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The Coming Digital Presidency 464

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the your-vote-counts-as-much-as-they-want-it-to dept.
Ranjit Mathoda writes "Marc Andreeson, the cofounder of Netscape, met Senator Barack Obama in early 2007. Mr. Andreeson recalls, "In particular, the Senator was personally interested in the rise of social networking, Facebook, Youtube, and user-generated content, and casually but persistently grilled us on what we thought the next generation of social media would be and how social networking might affect politics — with no staff present, no prepared materials, no notes. He already knew a fair amount about the topic but was very curious to actually learn more." As a social organizer and a lover of new technologies, Mr. Obama could be expected to make good use of such tools in getting elected, and he has done so. What may not be as obvious is that Mr. Obama appears to have a keen interest in using such technologies in the act of governing. And whether Mr. Obama becomes president, or Mrs. Clinton or Mr. McCain do, these new tools have the potential to transform how government operates."
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The Coming Digital Presidency

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  • by elrous0 (869638) *
    A bit presumptuous to assume that, with Democrats fighting like cats and dogs among themselves now, the "Coming Digital Presidency" won't actually feature a 72-year-old man who probably thinks YouTube is a new type of waterpark ride.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      I agree, it sure looks to me like McCain is going to be our next president. Obama's preacher is a racist, a white person voting for him would be like a black person voting for a white man whose preacher is a Klansman.

      Hillary is just plain unlilkeable, taking votes away, even Democrat votes. Most Republicans hate her (because of her husband, who IMO was a good President esp. in comparison to our present Oil Baron Traitor in Chief) and won't vote for her, and I for one don't like her because her husband gave
      • by reebmmm (939463) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:35AM (#22869092)
        Pretty silly to impute the remarks of another onto a candidate. Do we even need to look at the things the religious right has said that John McCain embraces? Remember back in the last election when McCain wanted nothing to do with them?
        • by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:40AM (#22869140) Homepage Journal
          I was thinking the exact same thing. The only problem is, what is everyone else's reaction?

          Personally I think nothing has changed. Almost everyone who liked Obama before they heard the preacher still likes him. And everyone who didn't like Obama before still don't like him. I doubt a huge segment of the population has changed their minds about any of the candidates.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ArcherB (796902)

            Personally I think nothing has changed. Almost everyone who liked Obama before they heard the preacher still likes him. And everyone who didn't like Obama before still don't like him. I doubt a huge segment of the population has changed their minds about any of the candidates.

            That maybe true, but it's the undecideds that the candidates are after, not those that have made up their minds. Sure, it's possible to make someone change their minds, but people are stubborn.

            Of course, that's all for the general election. Right now, the only ones really campaigning are going after "super delegates". In order to get them, each is trying to look more "electable" than the other. Because of this, little gaffes matter much more.

            • I changed my mind.

              I prefer McCain, but also thought if Obama became president I'd be happy with that. But then I learned Obama's been attending a "hate whites" church for the last 15 years, and now I'm not so sure. It would be like if I attended an all-white, segregated, anti-black church ever week for many years, and then claim I'm not racist. Even if I'm telling the truth, you can't hear those words week after week after week without some of it absorbing into your psyche.

              Now I'm putting my support behi
              • by flitty (981864) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @11:48AM (#22869968)
                Very interesting defense of Rev. Wright from Mike Huckabee

                "[Y]ou can't hold the candidate responsible for everything that people around him may say or do," Huckabee says. "It's interesting to me that there are some people on the left who are having to be very uncomfortable with what ... Wright said, when they all were all over a Jerry Falwell, or anyone on the right who said things that they found very awkward and uncomfortable, years ago. Many times those were statements lifted out of the context of a larger sermon. Sermons, after all, are rarely written word for word by pastors like Rev. Wright, who are delivering them extemporaneously, and caught up in the emotion of the moment. There are things that sometimes get said, that if you put them on paper and looked at them in print, you'd say 'Well, I didn't mean to say it quite like that.'" Later, he defended Wright's anger, too: "As easy as it is for those of us who are white to look back and say 'That's a terrible statement!' ... I grew up in a very segregated South. And I think that you have to cut some slack -- and I'm gonna be probably the only conservative in America who's gonna say something like this, but I'm just tellin' you -- we've gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names..."
              • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @12:00PM (#22870162) Homepage
                Even if it didn't absorb into your psyche, and you truly weren't racist, why would you continue to attend the church? It would be like not being racist, but attending the KKK meetings because you liked the way you looked in the uniform. I really don't see any reason for attending a church where you don't agree with their philosophies. Attending a church that tells you to hate whitey every week when you actually aren't racist wouldn't be all that enjoyable.
                • by ppanon (16583) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @01:14PM (#22871054) Homepage Journal
                  You mean like all the Catholics who are uncomfortable or downright unhappy with the Catholic church's stance on contraception (including condoms in AIDS-ridden Africa), homosexuality, and protecting child-molesting priests through many decades of the 20th Century? While I've known some who left the church, I have also known some who stayed despite their personal disagreements with church policy because they didn't want to leave the community of the church. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if there are a high proportion of people who were molested as children by Catholic priests who are still members of the church in spite of being molested, and yet who don't feel that doing so supports child molestation. Should Ted Kennedy or other Catholic congressmen be expected to support child molestation, abstinence-only STD prevention, and other stupidity because the head of the Catholic church has, either explicitly or tacitly, condoned the same?

