( – promoted by buhdydharma )
There is an interesting new development taking place at Obama’s web site Change.gov. Starting this last Wednesday, they are asking participants to submit questions they have about policy and implementation and then letting folks vote on the questions they would most like to see answered.
According to the blog entry linked above:
Since its launch yesterday, the Open for Questions tool has processed over 600,000 votes from more than 10,000 people on more than 7,300 questions…
Participation in Open for Questions outpaced our expectations, and we’re looking forward to rolling it out again next week…
Over the next few days, some of the most popular questions selected by the Change.gov community will be answered by the Transition team, and their responses will be posted here on the site.
This could get interesting! Either the Obama Team will answer some VERY interesting questions, or they’ll skirt tough issues to pick and choose. Wait til you see what this process generated.
You can see the questions and how they were ranked here. Not what you might expect. First of all, the 6th highest rated question came from Bob Fertik and is taken straight from the petition drive Buhdy has been organizing here. Lets see if they answer this one.
Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor – ideally Patrick Fitzgerald – to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?
And the 2nd highest rated question was:
What will you do as President to restore the Constitutional protections that have been subverted by the Bush Administration and how will you ensure that our system of checks and balances is renewed?
But as Al Giordano notes in an essay at The Field, there was one issue that came up 5 times in the top 20 questions, one of which includes the highest rated question. This one’s a bit of a surprise. Here’s the list.
#1. Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.? (A total of 7,947 participants recommended that question.)
#7. 13 states have compassionate use programs for medial Marijuana, yet the federal gov’t continues to prosecute sick and dying people. Isn’t it time for the federal gov’t to step out of the way and let doctors and families decide what is appropriate?
#13. How will you fix the current war on drugs in America? and will there be any chance of decriminalizing marijuana?
#15. What kind of progress can be expected on the decriminalization and legalization for medicinal purposes of marijuana and will you re-prioritize the “War On Drugs” to reflect the need for drug treatment instead of incarceration?
#18. The U.S. has the world’s highest incarceration rate, largely due to the War on Drugs. Our prisons are festering pits of rape, racism, and gang violence, and divert a lot of tax money to the corrupt prison industry. How can we fix this?
Certainly there are other good questions on the list. But the inclusion of a request for a Special Prosecutor and this focus on drug policy were what stood out to me. It will be interesting to see the responses. Might give us some clue as to whether this is a significant tool to be used for dialogue or just a “feel good” PR mechanism.