Just a brief word about why I've signed onto this cause: perhaps I'm an idealist, but I tend to think that the lack of open, unmediated, and honest dialog between members of Congress, between the Congress and the Executive, and between both Congress and the Executive and the public, is the greatest threat to the efficacy of our democracy today. While structural constraints like the filibuster certainly also play a large role, these structures are nothing new -- it's the ways that our political culture have evolved around them that may be more problematic. In particular, it seems to me that there is a need for conversations that are not staged, that are not reduced to 30-second soundbytes, and that are not filtered through the lens of the media. A Question Time period, if reasonably well structured, could be a significant step toward achieving that goal. Politics needn't always be zero-sum, particularly at the time when our country faces a number of threats -- from the economy, to Islamic and other forms of radicalism, to the aggregation of power by elites, to the the changing climate -- in which we will all sink or swim together. That's why you're seeing Democrats and Republicans, technocrats and populists all working together to agitate for Question Time."White House Pushes Back, Says Prez Didn’t Concede Reform Might Die" (Greg Sargent):
The White House is now pushing back hard on the claim that Obama acknowledged in his speech last night that health care reform might not happen, dismissing it as a “fundamental misinterpretation of the President’s comments.”"November chill seizes DNC meeting" (Politico):
White House spokesman Reid Cherlin emails me this:
“This is a fundamental misinterpretation of the President’s comments. Last week the he stood before the nation and said he ‘will not walk away’ from health insurance reform. That was his position then, it’s his position now, and he’s said as much in stops across the country nearly every day. He used his remarks last night to motivate Democrats to come together and get this done, noting that the public will judge their leaders on what they accomplish.”
As the Democratic National Committee convened in Washington Friday for their winter meeting, the chill in the air was due to more than the snowstorm howling through the D.C. streets.WATCH Obama LIVE @ the DNC meeting (email from the DNC, with video):
Gone was the exultant mood of jubilation that party officials felt when they last gathered for President Barack Obama's inauguration a year ago. In its place was a sense of palpable concern that the party is on the verge of suffering significant - if not crippling - losses.
Even as top Democrats sought to strike an upbeat tone, they were unambiguous in discussing just how treacherous 2010 could be.
Don't forget to tune in for the President's speech to the Democratic Party this morning.
It begins at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time, and you won't want to miss it.
You can watch online here: