Wednesday, January 14, 2009 Citizen's Briefing Book: Top All-Time

If you want to have the crap scarred out of you, take a look at the most POPULAR ideas submitted to the Obama change team:

Title link or *here*.

You can forget whether Obama is a closet centrist etc. If he intends to govern based on Internet popularity contests then we are in big big trouble.

As I'm viewing the list, there is nothing, NOTHING, that would reduce the size of government in any way, unless you think that eliminating marijuana laws will do that or unless you think reducing restrictions on gambling will do that. Both of these ideas might reduce parts of government for a while, but then when you get into the details you are just trading one bureaucracy for another.

All the other ideas are pure spending. Rail systems, mandates on the auto industry, government heath care (writ large, with private insurance companies being put out of the picture altogether).

Item ten, as I view it, government sponsored online poker!

Scanning down the list don't be surprised to find things like "Free government supplied gin. Not Rum, 'cause I don't drink that stuff." The "self-centeredness" of these suggestions is astounding! With each person thinking along the lines of the government re-inventing itself to cater to my individual whims.

Out the window is the notion of a representative government, with more informed people making decisions that benefit all. The Obama administration is either going to turn into government run amok, or they are setting themselves up to disappoint in a big way when the top five suggestions get ignored because they are totally idiotic.

If the Obama campaign didn't already know that they were appealing to a large percentage of America's least informed people, they are about to find it out.


  1. You sir, are the "least informed". If you were to do some real research on the subject then you would see why it is the Number 1 and number 3 issue on AND

  2. Mac,
    I blogged about the Citizen's Briefing Book today as well. It is interesting to say the least. However, the more I look at it, the more I'm realizing that it represents the ability of certain groups to use social media, blogging, etc. to promote an idea that it represents the general attitude or common thinking of the general public. People who want legalized marijuana and environmentalists are clearly very good at getting out the message. Good or bad, I don't think the RANKINGS mean anything more than that. That is not to say these aren't popular issues. I just don't think there is a correlation between the rankings and sentiment because it is so skewed by the dynamics of the blogosphere, twitter, etc.

  3. Dan,

    I think you are right. And I don't have a problem with at least the consideration of legalizing certain recreational drugs. As a libertarian, my fear is that we will trade a small savings in size of government in the enforcement area for a potentially larger (FDA?) infrastructure that assures the "quality" of the new drugs.

    Further, most of the MJ legalizers don't suggest that we also legalize heroin or crack cocaine (if only because they know it won't sell) which means a great deal of that drug enforcement infrastructure will have to remain as well.

    I guess one thing that gets me about these is the specificity of most of them. "Bring back the Constitution" has my vote, but it wasn't in the top ten when looked, number 11 regarding Poker was in its place. But all of them, involve more big government spending and of course raising taxes at a higher rate to pay for it.

    Bullet train? Why would that be so popular. When all is said and done maybe 1% or less of our population would benefit from such a thing, which focuses on passenger traffic, not freight.

    I actually submitted an item to this list (which got me on their mailing list) that was far more specific than any of these, but I would not have expected it to make the top ten, or even the top 100.

    I'm truly puzzled that more Obama supporters (and I would guess it is more supporters than non-supporters that contributed to this list) would not have any thoughts on health care in general, defense issues of any kind, nothing even on abortion and I thought this was supposed to be one of the highest priority issues among many voters.

    Maybe, on the other hand there are some issues for which Obama's positions are so well known that they need not be mentioned. Why as him to appoint pro-abortion judges when you know he is going to do that anyway.

    In any event, I hope those on his staff who are managing this list know (as you pointed out) how unrepresentative it may actually be in terms of the "big picture". But then that leads to the question: "is this just more pandering?"