Monday, May 19, 2008

Question Time

Dana Goldstein of the blog Tapped brings to our attention an interesting idea that John McCain has suggested: bringing the British tradition of "Question Time" to the US. For those who don't know, in Britain this is the required time once a week in which the Prime Minister appears before Parliament and takes questions (read: gets interrogated) about his/her policies from the opposition. In essence this would force the prime minister (or president) to defend their policies off the cuff and before a likely hostile audience. This could be a very good idea for our system, because it would of course be carried on C-SPAN and probably reach the public eye, and would therefore create a more public sense of accountability for the president. The president would not be able to get away with just suggesting a policy (i.e., in the State of the Union) and then that's the end of it for the president. If they want a policy, they would have to go to bat for it, which would require greater engagement and knowledge of the policy ins and outs. It'd be almost like a presidential campaign debate, except in a much more real context, because the things they'd be debating would be actually in the process of happening already. I think this would be an excellent idea for the US, especially after the disengagement of the Bush era.

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