Change.gov and the Contradiction of the Postmodern Left Netroots

The Democratic Party has liked to style themselves as very bottom up, but their ideology is very top down. Now we will have a chance to see what happens when they govern. -Patrick

Today, the Barack Obama transition team launched its new website, www.change.gov, and I think it would be wise for all of us who are interested in building the Next Right to check it out, as well as www.barackobama.com in case the latter is changed substantially. If you want to see how My.BarackObama.com works without joining, watch the tutorial video. It's impressive.

During the campaign, the Obama folks were able to do three remarkable things to build a people-powered online movement.

  1. Create a nationally visible platform for attracting and building a responsive and interactive community
  2. Leverage this community to build neighborhood-level teams and provide them with the tools and measurable goals needed to accomplish the task at hand
  3. Devolve control over execution to neighborhood team leaders and individuals and let them unleash their own individual strengths to get the job done

If you take a really good look at BarackObama.com, the vast majority of it is nothing extraordinary. It has candidate bios and issue positions and looks generally pretty nice. What sets it apart is the ability to submit policy ideas of your own to the campaign for every issue area, MyBarackObama.com (which is explicitly designed to foster local organizing), and their Organizing Resource Center, which provides detailed tutorials and excellent tools for individuals to act on their own for the campaign. The unique aspects of the Obama online operation all fit into the three bullet points above, and created a truly effective campaign operation and allowed a movement to form.

Now, consider the new site, Change.gov. What sets Change.gov apart from any other government website is that it invites users to interact with the website and submit personal stories and ideas for the new administration. This fits into the first item from above, but the other two are noticeably absent. This is important.

The design of Change.gov is important for one reason. Barack Obama ran on a campaign of fundamentally changing the way Washington works, and to some extent, the innovative aspects of his campaign were sold as glimpses of a new, people-powered government under an Obama administration. If we take Change.gov as the government website of the future, we can look forward to plenty of feedback forms but not much more. We'll see how this works out over the long run, but I think it will prove more difficult than expected to carry the campaign model over to government operations.

Now we begin to see the inherent contradiction of the left's netroots organization. They have created a tremendous capacity to organize people to act voluntarily for the accomplishment of the movement's goals. Philosophically, this goal is to win control of the federal government and use it to fix the ills of society. However, in the end, the federal government runs things from the top-down, and bureaucracies by their very nature are slow and unresponsive. Once the left's open, decentralized and local movement infrastructure wins control of the federal government, it hands the keys over to elected officials and its job is simply to keep those folks in office.

In large part, the Obama campaign built itself on the postmodern shift in American society towards self-actualization, meaning, customization and connectedness which has been explored in the literature on design, by political scientists like Ronald Inglehart, and expressed in the new type of business model featured in magazines like Fast Company. 21st century Americans demand more self-actualization in every aspect of their lives and Barack Obama was able to deliver on this politically through his campaign.

However, the federal government idealized by the Left as the solution to every problem simply is not capable of providing everyday citizens with customized services, active involvement, local solutions and most importantly, meaning. It is the job of bureaucracies to treat everyone equally, and what makes government separate from other entities is that it fundamentally acts through coercion rather than through meaningful individual participation. In the end, the biggest promise of the Obama movement cannot be delivered because of its inherent contradictions.

Now imagine what conservatives and libertarians could do to improve society through voluntary action if we developed our own version of My.BarackObama.com. The possibilities for non-governmental solutions are almost limitless. That's real hope for change.

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Comments

Don't underestimate them

I suspect Change.gov isn't completely built out yet. When visiting the site yesterday it was loading slow implying there's much work being done under the hood.

I suspect the Obama administration is still trying to figure out how to apply their campaign organizing techniques to governing. They'll have to deal with rules preventing government websites from doing things private sector or campaign websites can do. Leftists who have worked on online government issues for years have talked about using tools like wikis. I expect to see stuff like that in the future.

I'm wondering what will become of the 3 million + Obama e-mail list. Will that maintained in the White House, sent to the DNC, or kept alive within an Obama campaign operation that will continue to exist through Obama's four years in office. How will the list be used? Will Obama use it to go over the heads of the media (once they stop drooling over him)? Will it be used to ask supporters to call their Congressmen and Senators? How will they react to being deluged with phone calls inspired by the President?

Then the big question: How do Congressional Republicans respond?

