Good stuff from Gail Collins:

Still, it might have been a great conversation-starter. While it’s becoming virtually impossible to support a middle-class American family on one parent’s salary, we never hear political discussion about the repercussions. In a two-hour debate that focused on job-related issues, the Republican presidential candidates managed to mention the Smoot-Hawley tariff and trade relations with Peru but not a word about child care for America’s working parents. John McCain, who was on the receiving end of Matthews’s question, chose instead to focus on the fact that “50,000 Americans now make their living off eBay,” that the tax code is “eminently unfair” and that Congress wastes too much money studying of the DNA of Montana bears.

Of course, the Republicans' lack of interest in this subject is overdetermined. Child care cuts against their social conservatism, cuts against their allergy to new programs, and cuts against the current crop of candidates' inability to generate any noteworthy ideas on any subject. On the progressive side, though, it's really too bad that health care and climate change seem to have essentially sucked up all the oxygen. It is too bad, however, that even Paul Krugman's otherwise excellent new book doesn't even find space for this issue as part of some airy liberal wish list.

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