Two days after the State of the Union address, President Obama went to speak in front of the Republican Caucus at their meeting in Baltimore. In what I gather is an unusual event, he not only spoke to them but took questions for more than an hour, something I’ve never seen. Part debate, part “Question Time” from the UK Parliament, this was one of the more helpful things I’ve seen politically.
Here’s the entire one hour, seven minutes of the Q&A from C-SPAN. Well worth a view for my American readers. Others may be less interested.
I liked it because, for one of the first times, I’ve seen an environment where the merits of the President’s positions and the truth of the claims of those positions and the opposition’s views relative to them can be discussed and debated openly and in more depth than on a cable talk show. It went beyond the usual talking heads and punditry to something more articulate and more substantial.
Truly, I like this format and would encourage the President to engage in more of these meetings both with Democrats and Republicans members of congress.
Additionally, I’d like to see political debates held in this style where the rules and questions are not so tightly scripted, allowing the sides to discuss back and forth, to call each other out on false choices and untrue assertions. It gets us beyond the soundbytes.
Do you think Mr.Obama is more engaging with the Republicans than before (such as this unusual walk-in at the Republicans’ retreat) is that the crucial Democratic seat from Massachusetts was snatched by the other party? I guess he’s playing his political cards in a right direction.
I dunno. It seems like somebody coulda/shoulda/woulda thought to do this before, you know?
@SamsPeeps – Do you know if they’ve done it before? While I’m not familiar with it, I thought maybe I just hadn’t heard about it. It is a good idea, though.@CurryPuffy – I can’t tell what he’s trying to do. Part of me thinks it is just a reaction to recent political events. Part of me thinks he’s been inspired by some op-ed pieces I’ve read that said he needs to stop legislating and needs to start leading. We’ll see…
@christao408 – Not that I know of… I just think it’s weird that no one ever thought, “Geez, maybe we should all TALK.” LOL It’s one of the reason I hate politics. None of them find the simplest route to fixing things. I think that if they DID, there’d be less things needing to be fixed.
This is certainly progress … but I wonder how many Fox News viewers tune into it!
We just had a discussion on the 3.5 hr car trip – the O’Reilly’s are not journalists they are entertainers and media whores that will say and do whatever they can to get viewers and ratings – if it is political topics they will stoop to the lowest level to generate controversy (same as Povitch getting the woman that doesn’t know which of 10 guys is the father of her child…) We need more honest dialogue and reporting. This is a good first step. The Dems made the mistake in allowing the topic to be labeled Health Care Reform instead of Health Insurance Reform.
I think President Obama is heading in the right direction for sure. There’s much more to do; but it requires much more bipartisan effort. If anything, I think what he’s doing is giving us more confidence in what’s to come.
I saw snippet of this on the news – it was just fascinating to watch. I think some Republicans do feel marginalized and perhaps this might help get them to be more engaged (assuming their leadership would permit this). It was so interesting watching the tone of the president – chiding the Republicans and trying to encourage them to raise their own bar. Thanks for the link – I’ll have to find some quiet time to watch this.
Definitely a first of its kind. A right step in the right direction.. no pun intended.
@SamsPeeps – @arenadi – I listened to an interview with Bob Dole two or three years ago in which he talked about how he saw the collegiality of the Senate decline over the years. His thoughts on the subject, especially around the importance of working together to solve big problems, really impressed me. As he pointed out, none of the big issues can be solved in a partisan manner.@ZSA_MD – Ha ha – nice pun!@ElusiveWords – Does the Canadian prime minister have to face parliament for a question time each week, like the UK prime minister does? Talk about accountability.@murisopsis – The difference between journalism and entertainment is a distinction lost on many people, both those who are watching and believing as well as those who are criticizing O’Reilly and his ilk. (Both on the left and right.)@TheLatinObserver – I’m curious how it was covered on Fox. You would think, having been the Republican Representatives, coverage would have been detailed.
Other times when presidents visited retreats held by the opposing party, they gave a speech, answered a few questions, then said good-bye and little was reported and none (in my memory) ever filmed. The loss in MA probably was one reason the Democrats pushed hard for it to be open and all of it shown live on tv. The GOP had complained about the lack of transparancy, so this was a good way to answer that charge and one some of the GOPers regret! I hope this format will continue.
Good for him and I agree with you. Don’t like to watch the current debate format as it is a bit too… high school-ish for me? Let’s get down and get real. Talk about the things that really matter. Nothing wrong with spending more time on issues that really need to be addressed.