Change.gov is harder than Change.BarackObama.com

These are good points. For Change.gov the integration of people-power into the existing government institutions is a much more complex process than it was to integrate myBarackObama with the campaign. And this is of course still more the case as the Obama administration does not yet exist.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. My sense is that Obama does have a committment to transparency and participation in government. He also clearly understands that organizing can be a very powerful tool for communicating and empowering an agenda. Power flows both ways through these structures; it is not simply "empowering" people. The more people are empowered by the Obama organization the more power flows back to the organization. People and local communities will be empowered, but the Obama administration will have entered into conversation with those people and communities and so will have clout to persuade, push and prioritize around the administration's agenda.

If they are able to pull it off, it could be very powerful. Obama's Chicago organizing experience and his faith in it could prove to be a very good match for the disturbuted model of online and activist organizing he is leveraging through the campaign and now he hopes to through his administration.

White House 2

Please check out White House 2.  Anyone can set their own priorities for the Obama administration, and it adds them all up digg style on the homepage.   It's a grassroots attempt to address the issues you raise, to create meaningful participation from everyday citizens.  It would be great to get more conservatives participating.

Gentlemen; you ain't seen nothing yet.

As powerful and as sophisticated as you may think Change.gov and White House 2 are, they wouldn't hold a candle against the potential of  Operation Rednet .

For one thing, as powerful as these web functions are, they still represent only the extension of a single political campaign, associated with and connected to one, single individual.    Whereas, Operation Rednet , takes these same cyber concepts up, adds some additional deliberative groupware,  and applies them all to a whole political party.

Secondly, we know the Democrat Party's power structure will not adopt such a restructuring of their power centers, because they believe they have won, and you don't change a winning team.  Our Party is now in a position of change or be politically overwhelmed next time around.

 Lastly, the communicative power of the Internet is upon us. We have to now ask ourselves, do we want this power to be directed by one individual, for an individual gain,  however well meaning, or do we want this tool to be used by a collection of people, using a deliverative process to harness this power for the common good?  The time to act is now before it is too late.

             ex animo

  Operation Rednet  

           davidfarrar

 

You have some interesting things to say, but...

I'm going to be honest here.  It would be so much better to say them without all the animated gifs and dancing bullshit on your posts.

You have some good ideas.  I appreciate your participation here and your involvement.  But the incredibly annoying animated gif signature make you look amateurish.  It's like you're stuck in 1998 when those things were cool.

Because of the "hey! look at me-ism" of your posts, I have almost completely stopped reading anything you post simply because I can't get past the jiggly crap. That's unfortunate.

Let your words speak for themselves.  Your fondness for outdated gifs do more to diminish your writings than anyone who argues with you.

Michael, I would like to talk about this issue...

...but right now, while you are bellyaching over my little artistic foibles, thousands and thousands of email addresses that rightfully belong to either the RNC or, more specifically, to Gov. Palin, are being stolen RIGHT FROM UNDER THE RNC'S NOSE.

Please go to Thank you, Sarah Palin and tell me the RNC has already made provisions on their website to handle this sort of cyber traffic.

Secondly; please go to Spammer Theft in Progress and tell me this site has either been authorized by the RNC or the RNC is moving for an injunction.

And, please, please Michael, tell me why this kind of cyber work wasn't done PRIOR to Nov. 4, 2008 by the RNC. It seems as if the RNC has not developed any sort of a "Post-Election" cyber playbook yet.

Once we clear this little problem up, I'll be glade to talk to you about your program and my little gifs.

           ex animo

 Operation Rednet  

           davidfarrar

 ps: Do you really have an animated dancing bullshit gif?

Agree with Turk here...

And very strongly considering banning graphics in comments.

While Gov. Palin and the RNC are getting Raped...

...by professional spammers, you guys are over here considering banning graphics in comments. Now why am I not surprised.

Moving graphics is something only the Internet can provide. It is not old, as Turk suggests, but new. Look at the newest Web-marketing examples...it's all gifs. Gifs are beyond videos. People don't want to waste time staring at a video. They want impact. If one picture is worth a thosand words, one gif is worth a million words.

Now I could say, like Turk has said, "This is bullshit." Or I could say it another way:

Which example do you guys think does a better job at communicating? 

And as JEB once personally told me, "Politics is nothing but communicating."

ex animo

davidfarrar

 

You're asking a lot from a President-elect

Obama is not yet President. How much integration can we expect Change.Gov to have with government at this point?

I hate to sound mean

But this is the stupidest post that I have ever seen.  I am getting sick and tired of people never learning from history or taking a good look at the obvious things that are around them.  I am also sick and tired of people thinking that a really good website will solve our nations problems - or will make people care. 

