President's Questions

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A bit old but John McCain says he wishes to adopt Britain’s PMQs in some form if he becomes President. Essentially, the Prime Minister is asked questions on what has happened recently, and proposals for the future. The link there is to this week’s, one I found particularly amusing (you may need some background knowledge of what’s going on here to get some of the digs; I won’t ruin them by explaining why they’re funny though :P), and not just because of Boris.

Would those of you in the USA welcome such a weekly event? How about those of you in other countries? Does anyone think they would be (or are, if you are in the UK) a waste of time? I believe Tony Blair (you know him, he was in Team America) spent the best part of a day preparing for it, could that time have been better spent or is it a small price to pay to ensure the Prime Minister or other head of government does not implement policies that would see him or her ridiculed on television?

 
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I think it is a pretty good concept to keep up presidential approval and make America more democratic (even if it is only because the president wants to save face when the people laugh at his answers).

 
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I think PMQ would be a great thing to have in the USA, because it would be a good check and balance between the legislative and executive branch. But there would have to be talk about who gets to ask the questions.

On another note, John McCain would throw a chair at someone after the first couple questions.

 
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> I think it is a pretty good concept to keep up presidential approval

I think it keeps opinion from getting too high or low – it shows the Prime Minister (and other MPs) to be human. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad one is another matter…

> even if it is only because the president wants to save face when the people laugh at his answers

They don’t really laugh at his answers, the laughing is usually when someone has had a dig at someone else – much like a playground really. There’s a lot of ad hominem tacked onto the main arguments.

> But there would have to be talk about who gets to ask the questions.

This could be a problem, yes. With only two parties it would be quite different, and not having a head of party until almost the general election (Hillary won’t concede until Saturday I think) would not allow the public to see the current ‘champion and challenger’ fighting it out.

> On another note, John McCain would throw a chair at someone after the first couple questions.

He has challenged Obama to some debates round the country hasn’t he? It would seem he’s very confident of his abilities if he’s going to pledge President’s Questions.

 
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You seem to be talking about two different things. Debates between presidential candidates and the President having to go in front of the senate ever week and be asked questions.

Most likely for a US type PMO, would have the heads of all political parties in the senate getting to ask X amount of questions a week.

MCCain is know to have a very short temper at anybody that has a different view then him. Many of his fellow Republicans in the senate said that about him, in public and on the record.

 
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I guess the ‘fireside chats’ served a similar function once upon a time.

 
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I was just pointing out that McCain seemed pretty confident in his abilities to both pledge President’s questions and challenge Obama to some one on one debates. I haven’t heard him speak much (the race he was in was over very quickly), how good is he?

> the heads of all political parties in the senate

How many are there?

 
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Incase anybody was wondering what phooltk was talking about when he said “fireside chats”, here is a link for more info . When he was doing his talks during world war II he encouraged people to get a world map to follow him around as he talked about was the soldiers were doing overseas. He wanted the average american to understand where and why they were being asked to fight, which is a far cry compared to what the current president is doing, he asks you to shop and not look behind the curtain, at what he is doing over seas in our name.

@Kyriva

As a Republican strategist said “If the Republican brand was a dog food, it would be pulled off the shelf.”. McCain is raising a fraction of the money Obama is raising or Clinton was raising, so debates would be a lot of free advertising for him, among other things. There were three President one Vice President debates planned many months ago.

I’ll let you decide, considering he can mess up facts several times in a row, be corrected, then the next day mess up again on the same thing…

Video

And on the USA PMO thing, I’ll believe him when I see it. Saying things is easy, doing is a hole different ball game.

There are about a dozen “not big two political party” members of the the senate last I heard.

 
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Free advertising is a good point, but only if he can come out well against Obama. I can see why it might be worth the risk though.

I’m quite reluctant to form any opinion from a video such as that, I’ve seen what the Daily Show did to Gordon Brown a few months back. There’s a six year gap in him being for and against the war, something true for many Americans.

As you say, we’ll have to wait and see how he fares if and when he becomes President.

> There are about a dozen “not big two political party” members of the the senate last I heard.

12 out of ~100 (?) is more than I expected. How would you suggest the questions are split? The opposition could presumably be given the most questions, then perhaps his/her own party, then the smaller ones? Perhaps a random ballot too like in the UK?

 
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@Kyriva

Ok time for me to say I’m sorry because I messed up :(

When I said the senate I meant the Senate and the House of Representatives(540 people total). But I was wrong about that too, currently there are no independents in the House of Representatives and only two in the House. When I watch cspan for certain debates, I remember seeing (I) next to several different people, maybe cspan messed up, they were from state bodies, my memory needs a overhaul, or a little of all the above. Sorry again…

On the subject of of how to split the questions, how about this..

Sample #1
President is Party A, Congress is lead by Party A, Second Major party is Party B

2 for Party A, 3 for Party B, 1 for Other Parties

Sample #2
President is Party A, Congress is lead by Party B, Second Major party is Party A

2 for Party A, 3 for Party B, 1 for Other Parties

So the party leading congress get three questions unless they also have the presidency then the next biggest party gets those three.

*1 they have to have more then 5% total of the congress, which is 27 members.