President Obama has been receiving accolades from both the right and left for the open, un-teleprompted, televised Q&A he held with Congressional Republicans last week.

For some years, I’ve been watching the British Prime Minister’s “Question Hour,” in which the leader of Britain is put on the spot in public by his opposition, and must respond directly and in the moment, and marveled at this public test of reasoned debate and expertise, and wondered why the American people are not privy to the same openness.

We need more of this public dialogue and serious debate on a regular basis, as it may well serve to hold both sides more accountable to the electorate, while demonstrating that real dialog can take place amidst respectful debate between the President and Congress. It may help restore some of the public’s belief that the two parties leading the nation can work together in the public interest, and not just fire volleys at one another. It may even help the Congress to see their views challenged in public. And by the way, I’d like to see both parties in the room together, just as the Brits do it.

A “President’s Question Hour” is not the answer, but it could be another step toward a new era in collegial, open dialogue at our highest level of government. What do you think?

Advertisements