                  The last two Popes' actions and words have been responsible for numerous deaths and broken lives, something that I doubt can be said for the Reverend Wright. Both have also been responsible for some good works.

                  I might be cognitive dissonance: you wind up ignoring the bad things about someone because they don't match up with the world view promoted by the good things, and you prefer to trust in the good things. Or it might be the crazy old uncle who becomes more intolerant over time who you vehemently disagree with but choose not to upset too much because he was good to you when you were younger. In the end you have to judge Obama by what he does and says rather than what one or two individuals around him say. Should Jesus be judged by Judas' actions?
                • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @02:58PM (#22872396)
                  Easy there, tiger. Have you read the actual sermons? The WHOLE kaboodle? I read a few of them. Including the ones from where the quotes were lifted that are supposed to show how racist and hateful and unpatriotic Wright is. While I found them to be sometimes strongly worded, and not something I'd agree with without reservation, they were also quite spot on in their commentary. Not to mention that the quotes, when surrounded by their context, really do not mean what some people tried to make them mean.

                  In short, the church didn't tell anyone to hate Whitey, and certainly not every week. Which means that there was really nothing to get so offended about you'd have to walk out. Not to mention that the Church is a good chunk of your community. You attend church to participate in your community. Switching church means switching community. It's just not as easy as a lot of people make it sound like.
              • by Choad Namath (907723) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @12:21PM (#22870434)

                But then I learned Obama's been attending a "hate whites" church for the last 15 years, and now I'm not so sure. It would be like if I attended an all-white, segregated, anti-black church ever week for many years, and then claim I'm not racist.
                Where is everyone getting the idea that this is a racist, anti-white church? I don't get the "America hating" accusations either, but at least there's a starting point (the "God damn America" statement). But honestly, what did Rev. Wright say that makes you think he hates white people? He said some pretty nutty things about AIDS, but nothing that said that black people are superior to white people, or that he hated white people. He complained about discrimination by white people, but that's hardly racist to say. Also, the church is not segregated, even if it's predominantly black. If we called every church where 90% of the people were of one race "segregated", then 95% of American churches would fit that definition.
                • Fuck. (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by yoyhed (651244) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @01:28PM (#22871242)
                  Exactly. The blowing up of this by the media, and the subsequent word-of-mouth, is fucking bullshit. I watched the entire sermon in which those things were said, and taken in context, it was a good message and, while maybe not family-friendly in language and content, was an appropriate underlying lesson to hear at a church. If I remember correctly, the right to speak out against (or even act against) unjust acts of the government was one of the founding principles of this country - this is all Rev. Wright was doing. I'm white, I'm American, and I have no problem with what he said - seriously, just go watch the whole sermon, it's on YouTube.

                  Just because an older black man who grew up having to sit at the back of the bus still has the mindset that America is racist against blacks (and yes, it still is, but obviously not like back then), and speaks his mind about it, he's racist against whites now? And because he condemns the acts of the Israeli government against Palestine he's an anti-semite? People need to do their research and stop listening to Rush Limbaugh (he actually has the audacity to call Wright a "racist, poison-spewing hate-monger" when he has to have seen the whole sermon.)

                  What the hell is wrong with people? They don't want a president who's willing to listen to the views of someone who thinks there's some problems with racism in America? They don't want a president who's willing to listen to the views of someone who's not totally happy with everything in America, and says something about it? Remember, he repudiated Wright's more abrasive comments, but in a show of good character, didn't abandon the man. And I believe one of the founding fathers said something to the effect of, "the greatest patriots of this country are those who are willing to question it." (I don't remember exact words or who it was, that's a paraphrase.)
                  • Re:Fuck. (Score:5, Insightful)

                    by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @01:49PM (#22871514) Journal
                    I think what it comes down to is that Wright went on the record saying that 9/11 was the result of America's actions around the world. That is the political third rail. You can't talk about what really caused 9/11. You can't talk about the root causes of terrorism. You have to toe the party line on that one and Obama can't associate himself with anyone who is saying that 9/11 is the result of bad American foreign policy.
                    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                      by UncleTogie (1004853) *

                      How do you propose to deal with the "inexperienced" card that will come up?

                      In a news mag I read on a flight recently {can't remember which one, THINK it was dated 'round Mar. 8th... hope another /.er can help here...} They had a graph showing the amount of experience every president since Washington had before taking the office of President. Check Lincoln, for example. As a freshman in Congress, popped off at the mouth and really pissed off his constituents. Felt he had to quit. Went back to law practice, ran for President as an underdog in 1860. Won. Bet you know the rest... [wikipedia.org]

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by cayenne8 (626475)
              "That maybe true, but it's the undecideds that the candidates are after, not those that have made up their minds. Sure, it's possible to make someone change their minds, but people are stubborn."

              I agree. Between Obama's preacher's racist remarks, and Hillary's dodging sniper fire, I think both Dem. presidential candidates have lost some of their potential undecided voters as well as some of the less liberal democratic voters. The gaffes, and bickering have really turned some people off.

              I have to think to

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by tjstork (137384)
          Pretty silly to impute the remarks of another onto a candidate.