David Axelrod had another candidate who ran on hope, his name is Deval Patrick - shortly after winning the Governorship of Massachusetts Deval Patrick unleashed - a new DevalPatrick.com website with a whole MyIssues page. 

Citizens did not care - and did not want to get engaged after an election.  After an election the citizens go back to their normal lives. 

Here is what happened to MyIssues - from the Boston Globe:

Governor's online forum hits a few stumbling blocks.

Byline: Lisa Wangsness

Mar. 31--Governor Deval Patrick's new website was designed to transport his Internet-based grass-roots campaign network into the realm of governing, helping activists across the state engage in a dialogue with one another and the governor himself on important Massachusetts issues.  But since the website's debut last weekend, the lofty public discourse on issues such as same-sex marriage, renewable energy, and education funding has at times dissolved into a caustic and unfocused public shouting match -- about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Christianity, and the website itself -- highlighting the political pitfalls of a medium that served Patrick so well during the campaign.

 But the cacophony in cyberspace underscores the inherent challenge any politician faces in opening a public forum on the Internet: focusing the discussion without censoring opinion, particularly in a medium in which posters are less restrained than they might

Listen at the end of the day change.gov is a meaningless website that will change nothing.  No one knows about it but political geeks like us.  It's a stunt. 

You do yourself no favors.

Dismissing the site when it is only 3 days past the choosing of a president elect, means you have hardly observed what it is capable of. As others have pointed out what is happening right now is the Obama team is trying to figure out HOW to transfer the activity and engagement of my.barackobama.com into something that can be utilized and harnessed during his term as president.

They don't have the interactivity set up, they don't have the user base or site recognition of the original site, and they don't have any way of turning voter feedback (which is easy enough to get) into participation and engagement. Give it some time to grow, see what the objectives of this site become and then be critical of it. Right now it seems to simply be a place holder and a "coming soon" sign left out for those who were drawn in by the social aspects of the Obama community.

I don't think they know how to use the website as a part of creating a more responsive government, whether or not you believe that is their goal is another issue, and if you look at attempts like in England where they thought that simply posting libraries of paper online and allowing people to start up petitions would somehow better inform public policy you will see that there has been no succesfull model for "government 2.0" At least, not yet...

The Obama team has showed their saviness with the web and with organizing and engaging at the grass roots level, if anyone could turn a government website into more than just a fancy digital reader or an unread message board it would be the Obama administration. But it requires effort on both the government's side and the citizens enthusiasm to work. I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot more meat on change.gov's bones by the time Obama is sworn in.

My.BO is basically like using

My.BO is basically like using Facebook to sell Girl Scout Cookies.

Likely to be a Short-Lived Model

I am skeptical that the federal facebook policy crafting model will stay in place very long. Can you draft the 2009 National Security Strategy in an online forum?

I thought that the change.gov's national service plan, with its mandated community service for students,  is ill conceived as well, and blogged about it here. Cheers!

Keeping stuffing that Straw Man...

The problem with the vast majority of analysis here on The Next Right is that you are aiming at Straw Men.

Until you recognize that most on the left really are Americans who share your view of free markets but rational regulation and effective and limited government, then you'll fail to understand us at all.

It may make you feel better to knock down the straw man, but you're not really doing anything of value relative to meaningful analysis. 

This is a good point

The Republican Party I want to help build stands for exactly that:  Free Markets coupled with smart, limited, regulation only where needed, and limited, competent government.  

The Republicans have come to represent just a different type of big government, and all too often have been incompetent at it.  We just made it too easy for the democrats to package themselves as a sensible alternative.  

I think that the Obama administration will attempt to have the government play a strong role in the economy, and I fear possibly even take a corporatist approach like that found in Western Europe.  The McCain campaign tried to make this point, but just didn't have any credibility on the matter, however unfair, based on the record of the past administration, and to a greater extend, the Republicans in congress.

The Republicans need to revert back to our roots as the party that is inclined to limit governmental involvement, both on economic matters and on social matters.  Of course there needs to be regulation, but I think we have learned over the past several decades that the answer is not more or less regulation, but smarter regulation.  

I think a lot of Americans who voted democratic this past election DO share the views you mention.  The key is to win them back.  I do not think, however, that the Left shares those views.  After all, they wouldn't be the Left, then, would they?

Timothy is right

I vote Democratic because I cannot stomach the legislation of morality from the right.  I am a successful professional, and don't particularly want my taxes to go up.  I do believe in free market economies with commonsense regulation as well.  If the platform of the GOP was fiscal conservatism, rather than social conservatism, I could join up.

