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.

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Comments on “President Obama Still Missing The Point: Include The Public In The Process, Not Just The Selling”

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Mike (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

jonny_q says:

Re: 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.

GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

The difference between Regan and Obama...

Trust, then verify.

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.


Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Carla Hein (profile) says:


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.

Big Mook (profile) says:

Re: 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

Weird Harold (user link) says:

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.

Al-Anon says:

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?

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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?

Big Mook (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 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.


Al-Anon says:

“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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