Every weekend, my wife and I watched "Prime Minister's Questions" on C-SPAN. I don't want you to get the idea that we're that highbrow; I've been just as entertained by seeing how Zach will pull a fast one on Mr. Belding.
But we enjoyed watching Tony Blair spar with the Parliament for two reasons: one, Prime Minister Blair is exceptionally fast on his feet -- you'd think that there's nothing this guy isn't prepared to answer -- and two, it is fascinating to see the Prime Minister held accountable on an incredibly array of issues.
In this country, we have no such accountability. The press corps spent years kissing the President's posterior, and when the President's popularity started to go down, the Washington press corps, which seems to think so much of themselves, suddenly grew some balls. But it was a little late in the game. Remember, too, that the same people who "objectively" cover the President are the people who regale him at the Washington Correspondents Dinner.
President Bush rarely gives interviews, and usually, he gives them to Fox, or he meets with sympathetic columnists and bloggers.
Wouldn't you love to see the President in the well of Congress, answering questions from all sides on issues large and small? Wouldn't that be terrific reality television? Wouldn't it be great to see a President who is fast on his (or her) feet? Or not fast?
The British Prime Minister enters the House of Commons every Wednesday for this withering Q&A. In Canada, the Prime Minister partakes in Question Period. Australia, New Zealand and India have a similar practice.
So, why not us? Why can't the next President go into the well of the House or Senate, and take questions from John Boehner and Barney Frank? The answer is, they can do it and they should.
And if I'm a candidate for President, and I want to say that I'm going to be accountable to be the people, I would make the President's Questions part of my agenda because I'm not afraid to answer the difficult questions.
We need our government to be more open. Adapting this practice would go a long way toward that goal.