Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The interactive President

At Obama's transition website, they've closed the first round of open questions and answered a few. He's for stem cell research and against legalizing marijuana, among other things, but I thought this response was the most interesting.
Q: "What will you do to establish transparency and safeguards against waste with the rest of the Wall Street bailout money?" Diane, New Jersey

A: President-elect Barack Obama does not believe an economic crisis is an excuse for wasteful and unnecessary spending. As our economic teams works with congressional leadership to put together a plan, we will put in place reforms to ensure that your money in invested well. We will also bring Americans back into government by amending executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public. In addition all appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies will be required to conduct the significant business of the agency in public so that every citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet these debates.
I hope this comes to fruition. It would be nice to have public business conducted in public again. Meanwhile, Ben Smith is having some trouble concealing his contempt for the process.
The transition responds to some of the top questions on its "Open for Questions" site, not making a lot of news -- you could have found those answers with Google -- but concluding the first round of an interesting experiment in what's likely to be vastly expanded online engagement across the federal government.
One imagines, it would be making plenty of news on Ben's blog if Obama had jumped on Ben's pet issue -- Blago. In any event, they're shutting down the format temporarily, one assumes so they can work out the kinks in the rating system that so offended Mr. Smith and some of his colleagues in the elite media by failing to validate their priorites.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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