In another exceptional move to open up the dialog between Government and the governed, President Obama will directly answer questions posed online at the “Open for Questions” website.
Wow, I just played around with this asking and grading some questions – it’s a fantastic application with easy registration, forced short questions, and an easy “thumbs up or down” on other’s questions. This allows the participants to determine the top questions which is a fantastic way to involved the public using social media. Obviously the users are more likely to be Obama supporters due to demographics and avoidance of White House projects by Obama critics but this is light-years ahead of the kind of interactions we’ve seen in the past.
This approach combines with town meetings and frequent press conferences to keep President Obama in touch with the public in a way no President has ever done, and I really think he deserves very high praise for this level of interaction. This isn’t necessarily transparency though so the caveat is that these PR efforst must be supported over time with the data-rich information on budgets and decisions about spending, the economy, defense, and more. Still, this makes sure that President Obama President, unlike President Bush before him, will at the very least have a clearer understanding of the concerns and values of the American public.
When you want to separate bad from good policy and approaches in many cases you just need to ask “What would the Founders have done?”. Opening up questions to the President from all Americans and allowing them to vote on the best ones? The founders would have loved it!
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