Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama and Democracy 2.0


Obama's shrewd exploitation of "new media" continues. After effectively using test messages, websites, meetups, video games,etc. in the campaign, now he intends to connect with supporters and construct public opinion (or listen to the people, depending on how you see it) using the web for governing. This is a new media version of what political communication scholars have called "going public," where presidents bypass legislatures that propose and make laws and instead go directly to "the people" to influence them, produce public opinion about issues that are in fact first of all the president's agenda (which he wants the people to accept). In turn, the president wants the Congress to accept his issues because supposedly the people (represented by public opinion) want it. But then, perhaps Obie is not so cynical. Maybe he really is trying to break down barriers between citizens and their representatives. This will be very, very interesting to watch.

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