The left is not some homogeneous entity, just as the right isn't.  You may have more fiscal conservatives waiting in the wings if abortion, gay marriage and the other religiously motivated stuff come off the list of the GOP's wishlist.

As for the my.barackobama.com and change.gov, I think you underestimate its power.  Yes, it is like facebook, but it also got people involved in the campaign very early, allowed for fundraising to be streamlined, built up a massive email list, and inevitably its visitors didn't just sit and blog on the site, they went into the campaign office and worked for the candidate.  The right had their ass handed to them by a community organizer!  I suspect that the change.gov site will build upon this.  As a former BO volunteer, I will visit frequently, and I think the American people will like a more interactive government experience.  Plus, there's always 2012 to think about.  Why would you ignore something that managed to win an election.

The mantra of the campaign efforts was respect, include, empower.  I have never seen an organization work so well.

Heather 

Society 2.0, not Government 2.0

Change.gov will grow and expand, and it will be very important for us to watch and see where they go with it.

The responses to this post seem to fall into two general categories:
 
  1. Don’t write Change.gov off now, it will facilitate deliberation and transparency
  2. Websites can’t make a difference in government policy-making
In the end, both arguments end up leading back to my original point. The power of the Obama online operation is philosophically tied to government. Their idea of people-power is to open up federal policy-making and the bureaucracy to their organization. A responsive Obama federal government alone simply cannot deliver on the brand experience promised during the campaign.
 
This does not mean it will not be effective in electing Democrats or pushing Barack’s policies through Congress. In George W. Bush’s first term, we had our own system, GOP Team Leader, which helped push the President’s agenda, was turned over to the BC’04 campaign and Al Gore attacked it as a bunch of ‘digital brownshirts.’ I don’t know how effective it was, so maybe Patrick or somebody else may be able to fill us in. We can probably gauge the potential of the Obama system for influencing policy by examining the effectiveness of Team Leader. I just don’t know enough to make a call, and nobody at the RNC I’ve ever asked has given me a straight answer.
 
On the other hand, I don’t believe it can effectively involve citizens in the bureaucracy. Let’s look at the ideas put forward for how Obama will bring people power to the government:
  1. Policy Wikis
  2. Setting Administration Priorities
  3. Fostering Deliberation
  4. Opening Federal Documents to the Public
  5. Facilitating Petitions
With the exception of facilitating petitions, all of these measures fit into category 1 of the original post. At worst, it provides meaningless feedback and at best it is deliberation. Though left-wing political scientists may think deliberation is the answer to society’s problems, my experience with online discussions and the frequent need to invoke Godwin’s Law lead me to think this isn’t enough to satisfy the tear-filled crowds. I love transparency and I think we need more of it in government. However, transparency is different from mobilizing people for action and it doesn't provide the emotional and spiritual value Obama supporters have gotten used to.
 
There has been no successful model of Government 2.0 because the nature of the state prevents it from making the switch. We elect politicians to craft laws and the bureaucracy carries those laws out with an even hand. Experiments like faith-based initiatives demonstrated the difficulty of empowering individuals to act in the name of the government because governments have to follow a lot of very strict rules. Bringing people-power of the sort mentioned in points 2 and 3 of my original post into government is simply not possible.
 
Obama ran a campaign rooted in brand experience marketing which ran heavily on the emotional and even spiritual aspects of the product he was trying to sell. Read this if you are unfamiliar with the concept. The campaign allowed people to take direct action to change their communities on a local level and probably brought neighbors together who had never known they had something in common. This counts as a spiritual experience, and in our commoditized, secularizing culture it is marketing gold. They provided this during the campaign, but for the reasons I’ve just described it just won’t work once he’s in office.
 
We’ll see what happens as Change.gov grows, and I’ll expect we’ll see some surprises. I am not writing this to trash the Obama effort, but to point out how Web 2.0 and postmodern consumer demands are fundamentally unable to mesh with an ideological stance focused entirely on government solutions. Take a look at Daniel Pink's book, A Whole New Mind, for more information on what I mean by 'postmodern consumer demands'. It's not just fuzzy B.S, and the Obama campaign is right on the money in meeting those demands.
 
There is an opening for the Right to create a new paradigm for how individuals relate to society and government, taking these new demands into account. As these tools grow, we will be able to address more and more problems without the need of government and provide a powerful argument for replacing Leviathan. A new website is not the answer, and we may not be in a position as a society to really mobilize people for non-governmental action for years, but we will eventually, and then it will be the Right which is positioned to finally provide a freedom-based Society 2.0.

