As everyone is probably pretty well aware at this point, one of the most popular activities at the White House is the practice of organizing online forums for people to vote on questions for the president, getting everyone all excited about it, and then completely ignoring the vote totals and disappointing participants with predictable answers to generic questions. It happened yet again today:
WASHINGTON, DC -- President Barack Obama in an online "conversation" with American voters on Monday, failed to answer a barrage of questions about marijuana legalization or the drug war.
Although 18 out of 20 of the most popular questions submitted by voters via YouTube were about the drug war or pot, the president in his 45-minute post-State of the Union chat didn't address a single one. [Huffington Post]
Of course, the president has answered similar questions in the past, mocking legalization supporters on one occasion and calling it a legitimate topic for debate on another. What the president has never done is actually answer such a question completely or intelligently. At this point, it's rather hard to imagine that he ever will.
And so the cycle is certain to repeat itself again and again, as one web forum after another is dominated by marijuana and drug war questions that will continue to go unanswered (though some may occasionally be acknowledged and sidestepped). The "legitimate debate" to which Obama says we're entitled is something he nonetheless refuses to actually engage in, and the frustration that drives this issue to the front of the line in every such forum will be well fed for the foreseeable future.
In the meantime, it ought to be obvious to everyone that something is very wrong when this many people keep asking the same question and the president has nothing to say.