Saturday, January 30, 2010
In this long video (over an hour), President Obama takes questions from members of the Republican caucus in the US Congress. The US newsmedia is saying that the exchange was “remarkably sharp,” even comparing it to “the British custom where a prime minister responds to questions in Parliament,” (an absurd comparison, as anyone who watches Westminster-style parliaments in action can attest). I’d say that it was unusually frank for US politicians, and it could be the first baby, teeny-tiny steps toward breaking the partisan impasse in Congress. For that to happen, both sides will need to stop shouting over each other and actually talk to each other. But it’ll also mean that Republicans will have to stop saying really stupid, absurd things about the president (“Socialist!” “Communist!” “Fascist!”). Can they? I’m not sure they can. Democrats have shown remarkable restraint in attacking the Republicans (mostly because they’ve been constantly trying to woo Republicans is a futile bid to get some of them to support healthcare reform), but if the Republicans meet them part-way, they’ll have to reciprocate.
At any rate, I hope this session indicates a new direction.
Found via Joe.My.God.