…The Republicans are better at questioning the President than you are.

I learned more about both sides of the issues than I have by listening to official press conferences. Getting neutrality out of the way seems to help when the issues are by nature contentious. Having the media mediate puts into the middle a force that (a) fears that taking up the opposition’s side too strongly will look like partisanship, and (b) is looking for “news,” i.e., headlines. It turns out that getting to hear the back-and-forth of the groups that have skin in the game can be better than inviting in a skinless third party.

Of course, it helps that not only is our President articulate and informed, he tries to engage substantively and accords his opponents appropriate dignity. And it’s to the Republican’s credit that they invited him in, gave the session enough time, and treated him civilly.