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October 4, 2006
OMB Wants A Few Good Bloggers

The Office of Management and Budget will host the new Coburn-Obama database, and they want to continue in the reform spirit. In that effort, the OMB wants to draft bloggers to support its other clean-government initiatives:

The Office of Management and Budget is turning to bloggers for help in pushing the OMB's government reform plans after last week's success of its pet project, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, also known as the Coburn-Obama bill. ...

Bush signed the bill last week, flanked by the bloggers who had led the charge, including those from,, and Human Events Online's Right Angle blog. Soon afterward, OMB Deputy Director Clay Johnson III spent an hour with the bloggers.

Right after that, OMB Director Rob Portman and Johnson appeared at a luncheon to talk about OMB's government performance push.

Portman also talked about the blogger fest, saying, "Clay asked them, 'Gee, since you're so good at this, can you help us on some of our other initiatives?' " When Johnson took the floor, he invoked the bloggers several times as weapons in his fight for government performance and accountability reforms.

This may well give the blogosphere its best case for its utility. Bloggers have rarely united for a cause across the political spectrum, but when we do, we get results. The Online Coalition formed to pressure the Federal Election Commission to grant bloggers the same media exemptions from the BCRA that traditional media outlets have, and the effort succeeded. The FFATA gave us another bipartisan victory, and in much the same kind of issue: transparency and free dissemination of information.

Can the blogosphere reform government? Not by itself, of course, but it can amplify the demands of the electorate, especially when it speaks in broad consensus. The Coburn-Obama database provided that rare consensus, helped in no small part through the fact that computer enthusiasts love a good database application. OMB has the right idea in harnessing the power of the blogs to force change on a ruling class that resists it mightily until convinced that its resistance will cost it power.

The Washington Post talks about the instability of the blogosphere, but dissenting voices allow for good analysis of political status. When only the most radical voices oppose reform, then OMB can fight for its measures, knowing that bloggers will mobilize quickly to demand their implementation. Only a fool would forego the populist power that the blogosphere represents out of fear what a handful might say in opposition. If OMB can make the case for reform that steers clear of ideology -- which really is the purview of our elected representatives -- they can rely on bloggers to help them carry the load.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 4, 2006 5:35 AM

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