Republican Minority Leader Jim Boehner and party Whip Eric Cantor, the two top House Republicans, have challenged their Democrat counterparts, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to a debate on jobs. There is nothing odd about politicians debating ideals, mind you. However, this most recent challenge comes with a stipulation: the Republicans want it to be televised. The White House has thus far been silent on this challenge. Transparency is their ideal and campaign talking-point, not the GOP’s.
Boehner and Cantor write:
“Clearly, we need a different approach to developing legislation that will get Americans back to work. Therefore, in the interest of complete transparency on the single most important issue of the day for most Americans, we ask that you join us for an open discussion so that we can begin to change a process that has not only polarized this Capitol building but this country as well.”
The Democrats didn’t exactly jump for joy at this challenge, but have not ignored it, either.
Up until this point, there had been nothing but endless back-and-forths between the GOP and the Democrats, making for great political drama, but little action. The GOP challenge is a move in the right direction, as it will showcase what can happen when those elected to serve us have to put up or shut up. Since President Obama has taken office, as Americans we have been the audience to name-calling, emotionally-driven yet highly politicized rhetoric, and an elitist, reckless disregard for the opinions and desires of the American People.
The GOP challenge continues: (Bold emphasis is mine)
“There are no doubt significant differences between our respective approaches to create jobs, as was evident during the stimulus debate last year. Though we had different philosophical approaches, it is unfortunate that there was neither a public discussion nor an opportunity for the American people — especially small-business owners — to become more engaged. Had there been such a discussion, perhaps Congress would have produced a bill that more directly addressed our nation’s economic problems. As you are no doubt aware, President Obama has recently held public forums with both House Republicans and Senate Democrats. Though House Democrats have yet to participate in such a forum, we write to ask that you follow this precedent and agree to participate in an open meeting focused on job creation and economic growth between leaders of both parties in the House.”
It would seem to anyone who has been keeping track, that the GOP House Leadership is actually reaching out to Pelosi and Hoyer. Good for them. With TV cameras invited, America would be able to really see for themselves how both sides of House leadership can carry themselves and their ideals in a solid debate.
This, Mr. President, is what transparency is all about.