Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Obama Meets with the House Republicans

If you haven't seen this footage yet, you really should. The House Republicans had a retreat in Maryland this past Friday, and invited Obama. He accepted, and his staff suggested that his brief speech and longer Q&A be aired and taped. The Republicans agreed.

Basically, Obama has the usual false talking points thrown at him, and he bats them down, one by one. There are maybe two Republican ideas with merit, but as Obama points out, they're good only with caveats and as part of a larger framework that's been ignored by the GOP. It's unfortunate but unsurprising that the GOP now regrets that they allowed the session to air. America would be much better off with more sessions like this. If the Republicans (and to a lesser degree the Democrats) actually offered good, reality-based policies that would benefit the country as a whole, that would be absolutely fantastic. Sessions like this can only help that.

If you can only see some of it, Talking Points Memo has many clips up, including Obama objecting to health care being portrayed as a Bolshevik plot:

You can see most of Obama's exchange with Jeb Henserling here (it's one of the best bits, and it's the last question he takes). Steve Benen has a good post on the cash-and-trash strategy by Republicans Obama refers to (although not in those words) - Republicans are happy to take credit back home for the stimulus money they voted against in D.C.

The whole thing is definitely worth the time to watch or at least listen to, though. Here's the C-Span page for the event, and Steve Benen has the MSNBC footage of the Q&A posted. The Washington Post has a transcript. Here's the YouTube version posted by the White House:

Meanwhile, if you missed the State of the Union, you can view it here. It was better than I expected, but I'm very concerned about the spending freeze talk. Eliminating waste is great, but boxing one's self in isn't, and exempting military spending ignores the biggest problem. See Krugman here and here, as well as Spencer Ackerman. The public seemed to like it in at least one poll, though. Some of the other proposals, including a reduction in the costs of student loans (more generous for those going into public service), and a targeted tax cut for small businesses, could be great. We'll see how it all plays out.

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