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.