          It is, but all's fair in love and politics. The Left tars the Right for years for associating with its round of the religious right. So, its entirely fair for the Right to hit the Left back on its associations with racist organizations. If Republicans are the party of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, as the left likes to say, then certainly, it is fair to paint Democrats as the Party of Louis Farrakhan and Reverend Wright.
          • by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @11:03AM (#22869390) Homepage Journal
            Not really. Robertson and Falwell seem to have a lot of sway with many high ranking Republicans. And they actively and successfully affect policy. Farrakhan and Wright have had little or no affect on policy. They also hold no influence within the Democratic party. At worst Wright might affect one Democrat, while the religious right affects the entire Republican party.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by tjstork (137384)
              Falwell

              Falwell doesn't hold sway with anyone right now, because he's dead. :-)
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              At worst Wright might affect one Democrat, while the religious right affects the entire Republican party.

              I agree with you, but when that one Democrat is the POTUS, it's sort of a bigger deal.

              I don't think Obama is racist, but when he compared his gradmother's occasional casual racism to a man who spews it every day and with clear design, I have to question his judgement. Does he really not understand the difference? I admit people sometimes have a blind spot with people they grew up with, but still...

              I have no idea who to vote for. Is Dave Barry running again?

        • by STrinity (723872)
          Any candidate who hangs out with loony-toons religious preachers loses my vote, I don't care what his party is.
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by kellyb9 (954229)

        Myself, I'll be voting either Green or Libertarian, depending on who's on the ballot in Illinois. Mine will be a protest vote against our Corporate-owned government.
        So essentially you'll be voting for McCain then? Good luck with that.
        • by OldeTimeGeek (725417) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:47AM (#22869214)
          No, he'll be voting for a Green or Libertarian candidate.

          I've been voting since 1976 and only rarely wanted the candidate that I voted for to win more than I've wanted the the competition to lose. In the last election Kerry didn't interest me at all, but I voted for him anyway because I liked Bush a whole lot less.

          Maybe it's time to vote for the candidate that we actually want. Only then will the third party candidates have a chance at winning.

          • by jandrese (485)

            third party candidates have a chance at winning.
            You are delusional.
            • Personally I'd like to see anyone desiring to be President to be required to dissociate him/herself from any party. Run on his own name alone. Independent.

              After all, the President is supposed to be swearing allegiance to the Constitution, not a party. His actions should follow his own moral code without any allegiance to anything except the Supreme Law he has sworn to protect and defend.

        • by Nursie (632944)
          "So essentially you'll be voting for McCain then? Good luck with that."

          Yes, because we all know that a vote for anyone except the two major partiews is a wasted vote and that if you don't vote for the lesser evil you're effectively voting for the greater...

          BULLSHIT. You've drunk so deeply of the two party Kool Aid you can't see a way out. Vote for what you actually want, vote for what actually represents you and maybe, just maybe, America can get away from the clutches of its bought and paid for political c
        • by STrinity (723872)
          This is a disingenuous argument put forth by people who want the corrupt two-party system to continue. You might as well argue that Democrats in Texas and Republicans in California should stay home on election day, since there's no chance whatsoever that their vote will make a difference in the election.

          People should vote for whomever they want, and if they think the major difference between the two parties is how they want to screw the country over, they shouldn't be mocked for choosing a third party.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by NobleSavage (582615)

            his is a disingenuous argument put forth by people who want the corrupt two-party system to continue
            If you want end the "currupt two-party system then you have to change our electoral system, in particular winner take all congressional seats. See Duverger's law [http] Until that changes, a vote for a 3rd party is a wasted vote.
      • Also, the idea that McCain can't understand the value of the Internet as a campaigning force because of his age is slightly patronising, and entirely add odds with what we know about the rise of the 'silver surfer'.
      • by jandrese (485)
        Man, people sure are quick to write off Obama after the preacher thing. Did you not listen to his speech on the matter? It was probably the most well thought out speech on race from a politician ever. Also, listening to his preacher in context (not just the out of context Youtube clips) is important if you want to get the full story.

        Also, people aren't judging McCain by his age, but by his stated dislike of computers. He still prefers handwritten memos to email for instance.

        Hillary would never get
      • by Cro Magnon (467622) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:58AM (#22869312) Homepage Journal

        I agree, it sure looks to me like McCain is going to be our next president. Obama's preacher is a racist, a white person voting for him would be like a black person voting for a white man whose preacher is a Klansman


        Agreed! There is no way in hell I would vote for Obama's preacher for President.
      • He's Not a Racist (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @11:22AM (#22869620) Homepage Journal
        Obama's preacher isn't a racist. He went too far with "God damn America" (in one speech), but what he said was "God damn America so long as it's killing innocent people all the time", which is actually what any decent preacher who believes in damnation (they're all supposed to) would have to say. Because that's what the religion says.

        There's absolutely no equation of Obama's preacher to a klansman. Klansmen are sick bastards joining a secret society with an unbroken tradition of universal hate (except for worshiping an imaginary idol of a White supremacy that almost ripped the country in half and destroyed it). Klansmen are murders, arsonists, rapists, and traitors, who demand the genocide and enslavement of the entire world, except a few people who look like them (but women are property).

