David Kirkpatrick

February 5, 2010

Demand Question Time!

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:25 am

A new idea bumping around the blogosphere, and a good idea at that. The concept is to set up some formal or semi-formal exchange between the executive and legislative branches of government. Politics in D.C. is so dysfunctional right now Question Time would go a long ways toward breaking up some of the ossified Capital ways, and very possibly get government back on the track of actually solving problems and not trying to win the latest four hour news cycle.

Hit the link and check out the initial signatories — a strongly bipartisan and mixed ideological group. This is an idea whose time has come. An idea that might even be necessary right now. Once you hit the link be sure to sign the petition.

Here’s a take on the concept from 538’s Nate Silver:

As you may be aware, I’ve teamed up with a group of about 50 other thinkers, bloggers, insiders and outsiders to help promote the idea of Question Time — a regularly held, televised and webcasted forum in which the President would take questions from Members of the Congress, much as President Obama did with the Republican House delegation on January 29th and members of the Democratic Senate yesterday. This is truly a bipartisan endeavor, with everyone from Markos Moulitsas to Grover Norquist on board.You can sign our petition to Demand Question Time here, and follow us on twitter here.

And here’s more from the first link:

We live in a world that increasingly demands more dialogue than monologue. President Obama’s January 29th question-and-answer session with Republican leaders gave the public a remarkable window into the state of our union and governing process. It was riveting and educational. The exchanges were substantive, civil and candid. And in a rare break from our modern politics, sharp differences between elected leaders were on full public display without rancor or ridicule.

This was one of the best national political debates in many years. Citizens who watched the event were impressed, by many accounts. Journalists and commentators immediately responded by continuing the conversation of the ideas put forward by the president and his opponents — even the cable news cycle was disrupted for a day.

America could use more of this — an unfettered and public airing of political differences by our elected representatives. So we call on President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader John Boehner to hold these sessions regularly — and allow them to be broadcast and webcast live and without commercial interruption, sponsorship or intermediaries. We also urge the President and the Republican Senate caucus to follow suit. And we ask the President and the House and Senate caucuses of his own party to consider mounting similar direct question-and-answer sessions. We will ask future Presidents and Congresses to do the same.

October 14, 2009

Congress and war power

A very sane proposal from the Cato Institute on returning the power to make war back to Congress and bringing back some semblance of the separation of power. The executive branch has co-opted war power, and the results have been not so stellar. The framers of the Constitution created the separation of power for a good reason and the recent power grab by the executive branch really exposes the sound reasoning behind that concept.

One of the reasons I voted for Obama is I thought he offered the best opportunity to get U.S. government back in balance after the Bush 43 administration. I didn’t see any of the GOP candidates making any substantial changes to Cheney’s rollback to the Nixon administration (and then some) and I certainly thought Clinton would have happily grabbed the full reins of an overly empowered White House.

From CATO Today in today’s inbox:

CATO HANDBOOK: RECLAIMING THE WAR POWER

No constitutional principle is more important than congressional control over the decision to go to war. In affairs of state, no more momentous decision can be made. For that reason, in a democratic republic, it is essential that that decision be made by the most broadly representative body: the legislature. In the Reclaiming the War Power chapter of the Cato Handbook for Policymakers, Gene Healy explains why Congress should:


– Cease trying to shirk its constitutional responsibilities in matters of war and peace,


– Insist that hostilities not be initiated by the executive branch unless and until Congress has authorized such action,


– Rediscover the power of the purse as a means of restricting the executive’s ability to wage unnecessary wars, and


– Reform the War Powers Resolution to make it an effective vehicle for restricting unilateral war making by the president.

July 28, 2008

You can’t blame Dick Cheney …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:59 pm

… for his high ranking status in both of the administrations over the last fifty years that worked hardest to secure all the power of the land in the executive branch.

He just loves the USA so much he wants it all for himself.