James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association, a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, and a professor of communication studies at Whitworth University.

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Obama steps into lions’ den

Posted by James McPherson on January 29, 2010

I’ve noted previously that I’ve thought Barack Obama has spent too much time talking to too many groups, while accomplishing too little. But today’s session with House Republicans, captured on live television (except on Fox, which bailed early), was the most compelling political television I’ve seen in a while.

I’d like to see meetings of this sort become a monthly occurrence with both the House and the Senate–perhaps with a leading Republican standing before his Democratic colleagues in the same fashion. Unlike the warped Senate “filibuster” process in which no one has to take responsibility for perpetuating the “politics of no,” television used in this way lets us see and weigh arguments by those whom we elect–not just by those who pay for them.

It’s an idea that John McCain has favored in the past, so perhaps he’ll promote it. Oh, yeah–that was the 2008 McCain. Who knows what today’s version thinks?

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4 Responses to “Obama steps into lions’ den”

  1. That Q&A really was pretty cool. Obama’s set to do one with Senate Dems next week. I’m sure House Dems are in line as well. He’s *trying* to get the Senate Republicans to agree too.

    They’re probably gonna try and shame them into agreeing, which would be amusing.

    As to your idea of having a top Republican do the same, that’d also be great. Micheal Steele? Boehner?

    Maybe forcing these yahoos to negotiate a but in public with TV cameras on would be good for our democracy. 🙂

  2. Jeremy said

    I agree. The meeting with the House Reps was the most positive thing I’ve seen out of Washington in awhile, actually. Getting together and talking about issues among often deadlocked political parties. What a novel idea!

  3. James McPherson said

    I think Boehner would be good because he’s the House minority leader (along with being opinionated and generally coherent). I’d like to see it become policy that the House and Senate minority leaders (Mitch McConnell, now, in the Senate)–or perhaps the majority leader, if the opposing party has the presidency–stand up and face the opposition for a Q-&-A on a regular, televised basis.

    Steele’s answers wouldn’t be as valuable, I don’t think, because he’s less accountable to voters or Congressional colleagues. Of course, if the news media did a better job of asking questions and exploring policy concerns over personalities, we’d have less need for this sort of thing. Thanks, guys, for the comments.

  4. Here’s a link you might like.

    http://demandquestiontime.com/

    I did a blog post them this morning. Consider this specific comment part of me trying to help advertise them and get the word out. 🙂

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