Thursday, March 26, 2009

At first-ever Presidential online townhall, Obama is pulled down into the weed

"Mr. President...uh...Mr....uh...(snort)...?"

So President Obama gave a boost to the "new media" and reached out to let ordinary Americans have a chance to pitch questions at him, and what did they ask about? The recession? Joblessness? The banking crisis? Poverty? Healthcare? War? Terrorism? Iran? Iraq? North Korea? Violence in Mexico?

No less than 92,000 of the usually shut-out little people asked the President of the United States about weed, grass, herb, reefer, pot, ganja -- frigging marijuana!

Politico has the details:

Given the opportunity to say what’s really on their minds without going through the filter of the mainstream media, people “buzzed up” a series of questions that seemed to suggest broad interest in legalizing marijuana and taxing it.

In this moment of national economic crisis, the top four questions under the heading of “Financial security” concerned marijuana; on the budget, people voted up questions about marijuana to positions 1-4; marijuana was in the first and third positions under “jobs”; people boosted a plug for legalizing marijuana to No. 2 under “health care reform.” And questions about decriminalizing pot occupied spots 1 and 2 under “green jobs and energy.”

After taking questions lower on the list, Obama addressed the pot issue head-on, noting the huge number of questions about marijuana legalization and remarking with a chuckle, “I don't know what that says about the online audience."

"The answer is no, I don't think that is a good strategy to grow our economy," he said, as the audience in the room applauded and joined him in a laugh.
The deluge of questions concerning Mary Jane didn't just happen:

It seems part of the popularity of marijuana questions was fueled by NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which was urging its members to vote for questions supporting the legalization of cannabis.
Apart from making Americans look like a bunch of dope fiends with nothing better to do than pester the President about their personal indulgences, this organized channeling of questions will make it harder for Obama to do the online townhall thing again without a lot more structure and maybe less transparency about the Q&A. After all, should he really expose himself to a barrage of ginned-up questions about this or that group's pet peeve? I don't think so.

What do you think? Post a comment.


  1. Lobby groups for big corps had thier way for a long time, why suppress marijuana advocats?

  2. I missed the whole debate, but what I see from the blogs and TV coverage, this was the only thing that came out of the whole Online Town Hall thingie. The Teleprompter was as empty as the GOP's alternative budget proposal