Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hitchens on McCain's Question Time

A quote but read the whole thing. Hitch gives a history of the suggestion.
This is a reformist proposal with quite a long and interesting pedigree, and it speaks well, I think, of the man proposing it. In Gore Vidal's Lincoln, the president is described sternly rejecting a request from the other side of the aisle that he make regular visits to Capitol Hill to report on the progress of the war. It was perhaps not the most propitious time for the embattled and divided United States to embrace the British system, and for a while the idea lapsed. Rep. Estes Kefauver, D-Tenn., revived the scheme in the mid-1940s, and when Walter Mondale was a Democratic senator in the mid-'70s, he also put forward the idea of a regular parliamentary-style grilling of the chief executive. (Picture this happening to Richard Nixon, let alone to Gerald Ford.)

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