Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Are There Any Grownups in the White House?

When I first heard about it, I thought it was some Internet meme gone viral – a classically satiric riff on today’s wired world. The Obama administration was launching a new website where concerned citizens can report unfair attacks on the President – attacks that could then be countered by facts from the White House.

And then I found out it was real. Yup, real. Truly real.


And once again one ponders the eternal question: What the fuck were they thinking??

As Reason online puts it here, some adult in the White House should perhaps have pointed out that “encouraging Americans to inform on their fellow citizens carries a whiff not just of Nixonian creepiness but of totalitarian menace.

Sure, I get it, nobody’s being asked to report their neighbors as communists, atheists, tea party activists or other fellow travelers (well, maybe tea party activists), but the whole business is just juvenile and pointless.  Given the connected landscape out there, the White House can both track unfair attacks and put out its own arguments or counter-arguments without needing to enlist citizens in the dirty business of opposition research.

It’s unseemly and tiresome. Not what we were expecting when we elected President Obama.