I wondered what the GOP would do when they ran out of dumb ideas. Turns out that isn't going to be a concern.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...d=opinionsbox1Republicans want to take over the House in the fall, but there's a problem: They don't have an agenda.
So on Tuesday, they set out to resolve that shortcoming. They announced that they would solicit suggestions on the Internet, then have members of the public give the ideas a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. Call it the "Dancing With the Stars" model of public policy.
Republicans were very pleased with their technological sophistication as they introduced the Web site, America Speaking Out a ceremony at the Newseum. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who created the program, said that to get software for the site, "I personally traveled to Washington state and discovered a Microsoft program that helped NASA map the moon."
Using lunar software is appropriate, because the early responses to the Republicans' request for ideas are pretty far out: ...
No spoilers. Read it for yourself.
I wondered what the GOP would do when they ran out of dumb ideas. Turns out that isn't going to be a concern.
Before you laugh too hard, remember that a significant portion of these suggestions weren't jokes, and those are actual real human people. I need some kind of picture that indicates that at first I was all LOL and then I was all "We're d0med!"
Yes how dare elected officials attempt to listen to the ideas of the voters, the road to destruction of a republic that is. This must be stopped at any cost!!!
Hahahaha this is awesome.We need to ensure that the Republicans never give us up, let us down, run around, or desert us.
This is obviously a washington post hit piece that is cherrypicking the nutjob responses to make fun of the Republican initiative. I think everyone reading this thread is Internet savvy enough to know that it's not at all unique to this Republican website, it's the kind of shit one gets anywhere on the internet. This is the same crap the comments section of my local newspaper's website gets every day.
The bottom line here is that political parties embracing modern technology to try and get more in tune with the rank and file members is a good thing. Using it as a pretext for LOLing at Republicans is pretty classless.
That thing about the dolphins is genius.
"Hey, yeah, so we don't really know what to do here so if you guys could tell us what the issues are that will get us the most votes, that'd be awesome. Just fill out the web form there and we'll be your willing puppets in congress if you vote us in. Thanks everyone!"
I can't imagine any excuse for laughing at Republicans being a bad thing at this point. But then I may be teh bias.
What a terrible idea. The whole point of running to represent the people (in theory if not practice) is that you put forth your views and let people express theirs by electing you (or not). Party policy positions aren't supposed to be customizable based on a Web 2.0 framework!
Edit: After reading more about this, I want to scale back my above comments. It's always good to have politicians keeping an ear open to their constituents even if they disagree. My home state of Maine is a moderate state with two Republican Senators. But I've called both of the senators before on certain issues and talked to very friendly staffers who have made note of what I had to say. And in a couple of those cases, Snowe and/or Collins have listened to me and other constituents who don't share their party and altered their positions. So I shouldn't begrudge Republicans for seeking feedback. That said, this kind of thing is at risk of becoming an echo chamber. But yeah, that WP article is pretty biased.
Last edited by Cosmic Hippo; 05-26-2010 at 10:13 AM.
I can't think of many worse ways to pick public policy than this - perhaps cutting words out of a dictionary and rearranging them at random might do it. I would add 'just saying no to whatever the other side says' too but as I recall they've already tried that.
Being more in touch with your rank and file is certainly a good thing but this is the worst way possible of achieving that.
That's precious!The Web site not only "has cutting-edge technology," asserted Rep. Peter Roskam (Ill.), "but a winsome design that is easy for people to interact with."
Lest you think Republicans are just discovering the Internet, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) let it be known that "House Republicans have tweeted five times as many as the House Democrats. Leader Boehner has almost five times as many Facebook fans as Speaker Pelosi." Boehner grinned and gave a double thumbs-up.
I think it's a step in the right direction. Whether it's stupid people or not, having to write and articulate their ideas forces more meaningful discussion than those town halls do. And polls don't really help. I'd say this is more useful for the population than it is the politicians - our country isn't going to get any smarter and informed by not participating in political dialogue. Would it be awful for them to listen to say, the opinions of this forum? I don't consider these politicians the sharpest tools in the shed that do what's best for us, so I'm not willing to put them above everyone on the internet. Yea, you're going to get stupid ideas, but you're going to get those regardless.
I don't want to elect a politician that changes his views based on what the public believes. In other words, I'm not a fan of populists. I am though in favor of greater dialogue between politicians and citizens, and of the increased role of technology in allowing people to communicate.
I hope the Colbert Nation can take advantage of this.
