President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney’s first debate is scheduled for this Wednesday, October 3. The vice presidential debate kicks off Thursday, October 11.
However I, for one, think we’d probably glean more insights about what America needs by watching Modern Family reruns than by hearing rhetoric from the four male candidates.
The people I’d like to hear debate? Their wives.
Michelle Obama vs. Ann Romney. Jill Biden vs. Janna Ryan. Woo hoo!
Now, the standard argument against candidate spouses facing off goes like this: candidate spouses are not public officials. Voters do not elect them. Voters can’t impeach them. So they shouldn’t have opinions - or their opinions shouldn’t matter. The candidate can’t be held responsible for their views.
I say, hogwash. With a dash of subtle sexism thrown in. The vice presidents are not technically elected officials either, and we listen to them debate. We cannot impeach vice presidents any more than we can impeach presidents’ wives. The presidential candidates, not the American public, CHOSE their wives, precisely as they chose their VP’s. It’s a package deal.
Maybe in the olden days, when many women did not finish college, millions of women didn’t vote, and potential First Ladies were truly expected to be seen but not heard on the campaign trail and in the White House, this no-debate policy made more sense. Today, First Ladies wield influence over the president, the White House, and our country -- arguably even more than vice presidents.
Today, we have a raft of potential First Ladies with impeccable educational credentials and invaluable real-world experience as American women, wives and mothers.
Michelle Obama holds degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Ann Romney has a degree in French from Brigham Young University, her education augmented by her world travels as the wife of a successful businessman and Olympics chairman.
Janna Ryan graduated from Wellesley College and George Washington University Law School. She spent years working as an attorney for one of the world’s largest consulting and accounting firms, Price Waters Cooperhouse. Dr. Jill Biden has a doctoral degree from University of Delaware, years of experience teaching at the high school and college level. She is one of the only sitting Second Ladies to work full-time while her husband serves as Vice President.
Between them, these women have raised 13 children. This quartet contains, perhaps, the most intelligent and accomplished four women to ever join the race for the White House.
Why not hear from them?
Especially because in this election, both candidates are striving to win over women. Their campaigns claim that issues facing American women are second only to the national economy. A recent Minneapolis Star Tribune poll  indicates that 55% of female voters favor Obama, with 33% supporting Romney. This could make for a series of lively, informative debates.
Plus, aren’t these women fascinating, no matter your political inclinations? I’d far rather listen to Janna Ryan than her husband. Michelle more than Barack. Jill over Joe. Any day!
If you were moderator, what would you ask them? Here’s what I’d like to know.
1. What influence did your mother have on your life? In what ways are you similar - and different? What has changed most for American women within the past generation?
2. What are the most important issues facing American women today? Which party offers better solutions? Why?
3. What it is it like, behind the scenes, to support a candidate running for office? What are the greatest challenges? The greatest joys?
4. Do you ever wish you were running for president instead? If you were, would your husband support you as extensively as you support him?
5. In your opinion, what is the ideal age to have your first child? The ideal number of children? The best strategy to balance working and raising kids?
6. How often is your husband home for dinner with you and your children? How often does he help with homework? Get the kids ready for school in the morning?
7. Did your kids go to daycare? What are the pros and cons of our country offering free universal childcare?
8. What was it like for you to give up your own career in order to support your husband’s ambitions?
9. Do you think you are smarter than your husband? Why or why not?
10. If you could change one thing about your husband, what would it be?
11. Who helps you juggle work (paid or unpaid) and family responsibilities? Your husband? Paid caregivers? Relatives? What impact has childcare had on your life?
12. What advice do you give your daughters (or other young girls in your life) in terms of balancing work and family?
13. Name the first three changes you would make in the White House if your spouse is elected.
So, cast your ballot! Write your congressman promising your vote. Email your local television affiliate promising your viewership! Let’s get those ladies at the podium, speaking out and shining a spotlight on key issues facing women and children that male presidential candidates have rarely, if ever before, deemed important enough to debate.
Originally published on ModernMom