Friday, September 10, 2010

Obama Debating Boehner

E.J. Dionne proposes that the President debate the House and Senate minority leaders.
Between now and November, President Obama should debate both John Boehner, the House Republican leader, and Mitch McConnell, the GOP leader in the Senate. Their confrontations, televised and during prime time, would certainly get the attention of voters and make clear what the stakes in the election are.
I disagree. Even between presidential candidates, debates often amount to little more than the exchange of talking points. Recall Sarah Palin, up-front, stated she felt free to ignore the questions posed to the candidates and talk about whatever she wanted. To allow people like Boehner and McConnell to debate the President would elevate their importance and allow them to spew nonsense in the President's face while granting legitimacy to that nonsense, while the President would be expected to respond with the decorum required of his office. Also, as if it needs to be said, Obama's not presently up for reelection.

If Dionne wants somebody to debate Boehner, the proper counterpart is Nancy Peolosi. And for McConnell, of course, Harry Reid.


  1. Yeah, but imagine how it'd go if they did something equivalent to Prime Minister's Questions.

  2. I have to admit, "Question Period" was part of what hooked me on politics during my teenage years in Canada. It often accomplishes less than you would hope, but it does provide both amusing moments and at least the opportunity to confront the leaders of the country with difficult questions (even if they deftly evades them).


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