TIME managing editor Richard Stengel displays again this week the undeniable symptoms of “big government syndrome,” which plagues its victim with the notion that the government should do more than it’s capable of doing (not to mention more than it’s consitutionally permitted to do).

In his editor’s column, he makes a plea for a presidential debate in New Orleans:

There’s no better place to debate the future of American government–its possibilities and responsibilities as well as its limits and faults–than where so much went so tragically wrong. New Orleans is still an almost blank canvas, and the next President should be required to explain how he or she intends to help fill it in. A vision of success in New Orleans will comprise specific ideas about jobs, education, health care, housing, water, the environment, spending and pork-barrel politics. But it should also illuminate how the candidates view the role of the Federal Government and the next leader’s responsibilities to U.S. citizens. That’s important for all of America.

Why is this the president’s business? To the limited extent that the government should address the issues Stengel highlights, why would anyone look first to the national government?