Thursday, November 06, 2008
The Change We Need?
The appointment of Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff was the first clue as to the character of the new administration. Here is the second: Change.gov, the website of the Obama transition team.
On the home page, about 3/4 of an inch away from the "jobs" tab, is this big bold box:
An American Moment
The story of this campaign is your story. It is about the great things we can do when we come together for a comon purpose. We want to hear your inspiring stories from the campaign and election day.
Those who click the tab are led to another page where they can fill in their personal statement. One interesting detail: the address page offers respondents a choice of country. This is apparently not going to be an administration that takes a narrow view of its constituency! It represents the whole world!
Question - seriously - isn't this a dramatically partisan message to appear on a .gov website - especially one connected to hiring and staffing? Has anybody with a background in government service ever seen anything remotely like this?
Well some do see a parallel - those road construction signs that mention the name of the local governor or mayor, so that voters will know whom to thank. It's also true, nb, that there are partisan .gov domains - including gop.gov, the House Republican conference. And a (conservative) general counsel for a federal agency writes to say:
I can see an argument that a post-campaign retrospective may not be the same type of thing as direct electioneering activity. Talking about a campaign that has ended is not the same as trying to influence outcomes before the vote occurs.
11/06 06:18 PM