President Obama Goes Hard on House Republicans, Liberals Rejoice.

I only caught the last fifteen minutes or so of President Obama’s Q&A with House Republicans, but I think I can safely conclude two things.

First, this is a masterful performance. Not only did Obama show a lot of confidence in his command of his proposals, but he also showed a surprising command of Republican alternatives. As far as I can tell, it wasn’t much work fo him to defend his policies and completely dismantle the opposition’s. What’s more, he wasn’t remotely afraid to call out Republicans for repeatedly and hypocritically misleading the public.

Second, there is no reason why this shouldn’t become a regular part of the political culture. In the UK, they have the “question hour,” where the prime minister is forced to answer questions from Parliament. The occasion is rawkus and a little disorderly, but it’s also very informative, and a great way for the opposition to challenge the government, and vice versa. A monthly, televised Q&A between President Obama and the House Republicans could be entertaining, informative, and political advantageous for Obama, as it gives him an opportunity to show Americans how utterly unserious the GOP is about governing.

All in all, when you get the chance, it’s worth sitting down and listening to as much as you can. It might be the most important political performance of the week (and that includes the State of the Union).

Update: C-Span has the video up. Go watch it!.

Photo credit: Luke Sharrett/The New York Times


Jamelle Bouie is a writer for Slate. He has also written for The Daily Beast, The American Prospect and The Nation. His work centers on politics, race, and the intersection of the two.

You can find him on Twitter, Flickr, and Instagram as jbouie.
  • -k-

    Rawkus Records:raucous::Alanis Morissette:ironic.

    (well, kind of.)

  • Grump

    Anybody who is a fan of UK’s question time with the PM has always wanted something similar for USA. Things is, I wanted it with Bush, Jr.

    • LaJane Galt

      YES!! I love watching the HOC on tv (hear, hear! *slaps paper in lap*). Ditto for dubya. It should have been mandatory for him.

  • Val

    Republican alternatives? Do they have any?

    • LaJane Galt

      Unless you count obstruction, obfuscation, preaching gospel of corporatocracy…no.

  • Seth in LA

    No question that this was bigger than the SOTU. There’s one of those every year and there is always a same-old same-old feel to it. Wasn’t this blog the one that covered this year’s with the title: Show Me, Don’t Tell Me? And that hit the nail on the head. SOTU is always filled with hopes and plans, but rarely with anything you could sink your teeth into.

    This, on the other hand, was unique. I don’t remember seeing anything like it… ever. At least not in America. Mostly it reminded me of the “More Perfect Union” speech, because it was a moment where the President realized that we live in a sound byte society, but he is not best captured in sound bytes. He is best understood when he digs in and goes deep. So he just through conventional wisdom to the wind and said his piece, in full and in detail.

    Once in a lifetime stuff.

  • I was thinking about how I felt after the SOTU, which was almost exactly like “Show me, don’t tell me.” My wife had commented after the SOTU that maybe Obama was going to turn out to be mucho espuma, poco chocolate, a Domincanism for all talk, no action. I felt myself worrying and wondering if he could make all that hope materialize into something tangible and then I saw the President’s Q&A and remembered I’ve felt that way before…after the New Hampshire primary, right before Philadelphia, during Hillary’s death throws and more than a few times during the general. I never voted in my life before I voted for Obama in the D-primary so I have zero experience with the political rollercoaster and the news cycle and the noise but after Friday, I know that this man knows it down cold better than anyone else in any room he is standing in and every single time I’ve felt down on him and our country’s prospects he does something like he did yesterday and I know we are better than alright.

  • rikyrah

    this was a great job by the President. it was terrific to see him on point like that, smacking them down, left and right.