Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The importance of questions

Significant political announcements should be made in a forum where the politician making them immediately takes unscripted, unvetted questions from an independent press corps. While I may be critical of members of the press at times, journalists are generally the only people given an opportunity to publicly question political figures contemporaneously with the announcements they make. So a press conference seem to me to be a reasonable venue for a politician who has an announcement to make.

There are numerous advantages to taking questions on the spot. If you know you will have to answer questions right away, you think differently about what you are going to say and, possibly, what you are going to do. It would have been a good if our current President had more often had to answer, right away, questions from the press about any number of decisions he has made, decisions ranging from his choice of personnel (e.g., his running mate, his cabinet officers) to his decisions about world affairs and human rights (e.g. to invade Iraq, to support torture) to his picks about economic policy (e.g. to stick with allowing the subprime mortgage market to function as it did for many months after others raised red flags about it).

If you know you will be asked about your choices as soon as you announce them and that the people asking will not necessarily be enthusiastic, you have to think through your reasons so you are ready to field those questions. This preparation gives you an opportunity to make sure you of your reasons for your decision, to double check that your decision will hold up to prompt scrutiny. A politician ready to answer questions immediately upon announcing her or his decision demonstrates that she or he thought through the decision. Such forethought can improve the quality of a choice. Demonstrating that you engage in such forethought gives others confidence in your deliberative abilities; it makes it clear that that you look before you leap.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Mirlo said...

The Denver Group ad of Aug 11th is in CNN's Political Ticker! Have to go back to read it.

August 12, 2008 at 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Mirlo said...

Actually, I think the article is well written, true to the text in the ad. The author's emphasis of it coming from Hillary Supporters takes some of the attention away from the ad's message, unfortunatly - just as you, Heidi, described this a few weeks ago, when you spoke to journalists - but CNN bringing it up prominently and without smears is a BIG success, I think.

The article is still available to read in the ticker, comments are closed.Most of them are stupid, which is no surprise.

Sorry to have been off topic.

August 12, 2008 at 9:58 AM  
Anonymous adamonis said...

In shorter words, the US deserves politicians that can truly think on their feet and express their views clearly because they truly understand their own political platforms, complete with their own political policies! (I know that this is a run-on sentence, but it fits!)

August 12, 2008 at 10:08 AM  
Anonymous susan h said...

It's almost as if Obama wants to make sure those who "fall in line" (i.e. Party Members in Russia) are rewarded and therefore get previews, special attention. But I feel he is being more devious in his approach. He wants to have everyone's cell/text/email address so as to be able to remind them to vote for him on Nov. 4, just in the unlikely case his 'followers' are not thinking of him 24/7.

August 12, 2008 at 11:04 AM  

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