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eCitizen's "Ask the President-Elect": yet another setup?

The eCitizen Foundation (ecitizenfoundation.org) has launched the "Ask the President-Elect" Project, where regular citizens can submit video or text questions for Barack Obama. The questions that get the most votes will then be asked of our new president or his transition team, with three of the top vote getters being flown to MIT for a live event.

And, it appears to be as much of a setup as similar past efforts. And, in fact, some of the same people involved in this effort were involved in past, failed efforts: see Open Debate Coalition: a failed format for fake debates.

Of course, by "failed", I mean from the perspective of those who want candidates to be asked tough, "prosecutorial-style" questions. From the perspective of those who want their favored puffballs to be asked, those past efforts were quite a success.

Are all these bright people so dim that they can't figure out the huge flaws in their method of selecting questions despite it having been illustrated to them two times already, or is this just an attempt to pretend to have a debate while not really having a debate at all? Unfortunately, I'm strongly supporting the latter explanation.

Here are some of those involved in this go-round:

This effort is co-sponsored by the Foundation, the MIT eCitizen Architecture Program under the leadership of MIT Professor William Mitchell, powered by Founding Partners communityCOUNTS (forum) and CIVICS.com (open frameworks) and supported by cyberspace luminaries like Professor Lawrence Lessig of Stanford, Professor Ethan Katsh of UMass and Professor Michael Froomkin of University of Miami Law School. Our growing community of partners also includes techPresident, change.org, pajamasmedia, voterwatch, blip.tv and many more.

UPDATE: One of the four submissions marked with 'ecitizen' at Youtube provides yet another in the long line of worthless questions that those who don't want a real debate tend to highlight (link). The question asks what new programs Obama will have to help the middle class go to college, and was obviously asked by someone who has web access and would seem to be able to do some research first. For instance, BHO has a PDF discussing his "Blueprint for Change", and it contains some details. Then there are his speeches, the statements of advisors, and so on. But, for some reason, the questioner was unable to look at any of those and decided to ask a completely general question. But, for the same reason discussed here, it would make great TV.

Politics · Fri, 11/07/2008 - 08:14 · Importance: 1