Demand Question Time

posted at 9:30 am on February 3, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

A group of bloggers from the Left and the Right have launched a new effort to demand more substantive engagement in Washington.  After last week’s meeting between Barack Obama and the House Republican Caucus wound up benefiting everyone, we have begun a petition drive to demand a regular Question Time to have the President available to engage in meaningful discourse with his opposition in Congress:

A politically diverse group of bloggers, commentators, techies and politicos on Wednesday will launch an online campaign, Demand Question Time, urging President Barack Obama and GOP congressional leaders to hold regular, televised conversations like the extraordinary exchange in Baltimore on Friday. Supporters include Grover Norquist, Joe Trippi, Mark McKinnon, Ed Morrissey, Ari Melber, Katrina vanden Heuvel and David Corn.

Original endorsers include Grover Norquist and Eli Pariser, Joe Trippi and Mark McKinnon, Markos Moulitsas and Ed Morrissey, and many more, including Ari Melber, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Ana Marie Cox and Nate Silver. The steering committee is made up of Micah Sifry, David Corn, Mike Moffo, Mindy Finn, Jon Henke and Glenn Reynolds. …

Demand Question Time invites visitors to sign a petition: “We live in a world that increasingly demands more dialogue than monologue. President Obama’s January 29th question-and-answer session with Republican leaders gave the public a remarkable window into the state of our union and governing process. It was riveting and educational. The exchanges were substantive, civil and candid. And in a rare break from our modern politics, sharp differences between elected leaders were on full public display without rancor or ridicule. …

“So we call on President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader John Boehner to hold these sessions regularly – and allow them to be broadcast and webcast live and without commercial interruption, sponsorship or intermediaries. We also urge the President and the Republican Senate caucus to follow suit. And we ask the President and the House and Senate caucuses of his own party to consider mounting similar direct question-and-answer sessions. We will ask future Presidents and Congresses to do the same. It is time to make Question Time a regular feature of our democracy.”

Last week’s event was an all-around win.  Obama got a chance to look presidential and to get away from scripted responses.  His presence there forced the media to cover the substantial policy proposals from the GOP caucus, coverage that had been all but nonexistent before now.  It coincided with Rep. Paul Ryan’s attempt to reintroduce the Republican plan for health-care reform, a bill that the media ignored throughout 2009 while helping Democrats call the GOP the Party of No.

Obama promised to put ObamaCare negotiations on C-SPAN.  Regular appearances such as this would go a long way toward providing the transparency he promised but failed to deliver in his first year.

If you agree, please sign the Demand Question Time petition here.

Update: The petition site is already overwhelmed; you may want to try a little later today, when they can get the site functioning.


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The only up side to this will be reading the stinging commentary about Obama’s responses on Hot Air, the biting reviews within the Hot Air comments section, and the witty take-downs with hilarious graphics on HillBuzz.

I would urge any Republican attending this meeting to remember one thing: Laughter is your best weapon.

Mutnodjmet on February 3, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Am watching the circle jerk on c-span now – it is, quite frankly, mortifying

Ris4victory on February 3, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Am watching the circle jerk on c-span now – it is, quite frankly, mortifying

Ris4victory on February 3, 2010 at 11:15 AM

It’s a total indictment. What a load of crap. I hope this is taped and available soon.

Rovin on February 3, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Can you imagine some of the Dem bombthrowers asking questions: “Ok, Prez Bush, exactly when did you stop beating your wife?”

I’m with Shivas Irons on this one. While it was very helpful at promoting dialogue and forcing Obama to face some pointed questions, this wouldn’t necessarily be the case if the Democrats were questioning a Republican president. The Republican Congressional folks were pointed but polite and generally treated him with respect. The Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferers wouldn’t be able to contain themselves and no American President should be treated to questioning by snarling nutjobs on international television.

Imagine some of the stuff that Jim McDermott, Maxine Waters, and Alan Grayson could come up with to direct at a Republican president.

Jill1066 on February 3, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Question Time?
Hmmm.
Before I sign the petition, I have a question.

