Monday, February 15, 2010

Questioning Authority

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 4:17 PM

Following President Barack Obama's recent question-and-answer session with House Republicans, Sen. Jonathan Paton wants to force governors of Arizona to face questioning from state lawmakers.

Although I'm sure it would create great copy and wonderful YouTube moments, it all sounds kinda gimmicky to me.

Republicans are trying to do the same thing at the national level. Forbes columnist and former Reagan advisor Bruce Bartlett has a similar take:

It appears to me that Republicans are simply looking to save face from having believed their own propaganda about Obama's inability to speak without a teleprompter. Also, it's standard debating technique for underdogs to be elevated by being granted a debate with the leader. The debate makes both appear equal and the challenger has less to lose than the leader.

Nevertheless, I think Republicans are being short-sighted in their demands. Would they really have wanted the grossly inarticulate George W. Bush to have had to take questions regularly from Democrats in Congress? I think not.

Moreover, the dismal quality of presidential news conferences does not lead me to think that much useful information will be gleaned from question time with members of Congress. They will just ask "gotcha" questions or about obscure issues that are only of interest to them.

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