That’s our debate

I just got an email pitch from Congressional Quarterly trying to sell a service called reClip, which will repackage the floor debate in Congress. The pitch:

Dear Friend,

When you need to communicate a congressional member’s position on a particular issue or bill in your stories, nothing is as effective as showing them in action during floor debate.

With reClip, you can access gavel-to-gavel video coverage of congressional floor debate, pinpoint video clips of members and post those clips directly to news stories on your Web site.

Plus, with customized e-mail alerts, you’ll be notified when a member has spoken on the floor about a specific subject area.

Designed specifically for the needs of media clients, reClip enables you to:

* Post floor debate video featuring Members of Congress directly to your story.
* Monitor members’ floor debate with custom e-mail alerts.
* Manage your selected clips with simple video editing tools.
* Maintain an archive of your selected video clips.

That really pissed me off — not at CQ (hey, if they go to the effort and can sell it, good on them) but at Congress, which should be doing this anyway. Just as with the presidential debates, that democratic discussion should belong to the people and to truly give it to us, Congress should be doing everything CQ is doing — for free.