Back in the 1970s, my family loved to watch the weekly detective show called “Columbo” starring Peter Falk. For those who never had the pleasure, Columbo always wore a crumpled up khaki rain coat and drove an old Peugot. He smoked a cigar, or at least had one in his mouth at all times, and looked rather unkempt. Plus, his manner of asking questions seemed like he was not on top of things, but that was part of his charm and his way of disarming suspects. As a result, suspects would give him one piece of information too many and he would solve the case.
He was famous for starting to leave a room and then stopping and scratching his head. He would then say a variation of “oh, one more thing” and ask the question he wanted to ask in the first place. Oh, how I would love for Columbo to interview our presidential candidates on camera. We ask far too few “how” and “why” questions when talking with candidates. They get off way to easy. In fact, one of the candidates is so brazen, that he ridicules you if you ask a question where he obviously does not know the answer. Columbo, would act like he is leaving the room and then stop and ask him the question he really wants to ask.
“One more thing, Mr. Trump. You said filing for bankruptcy is very common. But, help me understand why most companies never file for bankruptcy and very few file for bankruptcy four times.”
“Oh, Dr. Carson. It is doctor, right? You have said you don’t believe in evolution, but help me reconcile that with your being a neurosurgeon. Are you just saying that to get votes or do you really believe that?”
“Senator Clinton, are you absolutely sure, there are no emails on your personal server that had classified information at the time?”
“Ms. Fiorina, help me understand why a Board of Directors would go to great pains to fire you and give you $21 million in severance if they felt that was not in the best interests of the company?”
“Oh, one more thing Senator Cruz, you do not seem very popular in Congress among your own colleagues. Why is that? Can you define grandstander for me?”
“Senator Rubio. I have a problem with some thing. You were part of a bipartisan Senate group that passed a well-received Immigration Bill. Help me understand why you have distanced yourself from your greatest legislative achievement?”
“Governor Bush, help me understand why you hired the same defense advisors that your brother used, when that may have been his Waterloo?”
There are many more questions to be asked to everyone, but especially to some who have a longer list of questions to be answered. Yet, we need Columbo to ferret out the chestbeaters and help find the better leaders. We have many of the former and much fewer of the latter.