Making the rounds of the right wing blogosphere is an interview of President Obama where a reporter from a local Texas station asks questions in a rather confrontational way. The questions are reasonably well-considered and given the tongue bath usually given by the media, it was kind of refreshing. Once done with the gloating at the President's surprise and discomfort, you knew nothing you didn't know when you started. It was cotton candy for the right: delicious, but empty.
What if you started with the assumptions that President Obama is not venal, not stupid, and not driven purely by politics? What if you took him at his word and tried to understand his world view? I would think you could hold a penetrating interview and still treat him with the respect he deserves. Perhaps something along these lines:
What are the mechanisms by which unemployment will fall? Perhaps he believes that low interest rates will lead businesses to borrow money to expand. Whatever his answer, you could test it's validity with real data.
How do you think the deficit will be shrunk? It might be that he thinks he can yoke the rich like oxen and they will pull along at their current rate regardless of how much money you take from them. Again, real data would show whether he was right or wrong.
Is poverty a marker of behavior? To me, this would be quite interesting and could be used for some penetrating follow-up questions. Why should the fellow who stayed in school and went all the way through residency to get his MD pay for the stoner who dropped out of high school? That line of questioning would lead to the last one:
Is fairness limited to money? That is, are we here to redistribute wealth or is there something more - the redistribution of responsible behavior as well?
The answers to those questions would give you something to ponder and would provide a set of metrics to gauge the accuracy of his world view. It might not make the Free Republic lads cavort about in joy, but it would be better than talking over the guy.