President Obama took to Reddit today to participate in their popular “Ask Me Anything” feature. The question-and-answer session began at 4:30pm ET and quickly crashed the system, though it appears to be working now (at least for me). At last count there are over 4,300 comments on the thread.
Some of the questions were extremely pointed. One, written by Mother Jones’ Nick Baumann, begins by stating, “Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, a 16-year-old American citizen, was killed in a US drone strike…” and asks the President how he feels about it. Another asks “Do you anticipate the SEC convicting anyone for the massive banking and securities fraud that caused the 2008 financial crisis?” (The SEC doesn’t pursue criminal charges, but you get the picture.)
Fortunately for Obama, with 4,300-plus questions, there were plenty to pick and choose from to answer. So far, Obama has answered questions on space exploration, (“we are focused on a potential mission to a (sic) asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight”), small business (where he unfortunately touted the odious JOBS Act, among other things), his choice of best basketball player (“Jordan – I’m a Bulls guy”), and his toughest choice (“The decision to surge our forces in afghanistan”). He also said the White House beer is tasty and that the recipe will be out soon. So clearly I’m killing time before the convention speeches tonight, and apparently, so is the President.
To the extent that there’s been any news, Obama said that there will be an Internet freedom plank in the Democratic platform. Republicans actually included a similar plank in THEIR platform, so presumably that’s something that can actually get done legislatively. However, there are a number of disquieting measures in the works, like the Trans Pacific Partnership, that undermine this alleged commitment to Internet freedom. In addition, Obama said “we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United,” which goes up against the edge of what he’s said publicly on this topic. “Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change,” Obama added.
Well, at least this gave Reddit’s servers a workout.