        Obama's preacher is a guy who sometimes shouts about racial and social injustice, and demands... that America stop killing innocent people, stop persecuting the Black community, face the fact that Hillary Clinton isn't in touch with the hardest problems many Americans face because of their race. Sure, he can get jerky and obnxious about it, and even be wrong about some of the injustices - and even more wrong failing to admit how much persecution of American Blacks is perpetuated inside the Black community, not by "Whitey". But he's got a right to be wrong. Hell, he's a preacher - he stands up every week to insist people do things because an imaginary supernatural force says so - his whole gig is unprovable, so he's going to be wrong sometimes. But what does he demand we do about it? He demands that we are compassionate, that we take care of one another, that we're honest about how we hurt each other, and that we do better.

        Not what we reject from klansmen, even if we disagree with him, or offended by him.

        Meanwhile, George Bush has sent us to war in Iraq and against "Terror" by invoking his own crackpot Christian ideas of Israel's sacrificial role in the "Rapture". He claims "God" told him to invade Iraq. He's actually lying, stealing and killing people in Jesus' name. McCain has relentlessly sought the endorsement of some of the most sick "Christian" preachers in America. Like Jerry Falwell before Falwell just died, even though McCain had earlier rejected Falwell as a crazyman when Falwell was endorsing Bush against McCain. But after Falwell and Pat Robertson blamed "gays, feminists, abortionists, the ACLU" [youtube.com] for making "God" send us the 9/11/2001 attacks, McCain eagerly pursued their endorsements and kneeled at their feet. McCain went after endorsements [google.com] from "reverends" John Hagee [google.com] and Rod Parsley [google.com], who preach crazy "Left Behind" hatred of anyone not fitting their definition of "Christian" - like Catholics, whose church he says is a "whore", a direct agent of the devil. Hoping for those other people to burn alive in the streets, endorsing the widespread massacre of "sinners" by gangs of "Christians" trying to score their way into heaven when the Rapture leaves them behind for not having been sufficiently hateful in the "near-End Times". These people want global murder, actual apocalypse, and will pressure a president who listens to them to hand out nukes to maniacs in the Mideast to "bring it on".

        Even the popular Billy Graham, who's had the ear of every president since Nixon, is a racist and antisemit who used to laugh it up with Nixon (and surely the rest, but off-tape) about what to do about the "problem" with those non-WASPs.

        Clinton isn't much better, worshiping for years with "The Fellowship" (or "The Family") [google.com], a gender-segregated prayer group that's mostly secret, but includes some of
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Obama's preacher is a racist, a white person voting for him would be like a black person voting for a white man whose preacher is a Klansman.

        Actually, McCain's preacher said a lot worse stuff [youtube.com]. Obama's preacher's words were mostly taken out of context [theatlantic.com]. McCain may be able to spin a lot of fights, but I don't think that's one he wants to go near.

        Myself, I'll be voting either Green or Libertarian, depending on who's on the ballot in Illinois. Mine will be a protest vote against our Corporate-owned government. We, the people, have been left out of the loop for far too long.

        There stands to be between two and four supreme court justices retiring in the next presidency cycle. So, there stands to be either 2-4 new Democratic SCJs, or 2-4 new Republican SCJs. It could mean the reversal of Roe vs. Wade [huffingtonpost.com]*, among other things. Even if you are Green or Libertarian, it is in your best

    • by kellyb9 (954229)
      A bit presumptuous to think that anyone who is eligable to collect social security doesn't know how to use a computer??
  • Added bonus (Score:5, Funny)

    by minginqunt (225413) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:11AM (#22868870) Homepage Journal
    One nice effect of being a digital President: on the Internet, one rarely has to flee under sniper fire.
  • I really like the idea of a presidential candidate who is interested in technology and bright enough to find ways to apply it to reaching a goal. On the other hand, I really don't like the idea of whitehouse.gov becoming a government-run myspace which encourages people to give the government even more personal information about themselves. I guess my problem is that I find this an appealing characteristic in a candidate, but a scary characteristic in a President. How inconvenient.
  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:17AM (#22868900) Homepage
    Dugg for education and healthcare policy.
    Burried for tax hike

    Yes, I'm looking forward to digital democracy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:18AM (#22868910)
    prez2008 has thrown a hamburger at you! Do you wish to throw one back? [yes][no]
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:20AM (#22868926) Journal
    My initial thought (however cynical it may come across?) is: Is this really just another plea of "Hey general public, I'm Obama and unlike the other candidates, I'm hip and in-touch with the current generation! Vote for me!" ?

    The candidate I saw leveraging the power of the Internet the most, early in this election, was Ron Paul -- and it looked like most people just used it to smear the guy. EG. "Nobody but spammers and a few computer geeks with loud mouths care about him!"

    Yes, the future of politics has much to do with the Internet as a communications medium. Unfortunately, the majority of people using it as a "primary" source of information and content is the younger generation. Folks (like my parents and all of their friends) who are retirement age voters, by contrast, generally pay NO attention to a speech given over YouTube, or what a candidate posts on a FaceBook or MySpace page. And the 40-something and 50-something crowd? It's a "mixed bag" right now. Some are very "net-savvy", while a good percentage of others write it off as "the computer stuff my kids are into".

    I think you've got to let a few more election years come and go in this country before the MAJORITY of voters will really be "on-board" with the Internet as their information source, vs. traditional media like television, newspapers and radio.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by minginqunt (225413)
      The candidate I saw leveraging the power of the Internet the most, early in this election, was Ron Paul -- and it looked like most people just used it to smear the guy. EG. "Nobody but spammers and a few computer geeks with loud mouths care about him!"

