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Author Topic: Question Time
djquag1
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I guess there's an online petition to "demand" a regularly scheduled Question Time for the president. Didn't see a mention of it, so here you go.

www.demandquestiontime.com

I'm not sure, but I've got the impression that these types of online things normally do frackall, but I signed anyway on principle.

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JWatts
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I signed. More dialogue is a good thing.

[ February 04, 2010, 01:51 PM: Message edited by: JWatts ]

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hobsen
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This seems harmless enough. The White House could assign some underling to screen the questions submitted, and the President could answer those he pleased. This could help useful information get to people faster. As with FDR's Fireside Chats, I am surprised no President has done something of the sort previously that I can remember, which may show the Internet is still a new tool.

Perhaps the originators of this hope to hurt Obama by asking him embarrassing questions, but such questions will be asked of any President anyway. And being able to prepare a response to them is much better for a President than being surprised by a reporter. Moreover, when a reporter asks the same question later, a President can answer in a sentence and say more detail has been posted online. That blunts the impact of any embarrassing questions, as a President can expect few of those who hear will actually go online to read his complete answers. As it seems to me, the people most threatened by this proposal would probably be the accredited newspersons, who profit from having greater access to the President than other citizens. But that might also be a loss, as such persons typically ask better questions than the public in general is prepared to do.

[ February 04, 2010, 02:55 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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LetterRip
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I really would like the phrasing of the 'demand' to be changed.

I'd like regular public dialogue between the President and both parties. Either jointly or separately. Instead of making this Obama and Republican party specific.

We should just implement what the British Parliament and Prime Minister have already.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_Minister%27s_Questions

LetterRip

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djquag1
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Hobsen, the point isn't to save President Obama, or any future President for that matter, from hard questions and embarrassing responses.

What Obama and the Reps did was cool exactly because he didn't know exactly what questions were coming, he didn't have a script, and he came off pretty well regardless.

Screening questions takes out the part that's attractive in the first place; getting our elected leader out in the open, without softball questions or prepared statements. I personally doubt it will happen because the majority of politicians in the US got to where they are by ducking hard questions and playing the political spin game. It's been a part of British politics for a while, (Prime Minister's Question Time, that is) and for the better I'd say. I'd prefer a leader who can candidly answer a question he didn't know was coming half a day ahead.

[ February 04, 2010, 04:15 PM: Message edited by: djquag1 ]

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whitefire
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Why would we want the questions screened? I want the President to tell me what he actually thinks, not what he thinks I want him to think. I also like the idea that the president could get tripped up in a policy question if there is a difficult point to be addressed, not come up with a clever way to explain it away. Sometimes there is a really good answer and the pres looks good, sometimes there's not, and you expose bad policy. Letting them screen questions could allow the Pres to hide bad policy.
I also propose that different members of congress are called on each time. I think too much attention is paid to the answers and not the questions themselves. Especially since I thought the biggest problem with the Q&A that happened was the quality of the questions and their general lack of insight.

Edited to add: I guess djquag1 and I agree about screening, but I think both our posts reinforce one another

[ February 04, 2010, 04:29 PM: Message edited by: whitefire ]

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scifibum
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"Why would we want the questions screened?"

One thing I'd want to screen out is, for example, asking why he still hasn't released his birth certificate yet. (See any of our old birther threads for reasons why this would be a ridiculous act of pandering to the fringe.) If Congress doesn't indulge in that kind of thing, then maybe no screening is necessary. I'd be happy to see how well it works without screening.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
"Why would we want the questions screened?"

One thing I'd want to screen out is, for example, asking why he still hasn't released his birth certificate yet. (See any of our old birther threads for reasons why this would be a ridiculous act of pandering to the fringe.) If Congress doesn't indulge in that kind of thing, then maybe no screening is necessary. I'd be happy to see how well it works without screening.

No, let them ask. If it's a silly question, then the questioner looks silly. If you start screening, then the political spin starts.
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kenmeer livermaile
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"No, let them ask. If it's a silly question, then the questioner looks silly. If you start screening, then the political spin starts."

Not silly in the minds of whatever portion of the populace is represented by the 36% of the Research 2000 sample who claimed they don't believe Obama was born in the United States and the 22% who claim they're not sure.

Having a Congressperson ask Obama "why he still hasn't released his birth certificate yet" would only fuel their fanatical fires.

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djquag1
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I agree. Let them ask. Any politician worth his salt could make someone asking that question look like an idiot.

Are there people out there who might believe that the President isn't American because someone asked a stupid question? Maybe, but they'd still be idiots even without the question having been asked.

The purpose of political discourse shouldn't be how we can best manipulate/protect the more naive members of our voting populace. It should be to get everyone as informed as possible and let nature take it's course.

In today's climate, Question Time would help that, I think.

A

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