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President Obama Still Missing The Point: Include The Public In The Process, Not Just The Selling

from the the-difference-between-transparency-and-outreach dept

The new Obama administration was supposed to represent a revolution in participation and transparency -- and while there have been some moves in that direction, there's plenty that's troubling, such as its recent decision to declare negotiations on an intellectual property treaty a state secret. However, more troubling is this fundamental disconnect between what the administration seems to think "participation" in the process means -- and what it really should mean. Rather than actually having people participate, it seems the administration is a lot more focused on having people sell.

That's not the same.

We saw it in the stimulus plan -- which was written by the same political insiders, and then the various email lists and social network connections were used to try to get the public to support the bill -- and now we're seeing the same thing with the budget. Apparently, the DNC is putting on a big push to use the 13-million emails collected during the campaign to help urge passage of Obama's budget, with David Plouffe claiming this is "the first major engagement" of that public list in the legislative process.

But that's the problem. This is a bit late to be engaging everyone. The budget's already been written. Shouldn't participation included more openness earlier in the process and more of a real way to participate to get these people to actually buy into a budget that they had input on? But that's not what we're getting. We're getting the same stuff, handed down from on high by the same political operatives, and being told that the people's "participation" is to help this budget get passed.

I would imagine people would be a lot more excited about doing that if they'd actually been asked to help out in the process. I'm glad that the administration is trying to reach out to people more, but so far it's doing so in a very fake way. It's not getting people to really participate in the process at all. It's just looking at them as a way to help sell. That's not the same.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 10:23am

    Apparently President Hoover is discovering change is hard...

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    anony, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 10:34am

    "I would imagine people would be a lot more excited about doing that if they'd actually been asked to help out in the process." I don't know what you have in mind here, but this seems kind of pragmatically absurd. Do you really want every 6pack volunteering his/her opinion of where the budget should go? Or better yet, these people?

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 10:35am

    How?

    I recently saw the interview of wired editor on CNN about receiving public feedback on governance. He raised many issues including how spam-removing in "comments" section amounts to restriction of freedom of speech.

    I guess obama administrations has not figured out how to receive public feedback yet.

     

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  4.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 17th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    I don't know what you have in mind here, but this seems kind of pragmatically absurd. Do you really want every 6pack volunteering his/her opinion of where the budget should go? Or better yet, these people?

    No one said that they should have *control* over where the budget goes. But we should allow the people to have input. You could certainly set up a system that allows the good ideas to bubble to the top, and will quickly filter out the trollish/dumb ideas.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re:

    Even easier would be to have top down ideas turn into online polls that include demographic information for Obama can get a sense of what people actually want.

    Just have people set up a profile on a .gov website and they can recieve emails about polls as they open. The profile can include age, ethnicity, address (just zip code would be ideal), income levels, profession, political and religious affiliation. Then Obama and the nation can get a picture of what is going on in people's minds.

     

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  6.  
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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Mar 17th, 2009 @ 10:51am

    The difference between Regan and Obama...

    Regan:
    Trust, then verify.

    Obama:
    Trust Me.
    Ooops...Trust me again.
    Ooops...Trust me again.
    Ooops...Trust me again.
    Ooops...Trust me again.
    Hey Rham, what are the focus groups saying this morning?
    Ooops...Trust me again.
    Ooops...Trust me again.
    Ooops...Trust me again.
    Ooops...Trust me again.

    Suckers.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    jonny_q, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why should an "online poll" influence policy? Why should demographic information matter? Does my opinion count more or less based on my age, ethnicity or address?

    No, we don't need to "poll" ideas. We need to solicit ideas and let the best ideas bubble to the top based on consensus.

    Allowing input and feedback doesn't mean polling everything. Day to day policy should not be based on day to day public opinion, but there's still plenty of room for input and feedback.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Come on... Who still believes Obama is any thing other than a spokesman for our corporate overlords?

     

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  9.  
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    Mrs. Geek, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 11:06am

    RE: Obama vs. Regan

    Classic... look for it to spread via viral emails because I'm starting the thread.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 11:23am

    Using the DNC email list to get ideas out there - awesome. Use the DNC email list to solicit ideas? No. The email list is composed of Democrats (myself included). The only ideas you're going to get are ones that are already Democratic (party affiliation) in nature. That's the reason the ideas for the budget don't and shouldn't come from the email list.

     

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  11.  
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    billsok, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 11:26am

    The overlying mistake made throughout the entire election process which has spread into his term is that big government cares. (I'm not talking partisan, I'm talking in general)

     

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  12.  
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    Analyst (profile), Mar 17th, 2009 @ 11:30am

    Best Ideas vs. Consensus

    "We need to solicit ideas and let the best ideas bubble to the top based on consensus."

    As wonderful as that sounds, I seriously doubt "consensus" would result in the adoption of "best ideas". After all, we as a nation decide ours leaders according to "consensus", and look where that got us.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 11:45am

    Re: The difference between Regan and Obama...

    You hit the Nigail on the Head

     

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  14.  
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    Valkor, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 11:54am

    Re: Best Ideas vs. Consensus

    That's true, but nations where the leaders choose themselves don't seem to do so well either...

    The best government is merely the least of all possible evils.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Roger, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 11:59am

    That's why we call them "elected officials." It is impractical to have citizens involved with developing policies, budgets, legislation, as some commentators have stated or implied. Write, email or call your reps ad even the White House. You may be surprised to actually get a response.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    Re:

    I'd rather see those people put in input than the likes of ACORN. At least the klan is up front about what their motives are. ACORN uses lies and subterfuge to cram anti-American, pro-socialism crap onto the uninformed.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Carla Hein, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    TRUST GOOGLE---DON'T TRUST CONGRESS

    Trust Google. Don't trust bankers, don't trust K street lobbyists and fergawdsake don't trust Congress with money! US government doesn't need reform---it needs re-wiring.

