The group's website, DemandQuestionTime.com, launched this morning and as of the writing of this post has 2571 petition signatures.
A few interesting things: perhaps this could save the President's agenda. Nate Silver, who runs 538, has done considerable analysis on the Democratic Party's messaging strategy particularly as it pertains to health care. He argues that public opinion is souring, at least in part, because the public doesn't know what's in the bill. He creates a nice table:
The President, at his question time with House Republicans in Baltimore, told the GOP to stop crying "Commie" and instead look at the actual legislation, hoping to shrink the gap between the rhetoric and the reality. However, as long as the pinko message is working, it's hard to imagine why the GOP would.
But question time could bring a new age of political discourse, where the President can use his personal touch and debating skill to rewarm the public. Rather than have each side spout talking points, you could have a legitimate debate (was anyone else super excited when the West Wing did the Santos/Vinick "real" debate)?
This could help members of Congress. Nobody watches floor speeches or committee debates, and I'm certain few would watch Presidential question time. But certainly more would, and face time with the President, arguing the merits or follies of policy, would increase visibility. Imagine if after "you lie" the President and Rep. Wilson had a brief chat about covering illegals. It would have boosted the President's bipartisan and personal credentials while elevating Rep. Wilson to equal footing with POTUS. It also might have cleared up confusion about the President's policies.
The Demand Question Time folks say it best:
We live in a world that increasingly demands more dialogue than monologue.
At the conclusion of my writing, the website has 2683 "signatures." Oh, the age of Web 2.0.