      Ron Paul is a cautionary counterexample; It's all very well building up grassroots support on the Internet, but if your grassroots comprises a mishmash of troofers, stoppers, lunatics, antisemites, conspiracy theorists, naive libertarians, politically vacuous
      • So then it's not ok to build grassroots support on the Internet :)
      • by BobMcD (601576) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:41AM (#22869146)

        Ron Paul is a cautionary counterexample; It's all very well building up grassroots support on the Internet, but if your grassroots comprises a mishmash of troofers, stoppers, lunatics, antisemites, conspiracy theorists, naive libertarians, politically vacuous "fuck the system" types, and a spattering of basement-bound non-voting teenagers and various other subcultures and social outcasts entirely ill at ease with Middle America, then it's (as we kept trying to tell them) not going to be enough.
        Pardon me, but I really must call bullshit on this characterization. I realize that this impression of Ron Paul's support is what you were SUPPOSED to believe, but having been a part of the revolution first hand, I'm here to tell you that it's all a bunch of crap. You'd have exactly the same level of accuracy by saying that all of Obama's supporters are teenage muslim fundamentalist spear-chuckers.

        The truth is, the internet is simply far too easy to marginalize. THAT is the cautionary tale. To win in politics you need the support of CBS, Fox News, CNN, the New York Times, and the like. Forget YouTube. It may as well actually be a water slide for all the impact it actually has on anything - today.

        The political realm is still well in the hands of the digital immigrants. Perhaps in another iteration or two we'll get to see the impact of what those digital natives can do, but I some how doubt it. Until the mass-media can find a viable way of controlling the tubes, they will always be dissonant against its message. And frankly folks, Joe Sixpack still doesn't trust what he reads about online more than he does the idiot box.
        • And frankly folks, Joe Sixpack still doesn't trust what he reads about online more than he does the idiot box.

          Quite. People on the Internet != People. I guess that Ron Paul this year and Howard Dean four years ago forgot this. Obama, on the other hand, seems to have been able to square that circle, by tapping them up for squillions of dollars, whilst remembering that there's more to getting elected than being loud over my intertubes.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Smidge204 (605297)

          And frankly folks, Joe Sixpack still doesn't trust what he reads about online more than he does the idiot box.
          I don't know what planet you live on, but around here it seems people will believe damn near anything they see on TV if it gets repeated enough.

          =Smidge=
        • by sm62704 (957197)
          "spear-chuckers"? You do realise, don't you, that the term "spear-chucker" is about as offensively and insultingly racist as you can get? You might as well quote the GNAA troll!

          The political realm is still well in the hands of the digital immigrants

          What, pray tell, is a "digital immigrant?" Ok, never mind, I know how to use wikipedia, although unfortunately the term "digital immigrant" is slashdotted (504 gateway timeout). No matter, Google works too.

          The term is bullshit. I didn't grow up with computers, co [kuro5hin.org]
          • by BobMcD (601576)
            Pardon me while I step off of your lawn...

            You can disagree with the term if you'd like, but the norms basically follow the conclusion. People like my sons will be FAR MORE adaptive to new computer technology than my parents ever hoped to be. The same can likely be said comparing me to my grandparents. And while we're at it, I didn't just make this stuff up. Go slam the author, if you're so inclined, but this belief is fairly widely held.

            Your experience may differ, but since the terms 'digital native/imm
      • by RKBA (622932) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @11:51AM (#22870002)

        "Ron Paul is a cautionary counterexample; It's all very well building up grassroots support on the Internet, but if your grassroots comprises a mishmash of troofers, stoppers, lunatics, antisemites, conspiracy theorists, naive libertarians, politically vacuous "fuck the system" types, and a spattering of basement-bound non-voting teenagers and various other subcultures and social outcasts entirely ill at ease with Middle America, then it's (as we kept trying to tell them) not going to be enough."
        I'm a 62 year old retired computer programmer (although I've held many different job titles during my 40 year career) who has been married for many years. My wife and I changed our voter registration from Libertarian to Republican just so my wife and I could vote for Ron Paul. We also contributed a total of $4,600 to Dr. Paul's campaign, and we do NOT live in a basement. We've always paid cash for everything (including our home, cars, and everything else we own), and have no debts of any kind. Can you say the same?

        If anyone ever read the Constitution anymore, or even was knowledgeable about history (NOT the pseudo history that's taught in our government propaganda indoctrination camps - aka; public schools), all the crooks and CFR [wikipedia.org] shills (including Obama) that have committed treason against the United States Constitution and against "We The People" by trying to rule us instead of representing us, would have been hanged long ago. Unfortunately, ignorance of history and of the founding of our Republic, and even belief in religious fairy tales about gods and other superstitions all overwhelming predominate over reason, even here on SlashDot.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Omestes (471991)
          You are the type that gives libertarians a bad name. I don't think I'd want to be associated anyone publicly talking about hanging other people, and including vaugly conspiratorial allegations about a mere politcal organization (more a glorified think tank).

