5 Questions for Boxer

The first debate of the U.S. Senate race between the Democratic incumbent, Barbara Boxer, and the Republican challenger, Carly Fiorina, is tonight at St. Mary's College in Moraga.

Expect the questions to be polite and open-ended. Which is so boring. Here are five questions, so pointed as to be obnoxious (and maybe a little unfair), that I'd love to see asked of Boxer. In another post, I offer five obnoxious questions for Fiorina.

1.    Why does it seem like whenever there’s a difficult statewide issue in California – water, prisons – it’s Dianne Feinstein, not you, that wades in deep and helps forge compromise?

2.    As you know, before the stimulus, and presumably after the stimulus is spent, California received far less each year in federal funds than it paid in taxes. In fact, this balance of payments has worsened in your time in office. Senators from other states have used Senate procedures, including holds and the filibuster, to demand special treatment for this state. Why have you not used this power to get more for California at this time of need?

3.    California once received 20 percent of national defense spending. That number has declined to 11 percent, with Virginia now surpassing this. Much of that decline in California defense spending has happened during your time in the Senate. Why can't you stop the Virginians from doing this to us?

4.    President Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, want to make so-called value-added data on individual teachers publicly available so that schools and instructors may be held accountable, and so that parents have important information about the people teaching their children. Major teachers unions in LA, California and nationally say such data is based on standardized tests they don't like and represents an invasion of teacher privacy; they have launched a boycott against the state’s largest newspaper, the LA Times, for publishing this data. Who’s right – the president or the unions?

5.    In less than two years in office, President Obama has won approval of the biggest fiscal stimulus in history, a giant financial regulation package and historic health legislation to passage. And yet, progressives – many of them supporters of yours – express anger and frustration with the president. What’s wrong with those people?

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