From gay marriage to jobs, the Federal Reserve to women's health, candidates have dodged some of the most important questions facing the United States.
The reviews are in and, with the exception of a few right-wing commentators, everyone thinks Martha Raddatz did a great job moderating the vice-presidential debate Thursday. At the very least, she was better than Jim Lehrer, who ineffectually sat on stage during the first debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. But both debates have skipped over serious, important issues, and have given too little attention, or the wrong kind of attention, to others. Conor Friedersdorf noted the total absence of discussion about civil-liberties issues at the first debate, a pattern that continued Thursday night. But there are plenty more missing. Here's a catalogue of them, in no particular order:
1. Gay Marriage and Gay Rights: As my colleague Steve Clemons noted, there was no mention of gay marriage in Thursday night's debate, even with Joe Biden -- who precipitated President Obama's public support for it -- on stage. There was no mention during the first debate, either; nor was there any discussion of don't ask, don't tell. This despite the fact that a sitting president has for the first time called for gay marriage and that the country is nearly evenly divided on whether it should be legal. There are major ballot issues on same-sex marriage coming up in November in Maryland, Minnesota, Maine, and Washington State. There's a good chance that the Supreme Court will take up gay marriage in the coming term. And same-sex marriage is one of the issues on which the difference between the two campaigns is most stark.