    Google's server farms load-balance binary ones and zeros at 3.5 trillion bits per second and can accurately track deposit/withdrawals. Its so simple it can't possibly go wrong. Let's rewire and audit the US Treasury and find out where our money has gone. We need Truth in Banking. If we have multi-trillions of dollars hiding out in offshore banks ready for the New World Order cartel to cause a depression just to buy up American industries dime-on-the-dollar. If we re-wire in time we can use high-speed, high-volume interactive search engine technology to ward off a disaster.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Adam_v1, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 12:11pm

    Politician: You can trust us, we are being TRANSPARENT in everything we do.

    Citizen: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 12:17pm

    This is utter BS, Obama has publically said he wanted advice if anyone has criticisms of his plans. He does include the public, if you care enough - make your voice heard.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 12:25pm

    Re:

    Uhh Ohh -- Obama (Mesiah) fanboy had to :'(

     

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  21.  
    icon
    Big Mook (profile), Mar 17th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    Re:

    Campaign: I will not employ lobbyists in my administration.
    Now: I will employ lobbyists, lots of them. I only promised that to get elected.

    Campaign: I will not sign any legislation until it's had 5 days of public review.
    Now: Sorry about signing all of these things with no review, I only made that promise to get elected.

    Campaign: I will use a scalpel to remove all earmarks from any spending bills.
    Now: You know the drill. I only said that to get elected.

    Hail Xenu and the Lord Almighty Obambi (praise be unto Him)!

    Big Mook

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    The real problem is that Obama isn't giving the anti-copyright people the chance to drag their large unruly mob of shoplifters into the discussion. You can see some of the posts here (usually anonymous) that basically say "steal everything that can be digitized". That isn't a really good place to start a discussion.

    In the end, Obama is being defensive and appears to be hiding something, but I suspect the results would be better than allow the same people that vote for the American Idol get involved in the process.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Al-Anon, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 12:50pm

    I'm laughing my ass off at the people on this board (and others) who were SO in LOVE with "The One". So kiddies, brace yourselves for the time when the "denial" stage of your love affair comes to an end. Then comes "anger," if memory serves.

    In the end, I wonder how many of you adulators of the Great American Communist will admit you voted for this charismatic, no talent ass-clown?

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    It comes right after they admit to electing and then re-electing the previous no talent ass clown.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re:

    You mean William Clinton?

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Al-Anon, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 1:16pm

    "It comes right after they admit to electing and then re-electing the previous no talent ass clown."

    Right Weird...we would have been better off with John Kerry, Al "Global Moron" Gore, or another 4-8 of "President Blow Job" (aka the guy that actually got us into this mess) I suppose? I voted for W. - twice. Was he perfect? Hardly, but I'd take him for another four over the Marxist tyrant that now holds the office. But hey, props to you for your politically-correct, "see I'm not a racist, I'm progressive" vote. You must be SO proud!

    It was just a matter of time (2-3 seconds) before the tin-foil-hat "Bush is a Nazi" crowd kicked in with their sorry ass refrain. Get over it Weird. The issue at hand is...now that you have your smooth talking Red Diaper Doper Baby dreamboy in power, what will HE do? Still laughing...

     

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  27.  
    icon
    Big Mook (profile), Mar 17th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hey, you can't say slick Willie had no talent. He was pretty good at inserting cigars and his joint into the various orifices of a certain chubby intern.

    So, Harold, you don't like Bush and you don't like Obama. Just who does it for the weird one?

    BM

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 1:18pm

    Re:

    Obviously, all the people that voted for the puppet. It's sad how the masses are so easily swayed by someone who can give a speech. It's even sadder when he does the exact opposite of everything he said to get elected and people still think he's the freak'in messiah.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 1:22pm

    Re:

    There is no right or left. The same people pulling W's strings are now pulling Obama's strings. You cannot stop them because you don't even know them. All your hate is focused on the scapegoat/president when the real criminals remain in power.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 1:40pm

    "The real truth of the matter is...that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson..."
    —Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I am not a fan of trickle down (aka voodoo) economics. So there hasn't been anything republican in the last 30 years that does much for me.

    American politics has turned into a battle between tax and spend liberals (BOO!) and give back tax money to the rich and spend anyway conservatives (double boo!).

    is there a third choice?

     

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  32.  
    icon
    Big Mook (profile), Mar 17th, 2009 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think you've got it wrong. I say I know best how to spend the money I earn, and the government should get out of the way as much as possible. That's capitalism, and although it makes some people filthy rich, it's fair because gains are limited only by how hard you want to work.

    To paraphrase Churchill, capitalism guarantees unequal sharing of wealth, but socialism guarantees equal sharing of misery. I'll take capitalism, thanks very much. If that's voodoo, then please pass the chicken bones.

    BM

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 2:47pm

    Obama should be the "Gold Standard" of transparency

    And provide a standard which other executives should follow. But something really changed when Rahm Emmanuel was appointed. I believe he is calling most of the shots.

    I was utterly disgusted when Obama named him Chief of Staff.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

    Chicago Politicians Love the Talkshow Circuit!

    So, which late-night talkshow do you think Rahm will put Obama on next?

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 8:49pm

    Re:

    "This is utter BS, Obama has publically said he wanted advice if anyone has criticisms of his plans. He does include the public, if you care enough - make your voice heard."

    Just continue to believe the words that come out of the Obama Teleprompter and see where it gets you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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