President Obama is holding a town hall at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday at Facebook. The venue gives him the chance to look future-oriented and do some retail politics, on a California trip that appears to be mostly about fundraising (and about blocking traffic in Los Angeles, where your blogger lives. Not that I'm angry about it or anything).
Audiences at such venues tend to be polite. But the president deserves to face some pretty tough -- even impolite -- questions from Californians. Even though we gave him a huge majority -- more than 60 percent of the vote in 2008 -- he has done very little to help the state, its budget, and its economy. Here, then, are five different questions he should be asked, even at the risk of seeming impolite.
1. California's state budget is a shambles, with officials forced to make cuts and raise taxes in ways that hurt the economy. But your administration has refused entreaties from leading officials for more state aid for the budget, even though California is a net donor state. Why don't you like us?
2. Your re-election likely will be a referendum on the economy. You need the unemployment rate nationally to go down futher, but that seems impossible when the unemployment rate in the largest state is stuck at 12 percent. Why aren't you more focused on job creation in California?
3. California's economy would benefit from investments in alternative energy, immigration reform to help stabilize the state's workforce, and new trade agreements to boost our economy. But you and your party failed to pass that legislation on all three fronts even when you had overwhelming majorities in the U.S. House and Senate. During much of this time, news reports suggested you spent a lot of time playing golf. Do you regret not working harder for legislation to benefit Californians?
4. Aerospace and space exploration have been important parts of the California economy and manufacturing base for more than 60 years. Why is your administration moving away from space?
5. Since your attempts to make peace in the Middle East have failed, why haven't you redeployed your top diplomats to more pressing business here -- like working out an agreement between CBS and Charlie Sheen that gets "Two and a Half Men" back on the air?