I've got the DVR all set for today's Republican candidates debate. John Harwood of CNBC and the Wall Street Journal has his preview here. As this debate is about the economy, he is looking for three big issues: taxes, spending, and trade.
I don't blog much about trade. I'm a free trader. Economic exchange by mutual consent is one of the things that ties the world together in a positive way. In the absence of some identifiable non-pecuniary externality, Republicans have no business restricting free trade.
I've gone off on the Republicans for their budget policy a number of times. (Here's a good one.) If any of these candidates are going to sway me on budget policy, they are going to have to do two things. First, do not say that tax cuts pay for themselves. Second, say that you are going to balance the budget without reference to a Constitutional amendment. And I'll have to believe them. That's a tall order, given what we've seen so far.
But the most important issues of budget policy are going to come in the form of budget priorities. I hope they all get asked the question of SCHIP funding vs. war funding. That will tell us something about their leadership potential. For very good commentary, see this post at SnowDahlia.