wasting bandwidth since 1999

The Crowd Behind The Curtain

Later this week, the folks at TechCrunch will be recording a podcast interview with Mitt Romney and they’re asking for readers to suggest questions for the candidate.

Andy has already submitted some excellent examples. Especially this one.

Congress is currently considering legislation that would block access to online social networks at schools and libraries that accept federal E-Rate funding. Do you think this legislation would help protect kids against online threats, or does it undermine educators’ abilities to use the Internet creatively in their classrooms?

I wonder, however, how many politicians (at all levels) would even understand Andy’s questions well enough to give a coherent answer.

And that’s not a slam on their intelligence.

It’s just a thought that even the smartest of elected officials don’t have the background knowledge to fully understand this and many other policy issues that lie below their first tier of interests.

Which is why they hire advisors to offer guidance when it comes to legislative programs in these areas – like DOPA, the proposed law to which Andy is alluding in his question.

So, maybe TechCrunch’s interview should not be with Romney alone. Instead of asking only him questions on technology policy, should they be directing them to both Romney AND his primary advisor on the topic?

After all, the person who is asking to be elected may be the solitary face that appears on the talking heads channels but he or she is getting advice from somewhere.

We need to know more about the people in whom candidates are placing their trust to get a better idea of whether we can trust the candidates themselves.

candidates, policy, advisors, interview, romney


  1. organized chaos

    So true, and so well said. I was amazed last week at a policy conference that so many of the people pushing the k-12 reform in education policies actually had no idea what they were talking about. But they are the ones raising money, meeting with politicians, and getting their message out there. Kind of scary for the rest of us.

  2. andy carvin

    I’ve always liked the idea of allowing candidates to consult with their advisors during a debate. After all, presidents rely on advisors – in theory, at least – when making policy decisions, and I’d love to get a sense of how they interact with their advisors and take in advice.

  3. Dave

    “Do you think this legislation would help protect kids against online threats, or does it undermine educators’ abilities to use the Internet creatively in their classrooms?”

    It’s clearly both of these things. Asking the question in this way seems to aim at setting up a no-win situation and then implying that passing the legislation would be no-win.

    Toward your actual point: with or without relevant advisers, I’d expect a candidates answers to be constitutional — respectful of rights and expecting that society will use rights intelligently.

    Towards filtering web content: why don’t we replace out-right blocking with informed warning? Instead of getting a page saying “this site is blocked”, let’s have a page that says “this site is suspect for reasons X, Y, and Z.” Depending on the reasons and the student group, students could choose to continue on their own, submit the page and their comments for review (which would be done quickly, within 5 minutes or so during the school day), or some sort of teacher password could be required.

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