What issues are going to be most important to Democrats in 2012?
My view is that the very most important thing is restoring Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. Not Steny Hoyer. Pelosi wanted to get things done, the 111th House was ridiculously productive under her leadership, and we need to go right back to that. You can’t have Barack Obama as the left anchor in these debates. The reason we keep getting rolled is that Obama pre-compromises with what he thinks the Republican position is, and then Republicans have to go even crazier to oppose him. You need to have the Pelosi House get way to the left of Obama so that his campaign positions become the Moderate Centrist positions.
So the first question is whether the Dem nominee will vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker.
We also need a jobs question that the nominee can’t weasel out of. Politicians love ignoring the premise of questions, so you need to get the wording right. What we need to figure out is whether the candidate is going to be a vote for more stimulus, or some crappy Blue Dog deficit hawk. Here are a few question ideas for the issues I think are important. What else do you want to hear the candidates’ views on?:
1) Kamran Afshar, the economist the LV Chamber of Commerce pays to study the local business climate, says more stimulus spending would help area businesses. Do you agree? What do you think is the best way to get the country back to full employment?
2) The private debt overhang is one of the things depressing demand in the US economy. After financial crises, you often see countries reforming their bankruptcy laws to speed up the process of writing down bad debts. Do you think we need to change our bankruptcy laws in response to the glut of underwater mortgages and student loans?
3) Yes or No on progressive deficit reduction ideas:
a) Ending the carried interest loophole
b) Tiny financial transactions tax
c) Ending the mortgage interest deduction
d) Ending the Employer Tax Exclusion for health care
e) Carbon tax
f) Return to Clinton-era tax rates
g) More high-end tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires
h) Raising the estate tax
i) Replacing the gas tax with a tax on Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)
4) Yes or No on repealing the Defense of Marriage Act
5) Yes or No on the Hyde Amendment restricting federal funding for abortion
6) Yes or No on the Employee Free Choice Act
7) Yes or No on Affordable Care Act provisions:
b) Comparative effectiveness review
c) End-of-life counseling (death panels)
d) House Republicans’ abortion-related funding restrictions for the Exchanges