          I always fear people who think that they are 100% correct, and that everyone who disagrees with them are ignorant. Someone saying they are unequivocally right is generally a good sign of mental unbalance, and potentially violent fanaticism, and this re
    • I see the information flowing in the opposite direction. Instead of just the general public using the internet as a source, as they do today, it may be just as powerful for the government to use the internet to get information. And I don't mean googling for citizen information. I'm thinking forums and wikis where the public can propose bills. Or a social network of representatives linked to their constituents. Or a site where anyone can provide feedback to every proposed bill.

      If the government were to
    • by STrinity (723872)

      The candidate I saw leveraging the power of the Internet the most, early in this election, was Ron Paul -- and it looked like most people just used it to smear the guy. EG. "Nobody but spammers and a few computer geeks with loud mouths care about him!"
      And racists. Don't forget the racists.
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      My initial thought (however cynical it may come across?) is: Is this really just another plea of "Hey general public, I'm Obama and unlike the other candidates, I'm hip and in-touch with the current generation! Vote for me!" ?

      That would be a particularly dumb thing to do! Geezers show up to the polls in droves, whippersnappers stay home. If you're young (unfortunately for me I'm not) you can change that fact.
    • by weston (16146) * <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @05:06PM (#22874130) Homepage
      My initial thought (however cynical it may come across?) is: Is this really just another plea of "Hey general public, I'm Obama and unlike the other candidates, I'm hip and in-touch with the current generation! Vote for me!" ?

      If you're wondering whether Obama's enthusiasm for the Internet and technology goes beyond "hip and in touch", you might consult Lawrence Lessig's endorsement of him [lessig.org]. And after reading Obama's tech paper, I can't say I think any other candidate's compares even in showing awareness of issues.

      That said, the fact that I see the net strongly leveraged elsewhere -- including Paul's rather impressive campaign -- makes me *less* jaded about the increasing use of social networking. Nor do I think it's really surprising or affected: to some extent, all politics is (among other things) organizing. Real-world social networks were a huge part of politics before social networks came to the web, it's a completely natural fit now that's here. So to one degree or another, *everybody* is using it. I think part of the reason Paul stands out in his use is his unfortunate and somewhat unfair uphill battle in traditional media -- he really didn't have anywhere else to go.

      Now, I'd agree it sometimes seems Obama is using this tool more heavily and talking more about his use of tools than anyone else in the field other than Paul. But I think to the extent that's true, it's largely because up until the last 4 years of his political career, organizing has been a big part of what he does -- his start, for goodness sake, was as a community organizer [edwoj.com]. It really does appear he has a philosophy that includes bottom-up organization as a component of well-balanced politics. And what the social networking tools do that's new to politics is increase the reach and efficiency of that kind of organizing. They only marginally bolster the traditional political networks, but they're a huge boost at the grassroots level, especially the more you know about grassroots organizing.

      I also would agree that not all candidates are created equal on the tech-friendly front, however. In particular, McCain has some issues with not fighting the internet [oreillynet.com], and while Clinton might have some good progressive impulses regarding it, I don't trust her not to throw it under a bus if some other "expediency" arises.

      So while I'm sometimes a bit disappointed we didn't get a race like Obama vs Paul -- one that I think would have essentially signaled a real end to business as usual and a significant shift to digital politics -- I still think Obama stands out as an evolutionary step in the right direction, if not the Paul revolution.

      One other thing about a part of the premise of the post ("Hey general public, I'm Obama and unlike the other candidates, I'm hip and in-touch with the current generation! Vote for me!"). This isn't necessarily directed at the poster I'm responding to, but I'm noticing a high degree of frequency in attacks on Obama that are essentially "Sure he SEEMS great, but SEEMING isn't the same things as BEING great and we just don't know what's REALLY behind HIM!" To some extent, I don't blame people for thinking this way. We've been let down pretty severely by quite a bit of our political leadership recently. And it's hard to really know whether what you know about a candidate is image or fact.

      But I also think the time for this kind of talk about Obama is past. He's been in the spotlight for a while, there's plenty of material available about him and written by him to get genuinely familiar with the substance of his history and positions. I don't have a problem with people arguing about what they don't like about Obama's stated policies, or a vote he made in the past. But at this point, anybody bringing up this kind of "we don't KNOW" or "he's all STYLE and TALK" rehtoric isn't bringing up an insightful point, they're showing their own need to do homework. Or, in some cases, acting with ulterior motives.

  • "By the people".

    Before socializing over the internet I used to socialize with my peers: people like myself. Naturally, environment of study or my work was also environment for talking about politics and stuff that matters.

    In the beginning the user base of Internet was very close to that circle. With the rise of the internet the user base of it became more and more wide, including more or less all people. The society became reflected fully on the internet.

    Social networking site are business companies who are
  • Moderation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by symes (835608) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:27AM (#22869004) Journal
    A nice idea but to stop the inevitable trolling you're going to need some decent moderation. But then you'll probably get risk averse moderators taking down potentially inflammatory comments who will then be criticized for stifling free speech. And then when the people who might want to join in hear that free speech is being stifled over at opengov.com they'll come to /., and similar sites, in their hoards to moan about how repressive their government has become. Flame wars will be inevitable. /. will seize up, I'll have to go back to work. It's just another no-win situation.
  • by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:32AM (#22869060) Homepage Journal
    I find the entire idea of creating a wired democracy to be revolting. The best government is seen in its effects and not heard. I don't want to think about government or politics in my day to day existence and would much rather just have the professionals that I elect get on with the business of governing competently. I don't want big crusades - I've had enough crusades with Bush. When I elect a President and a Congress, I don't want them asking me my opinion every 30 seconds. I want to know that they thought through the issues and made the best decisions they could, kept the army in powder, the navy afloat, the planes in the air, the satellites working, the bridges up and the roads in good repair. If it turns out that they do something that I politically don't agree with, I can -actually live with that-, so long as they bring a general air of competence to the table.
    • by Gat0r30y (957941)

      so long as they bring a general air of competence to the table.