 

Elections is not governing

I took a look at the MyBO site and their tutorial.  The site itself is not based around a movement or an idea, it's based around a person, who will either deliver what his followers want or he won't.  It's quite vague what he's all about besides 'change'. 

 

The community tools are all geared towards one goal: electing Obama.  Now that Obama is elected, he might be trying to change course and turn this into personal involvement in government.  There are many conservative and liberal blogs which spend (or waste) a lot of time and energy on discussions of possible policy.  I don't really follow on how you can turn this into street level activism.  In fact, if Obama is basing this on his experience as a community organizer, he should be aware that a community organizer only organizes his community to stand up for their 'rights' (or whatever they can get from the authorities).  Now Obama is the authority.  If all the different communities get organized and demand their rights, what will that give him?  Besides which, a President should be doing what is good for the country, not what might be most popular at the time.

Why do we seem to be trying to copy them?

I'm very concerned that the gist of this post seems to be that we should learn from "the other side."  Don't we have enough smart, web-savvy people on "our side" to put together a web site that will help us recover from this setback?  There are great conservative sites and bloggers who could get together and set this up, and probably do a better job.  How do we get them involved?

Copying their tactics, not their ideas

I don't think that there is anything wrong with learning from the tactics that the Democratic Party used during the past two electoral cycles.  There is much to learn.  I would suggest picking up Kos' books (from a library, if you can.  no need to give him the royalties) ... there is much to learn about rebuilding the party from what the netroots did.  

I'm not saying we should mimic them exactly, but we need to understand how what they did worked, and build from that.  After all, in many ways they learned from us, starting with Barry Goldwater's campaign in 1964.  

You miss the real issue.

The real issue is control. Everybody now knows the Internet is a very powerful tool when correctly applied within the political arena.   But just like any powerful tool, it must be controlled or it can cause just as much harm as it can good. So the questions become: Can this powerful tool be controlled once it has been created, and;  Who will control it once it has been created?

I believe the Internet can be controlled. But as to who should control it? I believe only the membership should have the authority to control it and not the leadership -- and there in lies the real problem we are presently facing with the Internet, politics and the Party.

ex animo

davidfarrar

 

Tactics, not principles

We do need to learn from the other side, because they managed to sell a left-wing radical to a center-right country. Some of the things they did worked really well, and their local, devolved organization was one of them.

Quite frankly, I am embarassed that a big government liberal was able to create a campaign organization that put more power in the hands of citizens and focused on neighborhood level politics. This is what we've been preaching for years- devolved, local decision-making that unleashes the spirit of individual enterprise.

However, on a fundamental level, we don't need to copy them, because fundamentally they are copying from us. Citizen power means shifting power from government to the people. We can take their big-government operation in people-powered clothing and do a much, much better job and make a larger impact. I would be designing the system myself if I had the ability, and I would be happy to contribute in any way I can if we can get the tech folks together.

Take a look at Patrick's post about RebuildtheParty.com. Though I think we could do more to build non-governmental capacity for addressing social problems outside of the GOP, it is a start.

Our (GOP retooling) challenge is on multiple levels

We have to look at tactics and campaign strategy, and emulating/studying the successful Obama campaign is must-do action. But our challenges are on multiple levels and retooling campaign tactics wont be enough.

Here's my 4 levels of issues we have to address:

http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2008/11/post-election-huddle-what-happ...

  1. The nuts-and-bolts election-level. What did the Democrats do better in candidates, campaigns, technology, outreach, organization, GOTV, messaging etc. in appealing to voters and getting them to the polls? What should we emulate or not?
  2. The challenge in the immediate political future of how to leverage what little influence the conservative and Republican side has, and how to defeat the threats they will pose to freedom. How to "Stop Obama's Socialism" as I put it, eg, stopping the "Fairness Doctrine".
  3. The challenge of rebuilding the Republican party, improving the brand, and getting ready for the next election cycles. How do we fix what's wrong with the party?
  4. The challenge to the conservative movement and to conservatives in the grassroots, in the media, in the think tanks. We will have to rethink - what part of the agenda is still viable? We even have contenders for redefining what consevatism is, as well as the Reagan stalwarts who want the tried and true formula.

#1 and #3 thoughts go to:

http://ideas.rebuildtheparty.com/

#4 thoughts:

http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2008/11/republican-core-values.html

You forgot #4

4.  Do not allow any dissenting points of view.  (If you want to follow the Obama website model.)

 

In fairness, it's hard to get anything done when you spend half the time arguing with the opposition - they know this, which is why they're here. 

