The long awaited MyBO and Change.gov mojo is back on WhiteHouse.gov. Tomorrow, President Obama will be responding to questions posed through the latest iteration of Open for Questions, a community-moderated style townhall.
With a little organizing, this is an opportunity for Republicans to vote up questions that hold Obama accountable for ballooning the national debt to $20 trillion by 2019. And this time, many already have. Based on my rough sampling, about a third of the questions come from Obamabots, a third are from Republicans, and a third from marijuana legalization advocates.
Here are a few questions I screencapped just from 5 minutes perusing the random question generator:
Thanks to Katie Favazza and Sean Hackbarth who brought it to my attention, one of the most popular questions right now comes from Peter V. of Oregon, who asks:
I appreciate the efforts of the administration to fix the economy quickly. However, why aren’t you giving the American public the chance to review these bills? In your campaign, you promised we would have at least 5 days.
Indeed, the White House has brazenly walked back this transparency pledge, signing legislation hours after it was passed by both houses of Congress and blowing off the promised five-day cooling-off period. Had we had a real 5-day review period, an intrepid citizen would have had more time to uncover the AIG bonus provision before the bill was signed, potentially sparing us the current tedium.
Community moderation isn't perfect as the self-appointed moderators are more likely than not to be Obama supporters -- but dissenting questions are now appearing on the White House site, and there is a chance that with a little organizing they could be asked of Obama.
Now that we are in opposition, we need to hold the Administration's feet to the fire in demanding perpetually more web-enabled transparency (which, because of the nature of government, it will not always be able to give) -- and be ready to live by it ourselves.