      You must be new here.

      Seriously though, I agree that government should not be seeking feedback from the electorate in the manner you describe. I believe the optimal "wired democracy" situation would bring transparency to government. I want all the candidates to be twittering their status - webcasting their meetings - if they meet with lobbyists, I want to know about it, and hear what they had to say. I posts from cabinet meetings. If they want a place for comments, well so be it. What I want is tr

    • by edraven (45764)
      You pose an interesting intellectual challenge. Is there a way to respond to your comments without invoking Godwin's Law..? I leave this as an exercise for the reader.
  • by bstarrfield (761726) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:42AM (#22869152)

    This US is a republic, not a popular democracy. The American founders were well deeply concerned with the possibility of mob government - hence (for example) the Senate, the Electoral College, and our system of checks and balances. (Yes, a gross simplification, but this is my lunch break.) The Founders were afraid of the mob for good reason. So should we.

    The idea of using Facebook, MySpace, and Digg as instruments of government is, in some ways, breathtakingly foolish. Reading the content on Digg - full of conspiracy theories, slander, and bigotry - seems reminiscent of the chants of a mob, not the (theoretically desired) reasoned vox populi.

    The anonymity of the Internet, combined with the speed of activity on the Web, seems to lead in many cases to an amplification of our baser instincts. Do we want our political leaders receiving input from commercial Web sites, with no means of identifying who or what is promoting certain causes?

    For months Digg was filled with article after article promoting the merits of Dr. Ron Paul, the coming Messiah who will Redeem America. After Dr. Ron Paul, savior, left the race we have the new and exciting stage of articles promoting the merits of Senator Obama, the Messiah who will Redeem America. True, their could be an upswell of support from individual users, but are we perhaps seeing an organized campaign(s) manipulating Web 2.0 sites for their own purposes? With anonymity of site users, who can tell?

    I've watched as the social media sites race to extremes. The load, most obnoxious writers gain the most attention; well reasoned arguments are often more dull and are ignored. Debates on sites such as Daily Kos revert on a daily base to name calling, ad hominen attacks, and sheer bloody-mindedness. Is this how we want our leaders to be influenced? In many cases on Daily Kos you'll see the same author online throughout the entire day, every day writing "diaries" and defending their positions. Who the hell are these people? How can they afford to avoid work to write their blog entries? Are those who use FaceBook a representative sample of the population, or the young, hip, and independently wealthy?

    Social Media sites dramatically lower the costs of individual citizens involvement in the political process. That's a Good Thing. Yet if we don't anticipate and accept the manipulation of those sites by external agencies and those with far too much time on their hands, we're bloody damn fools.

    • I agree with many of your points, but I also believe the American founders would have been greatly troubled by trying to centrally govern such a large and populous country as America has now become. The system they created was much more tuned to the size of the country at the time. You could actually know your senator. You could actually, in person, meet with the president to express a grievance. You were much more likely to be able to run for representative or mayor yourself.

      Now that our population has
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        That isnt that bad of an idea...

        We have unfair representation when compared to prior representative-"voting citizen" ratio of our countrys past.

        One way to fix that would be to have 5000 congressmen. But that would cost too much! That is, if we force them to be in House/Senate. Our technology could easily get each and every congresscritter a t-1 to their house and have net-voting. GPG is the PKI that's free to use, therefore congresscritters could post messages with GPG, and conduct publically accountable vo
    • by usul294 (1163169) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @11:36AM (#22869792)
      Unfortunately, whenever politicians start talking about "the will of the people" (see 2000,2002,2004,2006 election results) thats a sign we're moving away from a Republic. When candidates want 51% of the country to rule over the 49% thats a sign we're moving from a Republic to a demagogy. That's what scares me the most about the Obama/Edwards populism is that they are trying to use the power of the mob to gain power. The one thing that makes me fear the end of American dominance is the rise of a demagogue, and the attitude that we can't move forward until everyone else catches up. The one example I can really think of for this is that Obama wants to "delay" the manned spaceflight plans by 5 years in order to increase funding to education. To me that's no better than Caesar buying bread for all the paupers in Rome.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fictionpuss (1136565) *

      The idea of using Facebook, MySpace, and Digg as instruments of government is, in some ways, breathtakingly foolish. Reading the content on Digg - full of conspiracy theories, slander, and bigotry - seems reminiscent of the chants of a mob, not the (theoretically desired) reasoned vox populi.

      Well yes, it would be breathtakingly foolish to suggest that these immature technologies would be used, in their raw form, to create meaningful input for governance.

      That is not at question however - these technologies are a low-level protocol which will require some higher-level (as of yet undeveloped?) protocol to become meaningful and coherent.

      are we perhaps seeing an organized campaign(s) manipulating Web 2.0 sites for their own purposes? With anonymity of site users, who can tell?

