By now you've certainly heard about the guy in North Carolina who told the President off during a public meeting. The reason it made the news is not necessarily because of what he said (I agree with nearly every word, as do more an more Americans), or how he said it (quietly and respectfully, not a shouted protest), but that he got away with saying it all.
For the five (+) years that Bush has been President, all his public meetings have been so carefully staged, and the audiences so carefully chosen, that we've never heard anything like this - to the President's face - ever before.
Which makes me wonder...
Now, I'm not suggesting that this guy was a fake. I believe he was sincere and real, and I applaud what he said and how he said it.
What I am suggesting is that somebody on the President's staff was finally smart enough to realize that he needs to publicly accept a little criticism, and show that he is "able to take it like a man."
What I believe is that the usual screening process for audience members was eased a bit, and that the President was warned of this, and coached in how to respond ("I'm not your favorite person," etc.).
Now that he's accepted his public criticism, I'm sure they'll go back to pre-screening every question. And when somebody on the left accuses them of ducking criticism, they'll point to this guy to show we're wrong.
Just a theory from an old cranky cynic. But I've been right before.