GOP still struggling with asking tough questions (Eric Cantor campaign against Dems on House floor)
Patrick O'Conner of the Politico offers "Cantor's strategy: Ambush Democrats" (link) about a plan from House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor in which more experienced legislators take to the House floor to berate less-experienced Democratic House members over various issues:
Cantor’s floor staff has created a photo album to help identify the 42 most vulnerable Democrats. The aides send daily e-mails to the members of the attack team and alert lawmakers when these targeted members are speaking on the floor. They even draft quick scripts to help focus the questioning... Democrats have begun pulling their vulnerable members from the floor as soon as the attacks begin. And even if the targeted Democrat doesn’t take the bait, video of the episode inevitably finds its way to the Web as evidence of either ineptitude or cowardice.
Well, not really. The example offered in the article is here. I didn't watch it but I did a few others, and none of them are very good. They involve things such as "did you read the stimulus bill?" and other made-for-Hannity fare. The ones I saw are not exactly examples of Socratic debate; in fact, there's little debate at all.
Obviously, they're constrained by parliamentary rules and the like, but even if they weren't it's doubtful whether they could do something effective such as really pressing a Dem on an issue in an attempt to show that they're being misleading or can't think things through. For other examples of the GOP being unable to think their way out of a box, see these other recent videos. There's also the strong possibility that they'll appear obstructionist; if they asked real questions that wouldn't be able to gain any traction.
On a lighter note, from our "When all you have is a left-handed toy hammer made of pudding" department, Amanda Terkel of ThinkProgress links to the article under the title "Cantor’s legislative strategy: Ambush freshmen Democrats" (thinkprogress.org/2009/04/07/cantor-ambush). I don't need to tell you that she mentions Bill OReilly.