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