Altered States

Change You Can’t Click On

After one big change, Obama makes a few smaller changes to his Web site.


Now that the election is over, it’s time to break some campaign promises! Because of the Web’s constant hunger for new information, President-elect Barack Obama is in a uniquely difficult spot. He’s issued and revised so many white papers and policy proposals that if he so much as sneezes the wrong way, he risks reversing something published on his campaign Web site. His transition site,, isn’t helping matters. Over the weekend, all of the policy pages on the site were removed. Their caterpillar-short life certainly suggests that change is coming. Fortunately for Obama, most people don’t take ephemera published on the Web as seriously as, say, “Read my lips” statements caught on tape. So it’s perhaps not surprising that the changes attracted widespread notice but not very much controversy.

There are a few smaller but puzzling changes. Like this: Obama still believes in community service, apparently, but not enough to require students to do it. Nor is he much interested in your “vision” for America if you are not American. For a while, he was seeking comments from folks in other countries on what he should do as president. Now there’s no field for your country—the form assumes you’re American. “President of the world”? Maybe not.

Finally, Obama’s astonishing gain of more than 700,000 new Facebook friends in 10 days has got to be a record. (During the same period, McCain lost 1,000 friends.) Maybe Obama could be president of Facebook, if not the world.