Thursday, February 04, 2010

A question…

…for the 'question time' crowd. What about the Constitution?

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for Congressional caucuses, partisan and otherwise, inviting the President, any President, to join them in any event or deliberation they deem appropriate, and I'm all for Presidents accepting those invitations when they think they'll be a productive investment of time. I just don't see any way to formalize, or particularly to require the kind of question time we see in parliamentary systems given the constitutional separation of powers that we have here in the US.

Even the State of the Union address is delivered in response to a Congressional invitation. While a report to the Congress is the President's constitutional obligation, he's not compelled to deliver it as a speech to a joint session, nor is the Congress compelled to invite him. The whole business could be, and has been, handled with a written report.

President Obama's recent Q & A with the House Republicans was good theater for those of us who enjoy seeing Republican vacuity and obstruction widely displayed, but that's not sufficient ground, I'm afraid, for a permanent policy that strikes at the heart of the balance between the three branches of our government.

Those interested in fixing what's wrong with the other Washington would be better served investing their time and attention in filibuster reform and ending the ludicrous practice of allowing individual Senators to bring the appointment process to a standstill with nonsense like blanket holds when their appetite for pork isn't sufficiently sated.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Carl Ballard said...

Well no, of course it isn't in the Constitution, but neither are a whole host of things that are done by tradition. Certainly a president could Constitutionally stop giving press conferences, but they'd get destroyed if they did. Obama could in the next 3 or 7 years start a tradition that would be pretty tough for his successor to break.

7:56 PM  

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