A series of Beltway insiders, bloggers, and journalists have launched an online petition at demandquestiontime.com calling for repeats of the recent question and answer session Barack Obama held with House GOP leaders. In and of itself this isn't such a bad idea, at least from the entertainment standpoint. However, it's a very bad idea to the extent that it will be falsely presented as a real dialogue about vital issues. It's yet another sham, a slightly elevated version of debates held on the Hannity show.
As can be seen by the questions asked at the first event, the GOP isn't about to ask Obama embarrassing questions in a prosecutorial or even adversarial manner. And, there are topics on which he's highly vulnerable - such as immigration - that many in the Republican leadership don't want to discuss either. The GOP just can't be trusted to hold Obama accountable on immigration and a range of other topics. These events wouldn't be as fake as, say, WWE, but they're definitely Beltway-friendly and largely just for show.
The alternative is for those outside the Beltway to follow the question authority plan and use smart, adversarial questions to "cross-examine" political leaders and attempt to discredit them by showing how they've lied, misled, or failed to think their policies through. You aren't going to get anything like that from the "Question Time" events. Note that I've been promoting the question authority plan for just about three years and I've gotten almost no help with it.
Those behind the petition include a whole host of those who have little interest in rocking the boat (link):
supporters include Grover Norquist, Joe Trippi, Mark McKinnon, Ed Morrissey, Ari Melber, Katrina vanden Heuvel... Eli Pariser... Markos Moulitsas (Kos)... Ari Melber, Ana Marie Cox and Nate Silver. The steering committee is made up of Micah Sifry, David Corn, Mike Moffo, Mindy Finn (note: affiliated with Patrick Ruffini), Jon Henke and Glenn Reynolds.
That list is a very, very big clue as to what we're dealing with.
If anyone has heard of Jon Henke of The Next Right be sure and see that link. And, see the Reynolds link above for his past efforts such as encouraging people to swarm politicians and hold bunny ears behind their heads. Before the election I tried to get him and others to promote the question authority plan and he refused. See Morrissey's name for more on him, noting that when he interviewed Mike Huckabee he failed to ask him about immigration, his weakest position.
Wed, 02/03/2010 - 10:20 · Importance: 4