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AskObama on Twitter, July 6, 2011: how to make it effective

[UPDATE: Things went exactly as expected, AskObama on Twitter was a sham.]

On July 6, 2011, Barack Obama will be answering questions sent to him via Twitter [1]. All past instances where Obama has been asked questions have been almost completely worthless shams that haven't held him accountable. This page presents a plan that - if I can get enough help - will finally hold him accountable and might force him to offer policies that are better for the U.S. And, if the plan gets enough participation from others, it will send a message to other politicians and might force them to offer better policies.

Under my plan, questions for Obama will be filtered through me or a small number of others who will review the questions for toughness. Then, everyone will ask Obama the same small set of very tough questions. If Obama is asked a thousand different questions by a thousand different people, it will be easy for his helpers to hide the fact that they're choosing the setup questions. But, if there are only a dozen questions from a thousand people, his refusal to answer one of those questions will be much more noticeable.

For those who haven't been following citizen-generated question events, such events have been almost completely ineffective at holding politicians accountable. Many politicians are lawyers or have a lot of experience with deflecting questions, and they're able to run rings around those who ask them questions. And, in the case of Obama, all the questions he's been asked that I'm aware of have been very weak. See bad questions and popular voting systems for dozens of examples.

Do you want to change that? Do you want to have Obama asked tough questions and held accountable for his policies?

OK, then here's what I need you to do:

1. Submit questions you want asked to the Twitter account I've established for this purpose: twitter.com/#!/AskPols. Do not include the #AskObama tag.

2. I'll review the question, edit it for toughness, and then tweet it from that account with the #AskObama tag.

3. Everyone else can simply re-tweet what I tweet, or just tweet the question as their own, with the #AskObama tag.

That way, a large number of possible questions for Obama will be winnowed down to just a handful of very tough questions, and Obama will feel much more pressure to answer one of those questions. Imagine how Obama's screener is going to feel when they see the same very tough question asked by hundreds or thousands of people.

Now, of course, I intend to be selective about the questions I tweet. I'm not going to tweet questions involving fringe libertarians economic ideas, or fringe tea parties ideas, or personal matters, or gotcha!, or things that aren't really that important. I will concentrate on questions that seek to encourage immigration enforcement and finding jobs for my fellow citizens.

I'm telling you that ahead of time so you can start your own effort similar to what I describe above. Whatever you do, run your questions through someone else's filter first so Obama is only presented with a small number of very tough questions. If you start your own effort, feel free to leave the details in comments, but send the questions only to @AskPols.

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[1] The webcast of him answering questions starts at 2pm Eastern/11am Pacific at askobama.twitter.com and the hashtag for questions is #AskObama. It's not clear exactly how the questions he'll be asked will be selected and whether there will be shenanigans involved (see Steve Grove how Twitter might do things if they want to help Obama instead of hold him accountable).

Other tags: question authority

Thu, 06/30/2011 - 20:32 · Importance: 4