Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 21, 2010

CHECKING IN WITH 'AMERICA SPEAKING OUT'.... Remember that taxpayer-financed gimmick House Republicans launched a month ago? It's called "America Speaking Out," and it offers regular folks a chance to go to a website, funded by the public, and submit ideas that will help the GOP put together a policy agenda.

So, how's that going?

Its stated purpose is to provide people with "a new platform to share their priorities and ideas for a national policy agenda." ... But the project's usefulness in shaping a Republican agenda is questionable.

Last week, the top five entries in the "Liberty and Freedom" category were: ban handguns, "drop the idea that we're a 'Christian' country," declare abortion "none of the government's business," allow gays to serve openly in the military and legalize marijuana.

Republican leaders mentioned none of these when they began highlighting proposals from the project.

You don't say.

The Republican spokesperson on the initiative said party officials "are plucking out ideas" they like. "It's not a 'top vote gets in'" deal, he said.

That's not unreasonable, I suppose -- no one ever said this was some kind of game-show -- but it raises questions anew about why the gimmick exists in the first place. The ideas faring well on the Republicans' website are ideas Republicans don't like, so they're ignoring them. Fine. But why bother with a website at all if the party is only going to accept policies it already approves of?

Why not save the taxpayers some money and scrap the gimmick? GOP leaders could just create an email account and announce, "If anyone has any suggestions on what we should do with government power, let us know." It would serve the same purpose as "America Speaking Out."

Steve Benen 10:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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Kind of supports the meme that us Librul whackos are more technically savy than the the Southern DUH ? Party . It has obviously been gamed by the likes of the Colbert Nation.

Posted by: john R on June 21, 2010 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Why would anyone bother to submit anything in the first place? There are only four things they want anyway:
1. Taxcuts.
2. Elimintate safety nets like SS, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, and Unemployment insurance.
3. Impeach Obama.
4. More tax cuts.

Anything else that's submitted is eliminated.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on June 21, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Having a web site with all kinds of discussion gives the rubes much more of an illusion of participation. And for at least some, gets them off the streets.

Posted by: paul on June 21, 2010 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

I too want 'Change we can Believe in': Please write your suggestion on a $20 bill, and mail it to me.

Posted by: DAY on June 21, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

It's a continuing, high-profile demonstration of the Republican lack of ideas and leadership, so... what's not to like?

Posted by: MattF on June 21, 2010 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

I love it! Don't the Republicans ever learn? Back in the '04 campaign, Bush's campaign team posted downloadable pictures of Dear Leader for posters, and then, like idiots, permitted people to compose their own text to accompany them. You can guess what Democratic computer geeks promptly proceeded to do. On the old New York Times discussion site, I asked why he would have done something so boneheaded, and another poster explained "It's a character issue. Bush just can't conceive that people don't love him." I guess it's the same with this Republican site; they couldn't imagine that people would disagree with them, so now they have to ignore the responses that undermine that world-view.

Posted by: T-Rex on June 21, 2010 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

You want a site where you can vote on some REAL action that can make a difference?

Go here:


Posted by: dweb on June 21, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

"It's not a 'top vote gets in'" deal..."

Except it is, or the whole initiative is pointless. The site was created to sample THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE, and handing the Republicans the bones of a plan was supposed to be just a nice side benefit. If you just ignore all the suggestions except the ones that fit your philosophy, the whole exercise was a waste of time and money. You already know what you like - it's convincing the people that they like it too that's difficult. Move this one to the "failure" column.

Posted by: Mark on June 21, 2010 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

It is a very human response . This poster thing , which I find innocuous now , passed right over me . I suppose being too busy steeling myself for the next schocking knuckleheaded display of wit and wisdom from some region of the most powerful man in the world is enough .
Still one difference remains , but oh what a difference . One act shows a "Damn the Torpedoes !" determination , while my own is , "The horror , the horror" .
How is it that we carry on despite missing 800 featherweight gorilla deconstructing our minds or our government , one malpropism at a time . The dumbstruck awe I imagine that our invincible brothers and sisters would sport , when an actual process including facts children recite has no formal shape . That mortification will need to wait until such a time that the childlike adults who reduce to a simple silver bullet , the be all end all they need into the round file of the "Rapture" . The rest of us who carry and maintain the deadweight of our aristocratic betters see it as another "Uh oh" . So no need to worry for the pollute , shoot , and disemble until the cows return crowd . Imaginations not noticably challenged by mind grinding wrong streaks of their cheeky solons , are also very capable of accepting up as down . Our friendly god who created an aristocratic centered universe , will save all the fantasists whose professional ranks of refuse to thinknics , triumphantly carry the two year old contrarians chip on their shoulders into the bliss of feudal times .

Posted by: FRP on June 21, 2010 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

The best idea was requiring all Congressment to get a character to level 80 in World of Warcraft, so as to prove they are in touch with the comman man.

The discussion over whether they should be required to play rogues was just gravy.

Posted by: Morat20 on June 21, 2010 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Darn. I should have voted for, Tax the Rich.

Posted by: Nancy Green on June 21, 2010 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

New GOBP slogan: America Speaks Out; We Don't Listen.

Posted by: josef on June 21, 2010 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Well, then just ban the free postage that congress gets too if you want to ban America Speaking out. Also ban the recovery dot gov site Obama has, that does not even track jobs "saved".

America Speaks Out is just as legitimate as any other tax-payer funded outreach. YOU don't like it because it is the republicans that are doing it. The web site is a good idea because it uses less resources than the mailed questionnaires that congress often uses at taxpayer's expense. Oh, and why are we all a twitter about spending money all of a sudden? It's because the republicans are spending it this time and hypocrite democrats don't like that.

Posted by: Dan Bragg on July 30, 2010 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

I was reading the posts here and got to the last one by Dan Bragg. Either he did't read these posts or he's ignoring the parts he didn't like! As was asked, why have a site like this if you do not address the top issues presented by those you asked for help? I know ya'll have become the party of NO, but adding to it the party of, we don't give a damn about what anyone who doesn't totally agree with our agenda (whatever that is)has to say or how they feel is just going to hurt you even more. The republican party has got to change. If they continue on their present course there is only gloom and doom in their future. You need to stop trying to make your party look good by ONLY trying to make the other side look bad. You must put out ideas that are benificial to Americans and America. There is an old story about a boy who cried wolf, guess what happened to him?

Posted by: diaog on August 19, 2010 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

I have looked at the web page, specifically under "Homeland/Border Security", and after reading all that was there, failed to see a question that I could vote on.
Yes. I am for enforcing our Borders by whatever means available. It's not just border security, but also the country's "Financial Security" that we are protecting at the same time. Please have the writers of these situations word them in a manner that clearly asks for a vote, one way or the other. Thank you.

Posted by: Raymond C. Maratea on August 27, 2010 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK
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