The recent Republican debate, billed as venue for would-be contenders to establish themselves in a crowded field as they kick off the 2012 Presidential race, was nothing more than an Obama bashing contest.

One would think the presidential wannabes would have preferred to have spent their time presenting their plans for lowering the nation’s high unemployment rates or proposing ways to fix our failing education system.  It seems, as least in these early days of the race, putting forth solutions is not the goal. Discrediting the president is.

Some of the comments made at the debate were so personal and inflammatory that you had to wonder if the Republican candidates have a personal issue with the president.  Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wasted no time and almost immediately attacked President Obama, saying that America needs a “new president to end the Obama Depression.” And Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum accused the president of “shackling the economy.”

Perhaps these gentlemen have forgotten that the “Great Recession” began under the watch of George W. Bush. President Obama has tried to work across party lines to put forth legislation that will create jobs and provide a safety net for struggling families. In many cases, he was hit with Republican opposition so strong that his original plans had to be modified beyond recognition.

It’s only natural for a politician to want to go after their key opponent. But, as voters, we do expect that, at some point, the insults will stop and the real talk will begin. If the Republicans think Obama is doing a bad job, that’s fine. But how will they do things differently…and better?

We don’t know because, unfortunately, they aren’t saying.

If any of these candidates sincerely want to better America and not just improve their standing in the polls, they are going to have to come to the table with real solutions. If they think that universal healthcare is a bad idea and want to repeal it, what are they going to replace it with? How are they going to ensure Americans get quality healthcare at a reasonable price? These are the things we want answers to.

Minnesota Representative—and Tea Party favorite—Michelle Bachman was bold enough to say the president won’t be re-elected. No one knows what the future holds but we do know this: Obama swept into office with his message of change and has worked hard to bring it to every corner of this country. If Republican candidates can’t tell us how they’d effect change and make our lives more secure, we’d all be better off if they stepped down.

(Judge Greg Mathis is vice president of Rainbow PUSH and a national board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.)

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