Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Oh Boy, More Debates!

Just what this town needs in the middle of a heated presidential campaign: more debates.

Perhaps Congress is jealous that the White House contenders have already had 83 or so debates, and that Hillary Rodham Clinton has challenged Barack Obama to one face-off a week until we all beg for mercy. Whatever the reason, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) and House Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) jointly announced today a series of bipartisan congressional debates.

"'Congress Debates' was launched to foster bipartisan debate and discussion of the most important issues facing the country," explained their release.

The first debate will be held Feb. 25 at the Jack Morton Auditorium at George Washington University and will feature four House members from each party debating the hot-button question, "How can America foster economic growth and opportunity?" Ron Brownstein, the political director of Atlantic Media Co. and a former Los Angeles Times columnist, will moderate.

Helping to organize the debates are the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist Democratic group, and the Congressional Institute, a GOP non-profit.

Genuine bipartisan debates are few and far between on the Hill, and these gatherings will presumably be more civil than the usual special-order speeches on the House floor, where the parties typically take turns excoriating each other. No word yet on the exact format of these debates. Will YouTube be involved? Head over to GWU on Feb. 25 and find out.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 8, 2008; 4:53 PM ET
Categories:  Dem. Leaders , GOP Leaders  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Player of the Week: Nancy Pelosi
Next: Rep. Lantos, Holocaust Survivor, Dies at 80


hahaha, genuinely bipartisan.

if it was a fair debate, you would have progressives and conservatives debating, not right-wing and left-wing conservatives.

Posted by: IMGoph | February 8, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

What schmucks. They have unlimited time to debate in Congress.

Posted by: jimmy | February 8, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

What's better than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the White House for 8 years?

Hillary Clinton AND Barack Obama in the White House for 16 years!

Let's harness the excitement we're seeing among Democrats for both amazing candidates. Sign the petition to Howard Dean and the DNC at

Posted by: steven | February 8, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Dear Idiots In Congress:

One of the purposes of Congress is to debate "the big issues of the day."

If debating the big issues of the day seems novel to you, it's because you don't do that anymore. During discussion, none of you are actually there, or you're talking to the cameras instead of each other.

You're looking for an "opportunity to challenge one another over the big issues of the day"? How about doing that IN CONGRESS where you are SUPPOSED TO?

If you want to make it REALLY, REALLY clear that you aren't doing your jobs, one way to do that is to form a debating society because IT'S A NOVELTY rather than ACTUALLY DEBATING in the venue where you are SUPPOSED to debate and where what you do actually has impact on people's live.

What worthless morons.

Posted by: Ignatz | February 8, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

as someone from across the pond, it is worrying to me that Barack Obama is being backed by Kennedy - a man who, allegedly, left a young pregnant woman to die in water at Chappaquiddick! the Kennedy's can't seem to let go of the White House and will use any means to have some influence in American politics.

Posted by: Katrina | February 10, 2008 4:09 AM | Report abuse

Bush's legacy is the end of law

Michael Abraham

Abraham is a businessman who lives in Blacksburg.

Virginia Tech Professor Theodore Fuller made a compelling case regarding the negative way history is likely to judge the presidency of George W. Bush ("History will judge Bush harshly," Jan. 30). Consensus is building that the Bush tenure will rank among the worst ever.

Counting the failures has become its own cottage industry. On my desk is a "George W. Bush Countdown Calendar," with each day until his term is over graced with another blunder, misstep, gaffe, inanity or lie -- the abuse du jour.

Fuller's list includes the failure to bring the Iraq war to a successful conclusion, failure to reform Social Security, to maintain the strength of the dollar, to protect the prestige of America in the world.

To these I add: Failure to adequately regulate the financial industry to prevent the subprime crisis that seems destined to hurl our nation into recession. Failure to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Failure to provide a health care system that works for all Americans. Failure to reverse the widening gap between rich and poor. Failure to stem the influence of corporate wealth and power over our nation, its government and its citizens. Failure to adequately fund and provide a secure future for entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid. Failure to reduce our burgeoning trade deficit. Failure to improve the fuel economy of our nation's transportation network. Failure to maintain and rebuild our national infrastructure.

Repairing the carnage will prove a daunting task for the next administration.

Fuller concludes the greatest failure has been the inability to address the threat of global warming. While this will certainly prove significant, Bush's transcendental failure is more pernicious.

At its essence, our nation is but two things: a pair of borders and an idea. And that idea is that laws are inviolable and nobody is above them. The apogee of this test was the impeachment and expulsion of Richard Nixon. This foundational tenet has all but been destroyed in wanton, unapologetic and systematic ways through the acts and words of George W. Bush and his administration.

It's not that they lied about justifications for war, but in their failure to allow oversight into the processes that produced those lies. It's not in the firing of federal attorneys and the refusal to substantiate the firings, but in the pure partisanship of their actions. It's not their countless refusals to comply with subpoenas from Congress or Freedom of Information Act from the people, but in their arrogated stance, setting themselves above the requirements themselves.

Once when challenged for his unwillingness to submit to the rule of law in an obvious snub of the Constitution, Bush screamed, "Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"

And thus our Constitution has now become what Bush has made it. This annihilation of the foundational document of our republic was orchestrated by a president who swore an oath of honor to protect it, a devout Christian who promised to restore honor and integrity to the Oval Office.

Congress, in its acquiescence and subservience, is equally culpable. When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced, "impeachment is off the table," she not only absolved Bush of all previous transgressions but paved a figurative superhighway for any to come. There's a reason Congress's approval ratings are even lower than the administration's.

That the administration is unapologetic in this power grab is exemplified by this statement by Vice President Dick Cheney, who told Cokie Roberts in January 2002, "[Since Watergate] I have repeatedly seen an erosion of the powers and the ability of the president of the United States to do his job. ... One of the things that I feel an obligation [to do] ... is to pass on our offices in better shape than we found them to our successors." This means placing the president above the laws of the land. Cheney has driven the idea now termed the "unitary executive," which holds that the president is above regulation, oversight or supervision of the courts, the Congress and ultimately the people. All hail King George the W!

It emerges a question of utmost intrigue and expectation as to whether Cheney, Bush and their minions will stand idly by should a Hillary Clinton or a Barack Obama assume this omnipotence, were they to fulfill the will of the people in an election victory.

The decimation of the rule of law and evisceration of the Constitution have been the most insidious of the Bush atrocities.

Posted by: jwh | February 11, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The presidential debates are the best thing
that has happened to this country. People
are actually becoming more educated about
the issues and the difference between the
parties. I find it amazing to hear people
say that if so in so isn't the nominee they
will vote for the guy in the other party.
I try to remind them that they should vote
based upon the platform of the party since
the nominee will base his policies upon the
platform of the party. This is not a beauty contest between individuals. We
need more debates, especially like the last
one between Clinton and Obama--the best one
I have ever seen.

Posted by: Elizabeth Egger | February 11, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is doing everything in her power to hold on, she's hanging by a thread. She feels that she can push Barack around in these debates, but as we saw in the last debate that insn't the case whatsoever. She should be careful what she wishes for because Obama is on fire right now, that man could sell ice cubes to eskimos.

Posted by: Ed | February 11, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company