Are we here at TNR to debate with the Democrats, or to organize and inspire action among the Right?  I'm asking this with all sincerity.

Mob rule

There is a grave danger in all this community organizing. In the end, whether digital or by conventional means, the net result is mob rule. And the more organized it is, the more danger there is it will be used against those not participating in it.It will certainly do nothing to feed the state, grassroots up. This is a myth to justify it. One commentator is right: whoever controls this vast Action Wire army, is the big cheese.

You forgot #4 new Submitted

You forgot #4 new

4.  Do not allow any dissenting points of view.  (If you want to follow the Obama website model.)

 

In fairness, it's hard to get anything done when you spend half the time arguing with the opposition - they know this, which is why they're here. 

Are we here at TNR to debate with the Democrats, or to organize and inspire action among the Right?  I'm asking this with all sincerity.

AMEN, brother! We need to flush the trolls/mobys out.

I kind of like the trolls

They get my dander up and get us to practice/ explore the memes.

The add humor in their vain attempts to pretend to be conservatives;  they come off like a transvetite trying his best to pass for female.

They remind me why I care about politics: To stop the idiocies of the leftists and liberals.

If the government was safely run by center-right lockean Constitution-following freedom-loving small government conservatives, I'd probably go ... "Oh, things are okay there, I'll go back to living my life and ignore politics." ... John Adams quote about practicing politics so his children could practice something else seems apropos.

I am here because they are out there. Now ... if we could only convert them to the truth, justice, and the way of American liberty, we'd be all set.

Right-wing websites are generally a lot more free-range than left-leaning ones. It would be good to keep it that way.

 

 

 

Clear eyes

>the federal government idealized by the Left as the solution to every problem

This epitomizes the self-delusion that has resulted in the present Republican debacle.

See Austan Goolsbee (for those who don't follow things, one of Obama's top economic advisers) ridiculing governmment solutions as compared to free-market solutions--and winning:

http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/market-movers/2008/09/02/goolsbee-1-0-salmon

Know your enemy--especially if he's...not actually your enemy.

Swatting at straw men and purportedly "red" herrings may be emotionally satisfying, but it's not putting country first.

Focus vs Discussion

My.barackobama was focused - it had one goal 'elect Barack Obama'. 

Trying to get even new web 2.0 tools to do things like 'facilitate good govenment' when we all can't agree on what good government really is - is very difficult. 

Change.gov will fail because it can't be focused there are too many competeing interests.  Again going back to the Masachusetts example, the people that used it most were distractors of Deval Patrick - Republicans organized and made the rollback of the income tax to a lower rate of 5% the number one policy goal for the administration.  Obviously Deval Patrick didn't listen or care to do any of the conservative ideas because it was just a publicity stunt to try and prove that he was listening to the concerns of the people. 

Change.gov is a wonderful idea if you believe that what Obama actually said during the campaign - translates to how he will actually Govern.  If you really think that he cares about unifying the country - listening to people - working with Republicans - then you are a political neophyte.  See those were election ideas... governing ideas will come from Mr. Divisive COS Rahm Emanuel. 

There will be no 'post-modern' shift in the way Americans interact with Government.  Not because I don't think the technology is neat - but because it leaves many unsatisfied.  Why should anyone settle with sending an email to their congressman - dang it - he owes me a phone call. 

Online voting on policy issues for the President of the United State is a stupid idea.  It'll be as accurate and as meaningful as any online poll.  Ron Paul's ideas will win.  It's like saying we need an American Idol President instead of a leader. 

Change.gov will fail because it is not focused. 

Well said

You captured the core of their problem in this quote:

There will be no 'post-modern' shift in the way Americans interact with Government.  Not because I don't think the technology is neat - but because it leaves many unsatisfied.

When I make phone calls or precinct walks as part of campaign, I feel like I am actively making a difference. When I volunteer with Habitat or set up a Thanksgiving food drive at work, I feel like I am actively making a difference. When I am asked to submit ideas to Change.gov or forums dominated by Ron Paul folks, I know any effort I make will be drowned out by the noise or ignored. Government 2.0 attempts I've seen elsewhere end up leaving me unsatisfied. Maybe I'm the only one that feels that way, but it doesn't look like it.

The left has spoken - Change.gov is a failure

http://www.bluemassgroup.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=DCF0B2FEAEA5AEC132D...

Leftie blogs are now reporting that change.gov is a big old failure...