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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Signs of a transformed government

The first signs that the new administration will govern in a different way appeared within seconds of Barack Obama becoming the 44th president of the United States. The new WhiteHouse.gov Web site launched.

It is a pretty site. A quick tour I took showed that it is user friendly. There will be a blog -- probably not by the president. There also are RSS feeds and e-mail alerts that you can sign up for.

Nothing groundbreaking there, but there is a different tone to the site. Maybe it is the blog, but the site seems more conversational, more engaging on a one-to-one basis.

More than other administrations, this one has the tools and know-how to speak directly to the American people, not just through speeches and the bully pulpit, but through this Web site and other Web 2.0 means. Certain agencies -- the Environmental Protection Agency in particular -- have already embraced some of these tools. The adoption is going to accelerate as the Obama nominees take their places.

As Obama said in his speech there is a lot of work ahead and we must stick to the values and principles that made our country great. But as Obama showed in his campaign and through this transition period, there are new tools and new ways of fulfilling those values and principles.

He's taken step one today and there is more to come.

Overall, I thought President Obama gave a powerful speech. It struck the right balance of challenging the nation and lifting us up, in much the same way that Ronald Reagan would speak when he was president.

But let me know what you thought of the inaugration and what you see ahead.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jan 20, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Reader Comments

Mon, Jan 26, 2009 SonicBee777 Left Coast

Excellent reminders, Gene. Unfortunately, I think those who need to read and understand your words will not, being in line for their welfare checks and food stamps. Many would not agree with you even if they did read, since this kind of thinking would threaten their "livelihood."

Wed, Jan 21, 2009 Gene Ruminski Irvington, VA 22480


Reference your editorial titled: Signs of a Transformed Government

The use of web technology by the Obama administration is laudable. However the continued expansion of the Federal bureaucracy, this portends, which has been growing apace since the 1930’s FDR administration is not. The notion that all 300 million US citizens should reach to the White House for an answer is ludicrous.

Equally ludicrous is the notion that a centralized bureaucracy in Washington will have all the answers across five time zones. The Soviet experiment destroyed the Russian people, and their satellites. For the dimensions of that horrendous human and economic tragedy one has but to view the Census Bureau’s International Data Base. There was a time when the furthest one had to go to resolve most issues was the local town hall or court house. Seldom did the average citizen need to go any further than the state capitol and never to the federal government. That is until the Federal Income Tax was enacted in 1913 and more recently the Universal Conscription Act of 1940. Even with these two events one went no further than the local Collector of Internal Revenue or the neighborhood draft board.

The basic unit in all successful civilizations is the family. We grant government units only those powers which we cannot do for ourselves. Unfortunately, our representatives in Washington have arrogated to themselves powers well beyond their sworn constitutional duties. In the process over the past 70 years they have undermined the authority of the family structure creating societal problems which only the federal government can undo.

We need to diminish government power, especially at the federal level, not by making government transparent but by making it totally invisible to the average citizen. We are constitutionally organized into 50 sovereign states with the Federal government authorized to act in only three areas; diplomatic representation, defense of the national integrity, and interstate commerce.

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