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Barack Obama: Ombudsman-in-Chief


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#1 Guest_fuzzywuzzy6_*

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 01:21 PM

First, please see the first page (the paragraphs preceding the rather long index, and a few paragraphs following the index, unless, of course, you are very ambitious) of this excellent Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ombudsman

Ombudsmen give voice to citizens' concerns when no one else in government will hear them. They seek first to understand, and, if merited, to remedy the situation or to render some other form of assistance.

Onbudsman-like positions have also existed in situations such as private or public hospital settings. Police auditors would be another example of an ombudsman-like position.

One of the major problems with ombudsmen positions in the past is that their funds are usually paid for by the organization or agency for which they serve as ombudsmen, and their supervision comes purely from within the organization or agency for which they serve as ombudsmen. This, of course, largely neutralizes any opportunity they may have for educating the people in the agency as to citizen or consumer concerns or to be taken seriously in general. In addition, many ombudsmen are selected because they are regarded as favoring the agency which they are to serve in, rather than because they are trained, educated or familiar with the functions of that agency.

Various consumer and voter organizations have sprung up over the years to fill this vacuum, with varying success. Some journalists and politicians have tried to fill this vacuum.

It seems that President Obama is uniquely positioned in time to serve as the U.S. Ombudsman-in-Chief. What would be the best way for him to fulfill that role, and what suggestions would you have for him?

Edited by fuzzywuzzy6, 08 March 2009 - 06:31 PM.


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#2 GTK48

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 08:12 PM

Obama is not an Ombudsmen he is The POTUS. He should do Presidential things. It would be nice if he could give a speech without a teleprompter. He should void NAFTA & GATT. Most of this is covered in another thread.

#3 Guest_fuzzywuzzy6_*

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 01:31 PM

One reason why Obama was elected is that the majority of the American voters sought to have a president and an administration that would address their concerns about what was wrong with the government, in terms of mistakes, omissions, wrongdoing, and neglect, and would attempt to improve the situation, if not to remedy it completely. Education is also one major role of ombudsmen.

Please stay on-topic. I was suggesting that the current administration was in a position to fill a sorely-missed void in American government.

Edited by fuzzywuzzy6, 18 March 2009 - 01:31 PM.


#4 JohnWho

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 04:22 PM

I think the job of POTUS is time-consuming and difficult enough without adding additional tasks or duties.

Of course, Obama doesn't have anything to do right now,

so he is able to take the time to analyze and discuss the NCAA tournament - Obama's "Final Four".

I know I'd prefer to have him spend time and effort on his picks on this all important tournament rather than waste his time and effort on the US economy because this way I know he is a great guy.


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#5 Guest_fuzzywuzzy6_*

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 04:36 PM

I was not so much suggesting "new" duties as suggesting a shift in emphasis in how the duties are made, policies are shaped and revealed to the public, etc.

Obama began his political career as a community organizer; one of the organizer's chief duties is to inform and to educate the public on ways of accessing the tools of government effectively, especially since some groups have not been able to make their concerns heard or considered. He was also a constitutional law professor and, as such, would have been steeped in the various traditions of democracy.

Many of his supporters, and many of those in his administration, came of age in the late '60's and throughout the '70's, when sunshine laws were enacted, transparency was being demanded of government, and the Freedom of Information Act was passed. Whistle blowers were protected for a time. Consumer protection regulations and legislation were passed or enacted in droves on all levels of government, not just federal.

In those days, "public interest" groups were just that, groups that tried to work for the benefit of the nation as a whole, and not just a privileged few.

"Ombudsman-in-chief" could be regarded as one way in which the president should be regarded, and one way in which he should regard his responsibilities.

"POTUS" has a rather magisterial ring to it; "ombudsman-in-chief"? Well, that's a leader for the people that is mindful of his responsibilities to the country's people. Our leaders should remember their purposes and their places; they do not rule under the divine right of kings. No one does.

Edited by fuzzywuzzy6, 18 March 2009 - 04:37 PM.


#6 mikerox

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 10:41 AM

No offense GTK, but nearly every president has used a teleprompter in the past 30 years. President Obama is no exception. :flowers:

So let me make sure I understand the definition of an Ombudsman: basically, the ombudsman is an individual who is willing to listen to and address the concerns of the general public, right? If that's the case, he's definitely an ombudsman. My presidential history is most likely fuzzy, seeing as I've only paid attention to politics since January of last year, but I don't think any President has had nearly as many townhalls as has President Obama. If I recall correctly, he's had one in:

US
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Elkhart, Indiana
  • Fort Myers, Florida
G20/Oversees
  • France
  • Turkey
  • Iraq
I probably missed a few, but nonetheless, I've never heard of a President having these many townhalls during his first 100 days in the Presidency. I'm not entirely sure he had these many townhalls in any 100 day time period of his electoral campaign. Then factor in the fact that he allows for public commentary an most-all legislature that he is to pass, and his increasing on White House transparency, his desire to rekindle alliances with our allies, and his desire to strengthen ties with the Islamic world, and it's hard to deny that he is in fact an "Ombudsman-in-Chief".

I think the format that he has chosen for this role is sufficient for now. The role of Commander in Chief of, well...practically the world... is a very huge and stressful occupation. President Bush even grayed out, and he took several vacations during his presidency. My only advise for the President is to stay steady, and don't take on more than you can chew all at once. And finally, play with Bo as much and as often as possible. Dogs are a great outlet for releasing stress in a constructive manner, and he'll need to do this a lot throughout these 4-8 years. :thumbsup:

Edited by mikerox, 15 April 2009 - 10:02 PM.

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