It was predictable that Obama wasn’t going to get grilled by anyone at his Facebook town hall meeting last night, but the degree of indulgence in the questions was plain embarrassing. Maybe the president can hold a town hall at an elementary school next time, or at a summit of Hollywood actors. They’d probably be a tougher crowd.
On the economy, Obama was asked what spending cuts his plan for the deficit might include, how he was going to balance spending cuts and the economic recovery, and whether he thought his deficit plan “demonstrated sufficient boldness.”
He was also asked how he could “assure the low to moderate homebuyers that they will have the opportunity to own their first home”; whether his administration would revisit the DREAM Act; whether he thought the education system needed an overhaul to “address the needs of modern students”; and which cost-saving health care policies he’d like to install in the future.
The only “tough” question of the night was the last one. Obama was asked, “If you had to do anything differently during your first four years, what would it be?” And as Byron York writes, the president wasn’t even able to give a straight answer.
At the Weekly Standard, Mark Hemingway wonders how long this charade can continue. “I don’t know how much longer the president can hold out on asking the tough questions,” he wrote. “One hopes that the national press corps is as embarrassed by yesterday’s puffery and rightfully frustrated by the lack of specifics in Obama’s budget plan. The president owes it to the American people to start answering the tough questions.”
No doubt about it. The problem now is getting someone close enough to him to ask the question out loud.