Saturday, January 30, 2010

It’s a start

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.


Mark from Slap said...

I didn't watch the entire video, but I saw enough to be positively tickled by the comparison to parliamentary question.

I think I'll introduce that journalist to a new drinking game: Watch question period and take a shot each time the speaker of the house pleads for some semblance of order. ;)

Arthur Schenck said...

Ha! Watch the Australian House's Question Time and every time the Speaker drones "Order!" is one shot, every time the Speaker says "The Prime Minister (or Leader of the Opposition) will resume his seat!" it's two shots. One will be drunk inside of fifteen minutes.

Our own Parliament is relatively tame during Question Time; I suppose one could take a shot every time the Speaker points out he's on his feet so the offending Member will STFU and sit down.

MSNBC had an excellent 2-hour analysis (spread over Countdown and Rachel Maddow) last Friday (North American time). Well with checking out.