Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Congress Should Be LESS Civil When The President Speaks

Sherman Oaks, California

The internet chattering for days has been about Congressman Joe Wilson's yelling "You lie!" when President Obama claimed that his health care plan would not cover illegal aliens. Predictably, the professional handwringers are calling for more civility and are lamenting the coursening of our discourse.

The quality of U.S. political debate would be improved if there were more yelling, name calling and cheap shots -- to the President's face.

The insulation of the President from viscerally experiencing criticism is a flaw of our system. Protesters are kept away from his limo, and an audience member who challenges him is led away by security (a perk that continues after office). The closest the President gets to a confrontation is an election-year debate, and those are dueling news conferences in which the ground rules usually prohibit the candidates from directly interacting.

Look how much better the debate is in Great Britain's House of Commons. The parliamentarians are boorish, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown's point is a cheap shot, but notice the skill with which he and Tory leader David Cameron mix stat-quoting wonkery with political theatrics. A more confrontational system could breed a better class of U.S. politicians.



Anonymous Thatcher said...

Douglas Hogg, Conservative MP for Sleaford & North Hykeham, claimed the £2,115 cost of clearing the moat at his Lincolnshire manor-house. He also claimed the cost of having his piano tuned and stable lights fixed.

12:59 AM  

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