Does President Obama's Google Hangout Represent A Milestone?
from the more-direct-democracy dept
That said, plenty of people were upset that the most highly voted video question, one on legalizing marijuana from a retired deputy police chief from LA, did not get asked. Of course, it actually came in second overall to a text question about SOPA -- which did get asked.
On that question, the President claimed that the administration had expressed its concerns about the bill to Congress since it was introduced. That's interesting, since the White House made no official statement until much later, and the stories we heard were that it hadn't really brought up issues with the bill to Congress until just a few weeks before that. Also of interest to folks around here was his reiteration of his support for a bill making its way through Congress to allow for crowdfunding of startups (currently impossible due to SEC regulations) -- and his statement (as he's noted before) that job growth today comes from startups and entrepreneurs. This was a key point that many of us tried to make during the SOPA debates, considering the bill would add liability and compliance costs on those very startups that were creating all of the net job growth in the country today.
On the whole, it didn't seem like this particular use of technology was a complete breakthrough -- and we've seen elected officials in Congress doing similar things for years. But I do think it's a good thing to see elected officials -- all the way up to the President -- making better use of technology to actually connect with constituents, rather than just hearing from people within a limited advisory circle. Hopefully we see continued experimentation like this. Of course, if President Obama did a Reddit AMA (as suggested by Kashmir Hill), it might break the internet...