Does that mean Sycophantic Press Corps Style Questioning or Jack Bauer Style questioning?

justltl on February 3, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Imus and Matt Taibbi just discovered they don’t much care for David Brooks. I shouted out to Michelle, Allah and Hot Air, David Brooks is reviled in another corner of the Internet, Matt Taibbi’s True Slant. It was just a matter of time.

Imus and Matt Taibbi Really Don’t Like David Brooks Join The Club.

How to turn yourself into Pinhead from Hellraiser. That’s an easy one, write articles, like your David Brooks

Dr Evil on February 3, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Does this include waterboarding? LOL just kidding. Bad joke I know.

I’ll sign up, as soon as I can. I agree with justltl though. I hope the left, if it’s a republican president, can show the same regards, respect, and civility the republicans of Congress have shown the progressive President.

capejasmine on February 3, 2010 at 11:31 AM

After last week’s meeting between Barack Obama and the House Republican Caucus wound up benefiting everyone

Wow, the meme sure has changed since last week.

Grow Fins on February 3, 2010 at 11:38 AM

they are replaying it again tonite at 8pm – which is a good thing – everyone should watch……..I love the comment time right now where the moderator hangs up on R callers and patiently converses with the D callers. Fascinating!!///

Ris4victory on February 3, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Be careful what you wish for. Having the highest brass of politics be answerable to pundits sounds wonderful, but think of the consequences. Currently, the blogosphere yammers and hammers away at pols who must respond one way or the other. This isn’t happening in a vacuum. They may act like but we’re peons in the basement, but we know they’re monitoring. There’s no way the Tea Party woul’ve built momentum so quickly without blogs. Who needs to hear boilerplate answers from Barack D’Ohbama over the internet–that’s like telepromter times 10. Do we really want politcians having access to a medium they will increasinly manipulate in order to neutralize? Look at the presidential debates and how those are completely controlled by the parties and not much by the media and much less by ordinary people. How long before the parties subvert grassroots blogs and create their own “direct democracy” forums which most people will come to think of as legitimate? Cant you see it? Dums and Repubics getting together to form boards and vet who is and what is and what isn’t a real blog and who is and who isn’t a real blog writer? Are you sure you can keep autonomy? Will it just be Helen Thomas and Robert Gibbs v 2.0? I think the idea sounds wonderful, but the reality will be much less. I say keep squawking but do not open the firewall door. Do not sign.

Western_Civ on February 3, 2010 at 12:00 PM

I think it’s a great idea – I’ve been envying how the Brits do it and it can be hilarious.

Just for grins, here’s an especially funny one from them, between Cameron and Brown.

But hilarity aside, it’s a good opportunity to put the Prez on the spot and demand accountability.

atheling on February 3, 2010 at 12:08 PM

I have a few questions of my own to ask. Please, please open the Demand Question Time up to guest not included in the list above!

TN Mom on February 3, 2010 at 12:29 PM

I think the idea sounds wonderful, but the reality will be much less. I say keep squawking but do not open the firewall door. Do not sign.

Western_Civ on February 3, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Dead on. Political tensions and divisions should not be artficially mediated through such poorly thought-out “gab sessions,” which will surely be manipulated and provide more fodder for spin.

rrpjr on February 3, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Western_Civ on February 3, 2010 at 12:00 PM

All valid points WC. Color me also skeptical of the consequences resulting in what may start out as a reputable open forum process only to end up with “selective blog” to legitimize (or in some cases, in-validate) opinions or rubuttles from those who disagree. Could it become a pandora’s box? The uniqueness of conservative blogs such as MM, Hot Air, Ace, Patterico, Flopping Aces, (and hundreds more), has had for some time the ability to remain credible and popular because of the individuality of the “poster/author”. Thousands, indeed millions rely on receiving credible information daily because they trust what they’re reading.

Western_Civ raises the serious question: “Do we really want politcians having access to a medium they will increasinly manipulate in order to neutralize?”

Respectfully, I will cautiously await more information on how this “new forum” will develope before signing anything.

Rovin on February 3, 2010 at 12:45 PM

I think the idea is great….but in practice, all we would receive is a bunch of lies. His words are worth nothing…except to the sheeple of course.

search4truth on February 3, 2010 at 1:21 PM

How about some phone-in questions, like those from people who call Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity?

