Friday, January 29, 2010

Who Is Watching the Store?

Yesterday's State of the Union Address was also measured by viewers online in a second-by-second response poll. The seismic patterns of the rating ups and down can be seen on the group's website here.

There was certainly a sense of temporality in the President's address, which mentioned "by the time I finish speaking more Americans will lose their health insurance." There were also a number of references to new forms of federal recordkeeping and accountability testing available online, as this section of the speech shows:

That's what I came to Washington to do. That's why – for the first time in history – my Administration posts our White House visitors online. And that's why we've excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.

But we can't stop there. It's time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my Administration or Congress. And it's time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office. Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that's why I'm urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.

I'm also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform. You have trimmed some of this spending and embraced some meaningful change. But restoring the public trust demands more. For example, some members of Congress post some earmark requests online. Tonight, I'm calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single website before there's a vote so that the American people can see how their money is being spent.

The Republican rebuttal from Bob McDonnell included a plug for the Internet as well, since "many of our proposals are available online at, and we welcome your ideas on Facebook and Twitter." This year the "You lie!" shouter from last year, Joe Wilson. actually decided to respond to the President on Facebook.

To commemorate the events of yesterday, Obama's Wordle is here and McDonnell's is here.

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