Web extra: Bush administration taps into blogger power

Clay Johnson says bloggers can help the administration educate lawmakers about government

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act is a rare instance. Bloggers do not often make a collaborative effort for one initiative.

But some issues resonate in the community. As the Bush administration looks to capitalize on the blogger movement, its success depends on issues that inspire the blogosphere, bloggers say.

“Pork spans both sides of the aisle, and both liberals and conservatives will benefit from seeing where the money is going,” said Debbie Schlussel, writer for the conservative Debbie Schlussel blog. No one wants less transparency.

Officials need “red-meat conservative issues” to get the conservative blogs to champion them, she said. “When they are touting good, old-fashioned conservative red-meat issues — like exposing government pork — they will succeed with bloggers’ help.”

John Hawkins, writer for Right Wing News, said officials can use the community’s momentum to achieve mutual goals. “It isn’t about command and control. It’s about riding a wave.”

Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, said he knows that if the bloggers aren’t interested, OMB will not get their attention. Nevertheless, he wants the information to be available for those who are interested.

“Despite increasing attempts by politicians to manipulate the blogosphere, bloggers in general are still a pretty independent lot,” said Rob Port, writer for Say Anything blog. “Getting a group — a diverse group — of bloggers to agree on almost anything would be tough — doubly tough for an administration as controversial as the Bush administration.”

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