Monday, February 01, 2010

A Real Discussion Between Obama and The GOP

If you're going to watch one political event from end-to-end, I say skip the State Of The Union and watch the Q & A session between Obama and The GOP. This is truly a remarkable discussion - Republicans get to voice their disappointment with Obama's polices, and he gets to respond directly to them. And nobody pulls an punches. It so beats the usual contest of who's talking points can be shouted the loudest.

A Strategy In The Making?

In the first few weeks of the Obama presidency, it seemed like the strategy he'd used to get stuff done was to try to work informally with Republican leadership - say, by having a Super Bowl party.

When his Stimulus plan landed no Republican support, it seems like he switched gears and decided to take his case to the people. For the last year, we've seen events like the Town Hall in Florida. Obama gives his stump speech, and then takes questions. While town halls sound great on paper, I can't imagine this strategy has had the effect the administration was hoping for. For one thing, they start to get very repetitive, so the news media stops covering them - so they are largely ignore. The result is that those in attendance may have been persuaded in one way or another, but the rest of the country isn't listening. Add to this the fact that the audiences are for the most part very friendly, and the events come across as campaign rallies more than meaningful discussions with the American People.

And now we have this move. Obama goes on GOP home turf to take their questions and respond. And as I said above, I like it. To me, this is far more effective a dialog than the Town Halls. The question is, can the White House turn this into a regular strategy, and one that keeps pressure on both them and the GOP to work together? I sure hope so.

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