Obama: Ummm, Ummm, you are not a, ummm, legitimate, ummm, journalist?

Steve Z on February 3, 2010 at 1:55 PM

He’s a bona fide liar and evidently the MSM is proud of that fact and the fact that they are enablers and accomplist

bluegrass on February 3, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Ed, I wrote this on Twitter to you this morning but you may not have caught it. DemandQuestionTime is great idea in theory but I worry it’ll benefit Obama more since he tends to “perform” well for audiences more than he “produces.” And, of course, the MSM is spinning last week’s GOP/Obama &A as an Obama win in his bid to appear (key word there) open to ideas from the opposition.

If the idea of D?T is accepted by all sides, I hope it works out more so for the GOP than him and his party because I’d hate for people to go to the polls again this year mesmerized by his soaring rhetoric. Just my .02.

SisterToldjah on February 3, 2010 at 4:44 PM

If the media were actually intelligent enough to discuss important issues like this, I would support it.
But the media behaves like my freshmen & sophomores. Example:
I am talking about genetics.
Their questions are not about the transmission of genetic traits.
Their questions always start out with beuaties like:
What would happen if a man has sex with a chimp?
The media is incapable of being adult about important issue.
Hence this will be an abyssmal failure.
EPIC

Badger40 on February 3, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Dead on. Political tensions and divisions should not be artficially mediated through such poorly thought-out “gab sessions,” which will surely be manipulated and provide more fodder for spin.

rrpjr on February 3, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Totally agreed.

Badger40 on February 3, 2010 at 5:19 PM

What would happen if a man has sex with a chimp?
Badger40 on February 3, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Barrack Hussein Pinnochio Obama?

dhunter on February 3, 2010 at 5:43 PM

That’s what we need. Another venue for “It’s not about me” and “Let me be clear”. Don’t get enough of that as it is.

nico on February 3, 2010 at 6:10 PM

Here in Australia Question Time has degenerated into a joke under Kevin Rudd. How many questions does he actually answer? If the opposition asks a question the answer is twisted into either talking points or political attacks.

What about censure motions?

Crux Australis on February 3, 2010 at 6:55 PM

I just posted this on another thread. No way will he allow this.

He lost control over himself today with dems and basically told moderates to vote GOP. LOL*

AnninCA on February 3, 2010 at 9:21 PM

Ed, methinks you have been sucked in by the one. He lied in every response and answer he gave. He is a pathological liar and while your thought is positive and should work it cannot with this guy because he is an ideologue that is firmly convinced that he and only he has the right answer to all of our ills….e.g. redistribution and collectivism. I don’t want him to give any more answers. They have all been wrong so far. Ed, please don’t be taken by this guys phony front and parade of incessant lies and blame of others. Do not get behind this phony as in that meeting if you noticed NO ONE ever came back with follow ups and HE knows they won’t as they are afraid of him and his office. It is NOT win win as it should be.

highninside on February 3, 2010 at 10:17 PM

Transparency and the Obama administration? Yeah, good luck with that!

ajackson on February 3, 2010 at 10:37 PM

while helping Democrats call the GOP the Party of No.

This meme should really be opposed completely, without excuses (even valid ones) about really having offered alternatives, and without apology of any kind.

When politicians – and their enablers in the media and elsewhere – demand the enslavement of the American people, you’re damned right a big, fat “NO!” is the appropriate response.

In the same spirit as Gen. McAuliffe replied to the German officer demanding surrender at the Battle of the Bulge (“Nuts!”), fling a “No!” in the face of any demand for surrender of personal autonomy. It’s your inalienable right to live free… and you’re not obligated to give some alternative by means of which you’ll only be partially chained, or at a lower cost.

JDPerren on February 4, 2010 at 1:10 AM

You will not get your wish; The Retard in Chief will not expose himself.

Cybergeezer on February 4, 2010 at 8:47 AM

Another picture (lead in to this article) showing the obvious disdain the President has for U.S.. Cocking the head back in body language is showing U.S. that he presumes himself to be God like and is telling U.S. to behave and comply with his words from on high.

MSGTAS on February 4, 2010 at 9:50 AM

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