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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Is Obama the first Web 2.0 President

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Marc Ambinder’s article in The Atlantic, HisSpace outlines a vision for technological revolution under an Obama Presidency similar to Candidate Obama’s nimble use of social media to harness support -

Obama clearly intends to use the Web, if he is elected president, to transform governance just as he has transformed campaigning. Notably, he has spoken of conducting “online fireside chats” as president. And when one imagines how Obama’s political army, presumably intact, might be mobilized to lobby for major legislation with just a few keystrokes, it becomes possible, for a moment at least, to imagine that he might change the political culture of Washington simply by overwhelming it.

What Obama seems to promise is, at its outer limits, a participatory democracy in which the opportunities for participation have been radically expanded. He proposes creating a public, Google-like database of every federal dollar spent. He aims to post every piece of non-emergency legislation online for five days before he signs it so that Americans can comment. A White House blog—also with comments—would be a near certainty. Overseeing this new apparatus would be a chief technology officer.

Ambinder also points out the the potential pratfalls of opening up two-way discourse with the American people – reminding us that it’s a representative democracy for a reason. The potential for transparency may usher in a new era of government accountability to to me bodes well for both fiscal conservatives and civil libertarians.

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