Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I Wish Someone Would Invent: A Political Promises Website

Have you ever thought about an invention that maybe YOU can't make, but it sure would be nice if someone else did?

I wish someone would invent a wiki-style website that keeps track of politicians' promises and whether or not they've been kept. I know that there are some sites similar to this, but the idea here is that the information is strictly objective and non-partisan. Simply put, does this politician keep his or her promises or not? Does he or she make a lot of promises to a lot of people, or play it close to the vest? They are simply listed by date, perhaps given some context by way of which speech contained it, and left to the reader to decide if they are realistic or not.

People in each area would keep up on local elections, and probably a number of people would keep up on national elections, both with major candidates and minor. And during the course of elected official's term, people will keep track of what promises he or she delivers on, and how. For example:

John Doe (R, CO)
PROMISE: Decrease tax burden for working families (03/02/2004 speech at Rotary Club, Littleton, CO).
ACTION: Voted for defeated bill to allow additional tax exemptions for families with combined income under $35,000/yr (06/24/2006).

Visitors to the site could then vote to determine if that person has fulfilled his promise by his actions (or at least tried).

The hope would be that, in aggregate, the data on the site would give a different viewpoint of both politicians you agree with and those that you don't. An overall rating system based on percentage of promises kept (perhaps with a minimum number of promises and a minimum number of years served) would draw attention to politicians based not on their policies but instead on their integrity. It might also be somewhat amusing to see some of the bizarre promises that may emerge from dark horse candidates at the outset of a race.

FactCheck.org is a website that, rather than cataloging promises like I've suggested, rather takes the time to verify facts in politician's speeches and (as far as I can tell) records their truths and falsehoods in a non-partisan way.

Now that Barak Obama is president, people want to keep track of his promises.  So they have invented this very thing:  Politifact

So, you want to invent it? Already know about something just like it? Got a reason why it would never work? Got some suggestions? Got your own "I Wish Someone Would Invent..."? See you in the comments!



At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seems like a really great idea. Now's the time - gear up for 2008.


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