Friday, January 29, 2010

More of this, Please

Obama and Congressional Republicans on C-Span, debating issues outlined in the State of the Union speech and elsewhere. Sullivan compiles some reactions. Highlights:

Matthew Yglesias:

Barack Obama is a lot smarter and better-informed than his antagonists. A lot. He very calmly and coolly dismantled them.

To me, personally, it’s not a surprise. I debated policy with Mike Pence once and the guy is a stone-cold idiot. That was a years ago and I’ve been surprised since then to learn that conservatives consider him an unusually sharp policy mind and I take leading rightwingers at their word about that. But it’s the kind of thing that I think most Americans aren’t aware of.

Ezra Klein:

Yesterday, I interviewed David Axelrod and was struck by his inability to explain how the White House would highlight the the difference between disagreement and
obstruction. Today's session, if it becomes a regular event rather than a one-off, provided part of the answer. He'll debate them directly. But that may be tough to do. Republicans are
already spreading the word that they made a mistake allowing cameras into the event. Apparently, transparency sounds better in press releases than it does in practice.
Mike Madden:
The whole thing basically went like [this]: Republican asks obnoxious question rooted in Glenn Beck-ian talking points; Obama swats it away, makes the questioner look silly, and then smiles at the end. It got so bad, in fact, that Fox News cut away from the event before it was over.
Well, duh. I read the transcript of the exchange rather than watch the video. Obama and the Republicans came across as congenial, respectful, and even light-hearted. I think there was a sincere effort to reach out there. I want to see more of these exchanges going on, with different Congressional representatives each time. I want to see far left Democrats mix it up with the President as well. And I want it all on TV. But if Klein is right that the GOP feels they got the short end of that exchange, we can probably predict this was a one-off, not a one-of.

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