The liveliest momoment from a consistently lively (and entertaining) takeoff on “prime minister’s questions” at the House GOP’s retreat this morning. I’m kidding in the headline, needless to say: The One would never stoop to something as crassly partisan as calling someone a teabagger. He leaves that stuff, and the endless crap about “angry mobs” and “evil-mongers” and coded racism, to progressive water-carriers like Reid and Schumer and MSNBC, all of whom are gently, namelessly chastised here with a fleeting admission that “It’s not just on your side, by the way.” The money line about health care: “If you were to listen to the debate and, frankly, how some of you went after this bill, you’d think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot.” To which I say: Nonsense. A Fabian plot, certainly — some Democrats were even nice enough to admit it — but Bolshevik? Maybe only on Glenn Beck’s show.
This wasn’t supposed to be televised, incidentally, but both sides agreed to it at the last minute in the name of showing the public how bipartisan they are. The GOP figured it’d give them a platform to prove that they actually do have policy ideas of their own, but I think the format ended up benefiting Obama more than them. He was on camera the whole time; he did most of the talking; he got to show that he’s perfectly capable of extemporaneous debate even with multiple prepared challengers lobbing questions. (Which should have been clear after 20+ debates in 2008, but the TOTUS jokes have taken on a life of their own.) Even conservatives I follow on Twitter were saying that he seemed more appealing in this format than in his thousand speeches last year. Who knows? Maybe that means we’ll see more of this.
Two clips here. The first is the bit about Bolshevik plots, the second speaks for itself. Exit question: The other big winner today — Paul Ryan? Click the image to watch.
Update: Not surprisingly, White House aides tell HuffPo they’re ecstatic with how things went while GOP aides tell NBC it was probably a mistake to let the cameras roll. Oh well.