      It's a good argument against trusting anonymous sources, but even Wikipedia with Wikiscanner [virgil.gr] allows a certain amount of accountability. The problem appears to be

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      I, for one, would like a democratic republic. It would have the exact same form of government as now, except that
      1. After the President signs a bill, it is sent to the polls once a year to be voted on by the people. Any bill not recieving 50% of the popular vote will not become law.
      2. All laws expire ten years after enactment, but can be reenacted if resubmitted and voted on by Congress, signed by the President, and voted up by the people.

      We have way too many laws.

      The idea of using Facebook, MySpace, and Digg as

  • Seriously, do we really want our commander in chief preoccupied with MySpace and Facebook? It's entirely likely that they'll just pass off those tasks to other government employees. Then, of course, in that case, do we really want to be PAYING the salaries on these employees? Small, unobtrusive government is the way to go - the less they know about and use these types of applications and services, the less control and say they have over how we use them.
    • by ZeroPly (881915) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:49AM (#22869230)
      My thoughts exactly. We need a real president with real priorities. While Obama was playing around with his Facebook page, Hillary was low-crawling through a hail of sniper fire, on a tarmac halfway around the globe. I heard that she was dragging along an 8 year old girl while signing an autograph with her other hand.
    • What do you want? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by microbox (704317)

      I don't understand this highly negative reaction. People are disenfranchised with the government, so surely it's a good thing that the government wants to find better ways for people to have a voice? It's really a question of communication, not control. That is, unless you believe this is a veiled way for government thought police to get into your brain. (Dons tinfoil hat.)

      Your reaction reminds me of the typical paranoid position. If someone helps you they are interfering unnecessarily. If they don't hel

  • Bad Summary line. (Score:3, Informative)

    by thesolo (131008) * <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @10:50AM (#22869236) Homepage
    The summary currently reads, "And whether Mr. Obama becomes president, or Mrs. Clinton or Mr. McCain do, these new tools have , by the People and for the People communicates and operates."

    It should be (as stated in TFA), "And whether Mr. Obama becomes president, or Mrs. Clinton or Mr. McCain do, these new tools have the potential to transform how a government of the People, by the People and for the People communicates and operates."

    Kind of a big difference there.
  • Nice of the author to presume that a "government of the People, by the People and for the People" is what we have to expect in the future. This would imply that the future will be any different from the past. And while some candidates may be running on a platform of "change", the rhetoric remains the same. At least for Obama, he's upfront about it; his commercials say "I am my brother's keeper", so we know to expect increased rights violations through regulation and taxation.

    What choice is left? Well, th
  • Forget about all other polls. Google knows everything. Just look at this [google.com]. Accordingly, my vote is going to either Britney or Paris! Google Trends doesn't lie! :-)

  • Why did he ask Andreeson? If Mr. Andreeson had a clue what the next big thing was he would have invented it already. His foray into the internet with Netscape was over 10 years ago. In internet years thats almost 3 generations. Its like asking your Grandpa about what going to be hot in women's fashion next year.
  • by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @11:53AM (#22870044)
    OK, someone has to lose his geek card here. Misspelling the name of one of the
    Netscape cofounders is pretty high on the "how to look like an idiot on /." list.

    His name's Andreessen, Marc Andreessen [wikipedia.org].
  • by ashitaka (27544) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @12:29PM (#22870546) Homepage
    I just read through the discussions here and find they reflect the general nature of discourse I've been observing in the United States regarding the candidates for the next leader of your country.

    America is screwed.

    It won't matter who is elected by whatever means, all the candidates have run campaigns of such breathtaking shallowness there is no way you have any idea exactly what policies any one of them will implement. You have been reduced to voting based upon sound bites, who they associate with, what their pastor said, what religion they are/are not, what tall tales they tell about their visits to war regions, etc. All points completely irrelevant to the actual actions that they will take during their governing of the country called the United States of America.

    You might say their "mis-speakings" indicate they are not trustworthy. But who cares? You cannot inherently trust any government figure as there are too many vested interests vying for their attention. Interests with a lot more money and influence than you have. As far as I can see the best thing Americans can do is try to pin down the candidates on a common range of issues you know they will have to deal with during their term and hold them to that. Shorten this ridiculous one-year election process, hold just a few real debates and don't give anyone the opportunity to turn the process into a mud slinging contest.

    McCain may now end up being president because he's coming across as a single stable party candidate against a couple of petty, bickering rivals who have nothing better to do than point out each others failings.

    I had a bit of hope before that the end of the Bush era would bring in a new renaissance for the US. I have absolutely no hope of that happening now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Flavio (12072)
      It won't matter who is elected by whatever means, all the candidates have run campaigns of such breathtaking shallowness there is no way you have any idea exactly what policies any one of them will implement.

      No. Ron Paul, Kucinich and Gravel ran competent campaigns based on the preservation of civil liberties, respect for the Constitution, and the total revision of current economic and foreign policies.

      However, Americans are too indoctrinated and too dependent on the mass media to tell them what to think. T
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NeutronCowboy (896098)
      That's because that's what the American public responds to. The shallowness of American politics is a direct result of the shallowness of the American public. Sad, but true.
  • by confused one (671304) on Wednesday March 26, 2008 @12:54PM (#22870840)
    That would certainly add a new dimension to the presidency.

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