Demand Question Time

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Micah Sifry, co-founder of both Personal Democracy Forum and as well as a steering committee member for "Demand Question Time," talks about a new push to demand a regular question-and-answer session with the President.


Micah Sifry

Comments [11]

leo from

Pretty useless suggestion that only deals with superficial problems developed by people with way too much time on their hands.

We don't have the British Parliamentary system here -- if we did we wouldn't be dealing with such manifestations of Yankee Democracy as the Senate Filibuster.

Better to focus on passing meaningful legislation and reforming the way we create law.

I think the media slant that the government is failing and needs this as a remedy probably reveals a number of assumptions worth investigating on their own.

Mar. 03 2010 12:29 AM
Hugh S from Brooklyn

Mar. 02 2010 01:34 PM
Peter from Berkeley Hts NJ

He should study those who communicated best:

John Kennedy had his press secretary rest every now and then... if I recall, HEE took questions from the press about every-other week (afternoons, to make the evening papers).

Ronald Reagan (who I disagreed with often) took time to explain his positions... he didn't allow the opposition to frame the issues.

He should Stop being hands-off... it resembles George Bush. After a year of this, I'm beginning to thing nothing's changed!

Mar. 02 2010 11:42 AM
Daniel Freedman from UWS

One of the benefits of question period is that it prevents Prime Ministers from getting out of touch. They employ aides whose only job is to brief them for question period. The actual parliamentary exchanges are usually pretty silly. It's mock outrage in lieu of a question... on one hand... and sarcastic putdowns in lieu of an answer... on the other.

In Canada, there is a 35 second time limit on both questions and answers. Yes, you read that right... 35 seconds. Still, question period serves a useful purpose. Pressing issues can be catapulted to the top of the public agenda instantly. And there can be follow up elsewhere.

Mar. 02 2010 10:48 AM
J.C. from Minneapolis

Actually, when I watch Prime Minister's Questions on C-SPAN, I see a helpful display of the differences in opinion between the two parties (plus the smaller Liberal Democrats). I don't hear too many personal insults, unless your definition of insult is so broad that it includes posing a tough question to someone.

I'm all for having president's questions here. I don't see the problem with one side trying to poke holes in the positions of the governing side and the governing side having to defend those positions. I mean, good grief, if you want everyone to agree, there are some one-party countries out there where that happens.

Mar. 02 2010 10:28 AM

Democracy,like Justice, should be seen to be done! Unless,of course,it is continued to be treated like an "enemy combatant".

Mar. 02 2010 10:19 AM
the truth from BKNY

Not a good idea.

Mar. 02 2010 10:18 AM
the truth from BKNY

What do you mean you don't see what is wrong with that exchange guest?! It's a disrespectful and rude exchange!

Mar. 02 2010 10:17 AM
Diane F. Oliver from New York City

Having lived in London for 30 years I'd say that Question Time exists purely for the party out of power to attack and the party in power to defend. They don't 'talk' to each other. Rather they insult each other in a manner that continually shocks a Yank.

Mar. 02 2010 10:17 AM
hjs from 11211

I'd rather have the number of representatives raised and Public Law 62-5 repealed

Mar. 02 2010 10:13 AM
Bob from Manhattan

If you desire briefing-book-sanitized sound bites, then question time is for you.

It is an utter waste of time but appeals to those who confuse theater with reality.

Political decision-making is a subtle, intriguing, infuriating, often private process. Do people understand the differences between a politician's public rhetoric and private self-interest?

Mar. 02 2010 10:05 AM

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