Over the past 18 hours, Salon readers have flooded our mailboxes with questions for Al Gore and George W. Bush. Looking through the hundreds of questions, there were certain definite trends. There were partisan swipes at both Bush and Gore, ranging from lighthearted to libelous. Some readers want Bush to come clean about the so-called missing year in his National Guard risumi and rumors about his past, while others call Gore everything from a corporate sellout to a pathological liar. And overwhelmingly, Salon readers want Bush and Gore to answer why Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan were shut out of this year’s presidential debates. What follows is a partial list of questions from our readers that have not been asked in the two debates so far. Who knows, maybe someone in St. Louis will ask one of them Tuesday night.
What justification do you have for maintaining U.S. military forces in Japan and Germany, years after the end of World War II and the Cold War?
– Mike Hope
Given that you both list education as your “No. 1 priority,” give us a list of five books you think every high school student ought to read.
– Matt Amati
Do you believe in the existence of UFOs?
– Joseph Perez
Governor Bush, why do you trust Texas juries to send criminal defendants to death but not trust the same juries to award compensatory and punitive damages against corporate defendants?
– Steve Thorpe
The U.S. gives $3 billion a year to Israel. Why should the Palestinians trust America as a mediator in peace talks considering that conflict of interest, and what would you do to gain their trust?
– Eric Heino
Given the recent turmoil in the stock market, the tensions in the Middle East and the resulting rise in the price of oil, we may be headed for an economic slowdown, which would reduce tax revenues. Which of your proposals would you jettison first?
– Rick Cacace
Would you consider promoting legislation to provide reparations to African-Americans, along with an apology for slavery?
– Stephanie Green
Vice President Gore, why did you vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia?
– Sean Gillhoolley
We have managed to restore complete normal trade with China, a country with a deplorable human rights record. Why won’t either of you support restoration of normal relations with Cuba?
– Gar Lipow
Governor Bush, you’ve suggested that scientific opinion is divided on the threat of global warming. What sort of consensus would you need before you would be convinced global warming was a real threat?
– Gary Wolf
Vice President Gore, big oil seems to be a big problem for you. Do you think the Chevron-Texaco merger should be blocked? Why didn’t you stop the Exxon-Mobil merger?
– Eric Mauro
If elected, what changes would you make in the way we are fighting the war on drugs?
– Marc Hannah
Vice President Gore, you speak of Bush’s tax plan as targeting cuts for “the richest 1 percent.” Given that the richest 1 percent pay a significant portion of the total federal income taxes collected, how can you not justify a tax cut for those taxpayers?
– Paul Romesburg
Vice President Gore, could you explain fully your real role in the development of the Internet, and how your leadership was visionary in helping fund it?
– Al Alessi
Ginger or Mary Ann?
– David Couvillon