I agree with Brian Seiler entirely. We elect people to make informed decisions for us. Unfortunately not all elected officials are capable of doing this (Michelle Bachmann) and occasionally the masses will actually have a good idea (I can't think of one right now but I'm sure they are out there; no sarcasm meant). Republicans follow the rich and powerful and I doubt if Steve Ballmer or any other CEO of a Fortune 500 company will be completing this form, so I'm not getting the motivation to do this. Republicans have not been a 'people's' party during any time in my lifetime so I don't understand why they would try to be one now. I guess they are really trying to find more fodder to justify their following of the Tea Party'ers but whatever.
Colbert's on vacation as is Stewart. Man, they have lousy timing as usual.
There is no possible way to elect someone that we know what they will do for every possible situation that confronts them. The point of representative democracy isn't just to set it and forget it and hope that their campaign was able to represent every conceivable position they will take, but more so that we don't have to have a referendum for every single issue - it's out of convenience, not this idea we elect superior barons and lords that know better than us that will act as our keepers. Political participation is important - the more of it, the less really really really stupid people will be, and move to just really really stupid or really stupid.
Why are we all posting on a political forum? What's the point? Intellectual stimulation, having to articulate and revise ideas? Just a random, arbitrary decision? Why would anyone reply to this post of mine now? There are reasons we do things, and we need political ideas to undergo scrutiny from every angle. Political discussion is better than its opposite - the lack of discussion.
That's what I figure they're doing too, but hey, if the Democrats tried this I'd think it was kind of silly but I'd still be interested to see it given a chance. I'll reserve judgment for the Repubs as well even though I expect it to turn into a giant bullshit machine.Originally Posted by Lorini
I agree that politicians should never, ever tailor their positions to something like this. I see this more as having the potential to be a.... sort of Web 2.0 version of calling/writing congress. Right now, you do that and if your thoughts are well written, they might get passed to your Congresscritter, but probably go with the rest into a big compiled report where they look for the frequency of keywords that constituents want to talk about and their positions on them. This seems to me to be adding the Internet into that same model - if you can upvote other people's comments, then the ones that resonate (by popular opinion or eloquence) with the others will have a good chance of actually being read by a politician. And who knows, maybe a couple of those will even have a good idea or two.
Or maybe it will turn into a frothing-at-the-mouth rage fest where people demand we eliminate the Department of Education and Secede from the UN. But hey, they're trying. Or at least pretending to.
Even if it's just a place to let their constituents blow off steam while giving the impression that they are listening, it's not like we have such a shortage of Republican gaffes that we have to act like this is a bad thing.
I wanted to speak out, but I got this error message:
I GOT PWNED!!!111!!! I guess I'll have to just keep yelling my awesome ideas at my dogs.A very high volume of Americans are speaking out right now.
Please wait a moment and try again.
Slightly more developed answer:
Populism is a terrible platform for serious politicians to take. I don't want you to ask me what I think, I'd rather know what you think so that I can make an informed choice as to who is likely to better represent me. There's a reason that no Western nation has an Athenian democracy. If I have a strong opinion on something I'll let you know about it and if your team are any good at gathering feedback then they'll be picking that up anyway. I've been a professional community manager for many years and so I know a little about collecting and parsing feedback from a variety of sources. There are many ways of soliciting feedback and many different sources to tap. Of all of them the one guaranteed to produce the worst results is to make a 'Hey guys, what do you think we should do?' post on the General forums - which is essentially what this is. I've had to do that (under duress) a few times and every time I've been able to show what a complete waste of time it was for everyone.
Engaging in public debate of policy is a good thing, this is not that thing.
IianC, do you assume politicians have absolutely nothing to gain from political dialogue with the public? Would you say all of us QT3ers don't have worthwhile opinions that could potentially influence a political decision maker if they cared to listen to it? I'd share my opinion with them if I sincerely believed they'd consider it - but I'm not that optimistic. Any change that has the possibility to move them to a point where they will consider a wider range of opinions, rather than what mere popularity dictates (election results, polls) is something better for the country, I'd argue.
What politicians do now is cater to populism - what people will vote for. They will do what is politically expedient in order to be re-elected. So by not pushing them out of that cycle, you'd actually be reinforcing populism, but in the worst way - the populace will be even more ignorant and less qualified to understand political dialogue (because they would be participating in it less), yet they're the ones that vote in the people that affect all of us. I fully believe political dialogue, especially on the internet where there's intelligent people to refute the crazies, is better than its absence, especially for the voter's own intellectual development. These politicians aren't geniuses, they have to make tough decisions, and the more exposure to various opinions, the better. They're big boys and girls, they can filter out the stupid ones.