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No We Can't Use The White House Website

The Obama Administration has made a big deal about how hard it was working at its transition, and specifically, about how the White House web site had undergone a dramatic transformation to make it more useful to the American people.

A proud article posted just one minute after Barack Obama became President declared, “One of the first changes is the White House’s new website, which will serve as a place for the President and his administration to connect with the rest of the nation and the world… This site will feature timely and in-depth content meant to keep everyone up-to-date and educated.”

That was a fast start, but on day 2, it looks like what the Obama White House web team had in speed, it lacked in thoroughness and follow through. There hasn’t been a blog post with information about the supposedly quick changes to the Executive Branch being put in place by President Obama since 2:15 yesterday afternoon.

As Rowan noted, the White House blog reports that Barack Obama issued a proclamation declaring yesterday to be National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation. That’s great for the blog, but in the online Briefing Room, in the section about proclamations, it doesn’t list that reconciliation. Instead, it says that “The President has not yet issued any Proclamations.”

When I wanted to read the text of the Inaugural Address, I went to the search function on the web site and searched for “inaugural address” That search brought up 11 results, but only one of them had anything to do with Barack Obama’s inaugural address. That search looked promising, with a summary that included the text, “JANUARY 20, 12:01 PM EST Read The Inaugural Address The full text of President Obama’s Inaugural Address”. When I clicked on that link, however, it took me to the front page of the White House blog, which had absolutely no link whatsoever to the Obama Inaugural Address. To find the transcript of Barack Obama’s own inaugural speech I went instead to a TV station in Tennessee.

The office of the White House Public Liaison doesn’t have anything other than a form for people to fill out. The page on nominations and confirmations has information about nominations, but not about confirmations, even though 6 nominees were confirmed yesterday.

Last night at the “neighborhood” inaugural ball, Barack Obama promised that he would announce a big range of initiatives to the public this morning. Well, there are about 5 minutes left in the morning now, and there are no announcements. Reuters characterized Obama as “acting swiftly on his first full day in office”, but in truth, Obama took his time on getting to work, sauntering through yet another batch of government-sanctioned prayers with a big collection of religious preachers. This get-around-to-it attitude seems to be at work with the White House web communication staff too, if they’re on the job at all.

Obama promised to hit the ground running. The White House web site, however, appears to have just hit the ground.

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