Open-Sourcing the Oval Office

A campaign blog.
Nov. 16 2007 4:53 PM

Open-Sourcing the Oval Office

Barack Obama just won the anonymous blog commenter vote. Inhis tech plan ( PDF )released Wednesday, Obama pledged to give Americans "an opportunity to reviewand comment on the White House website for five days before signing anynon-emergency legislation." I can hardly wait for the comment war betweenObamaIsHott245 and BarackSux666.

The initiative is a small piece of a progressive Obama planthat open-Internetadvocates love . He wants to build digital literacy, outsource governmentproblems to expert citizens (open-source style), and beef up the nation’sbroadband infrastructure to compete globally. The White House message board,though, seems to be one of the most innovative pieces. It’s unclear whetherPresident Obama would ever sit down and read these things, but an Obamaspokesman told me it would emphasize that Americans have a digital seat aroundthe legislative table. I doubt Obama's reasoning behind vetoing legislation would be, "The Internet told me to."

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Obama’s spokesman didn’t have details, though, about how theWhite House would moderate these posts. Imagine if an elementary school kid issurfing the Web to do research on the executive branch. He heads over toWhiteHouse.gov to do some research and sees a message inviting him to, "TellPresident Obama what you think of the immigration legislation on his desk!" Godonly knows what he’ll see when he clicks on the link.

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