The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Washington Life

The Participatory Inaugural

By Garance Franke-Ruta
In his latest YouTube release, Barack Obama today issued a low-key call to transform Inauguration Day from an elite Washington-based celebration of the transition of power in a democracy into a nationwide festival that individuals can participate in through new media technologies and hosting parties of their own, wherever they may be.

If it sounds a bit like the Obama campaign, writ large, well, that's because it is -- and, as such, it provides an early example of how the techniques of an unusually interactive campaign may be marshaled not only on behalf of a political agenda but on behalf of changing American civic culture in the years ahead.

"You don't have to brave the crowds and commotion in order to participate in this celebration, because we've made this Inauguration open and accessible to communities across our nation," Obama says in the video. "Just text the word 'open' to 56333 for news, transportation updates, and ways you can participate."

On Sunday, there will be "a free celebration at the Lincoln Memorial that's open to the public, Obama says, "And to allow Americans across the country to join us, HBO will broadcast the event for free that evening."

He continues, "Monday night, Michelle and Jill Biden are hosting a free Kids' Inaugural concert to honor the children of military families, which the Disney Channel will broadcast live on television and their radio network.

And, "On the evening of the Inauguration, Michelle and I will attend the first-ever Neighborhood Inaugural Ball, and we want you to be right there with us - wherever your neighborhood is," he says. "ABC will broadcast it on television, we'll webcast it on the Internet and post updates from the ballroom, and if you visit, you can even sign up to host your own neighborhood ball at home."

So far, few events are listed on the presidential inaugural site. But, as during the campaign, Obama won't be alone when it comes to using contemporary technology to prod people to exercise their right to free association. Civic Action has launched a similar initiative -- an "Inaugural Bash" page helping Obama-backers find inaugural events in their areas, which lists 3,128 planned gatherings so far.

Co-sponsors of that initiative include, AFSME,, Drinking Liberally, Credo Mobile, Young Democrats of America and Keystone Progress.

Posted at 6:29 PM ET on Jan 14, 2009  | Category:  Washington Life
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If he won't release his LONG FORM birth certificate, can we at least find out where Obama was the night Vince Foster died?

Posted by: JakeD | January 15, 2009 10:00 AM


• What happened to Homeland Security warnings of "heightened risk" during Presidential transition?

• How about the late November FBI warning about possible Northeast train station attacks?

• "Amtrak Joe" Biden's longstanding warnings about security flaws along the Amtrak Northeast corridor -- why isn't he waving this whistle stop tour to a halt?

It is both mystifying and frightening to contemplate the unnecessary risk to which President-elect Barack Obama and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden are subjecting themselves by going through with Saturday's planned pre-inauguration "whistle stop" train ride from Philadelphia to Washington.

In his farewell press conference on Monday, President Bush seemed to go out of his way to twice repeat that the greatest threat the nation faces is another terrorist attack. At one point in his presser, he said that by giving official voice to the threat, he was not "trying to set something up." Here are President Bush's exact words:

"There is an enemy that still is out there.

"You know, people can maybe try to write that off as, you know, 'he's trying to set something up.'

"I'm telling you there's an enemy that would like to attack America -- Americans -- again. There just is. That's the reality of the world."

George W. Bush could not have been more plain-spoken, candid and direct. The incoming White House team ignores his words -- which he most likely thought about before uttering them -- at their peril.


OR (if link is corrupted):

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 15, 2009 12:15 AM

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