This is what we know. The White House put some IT guys up to a task....build a on-line petition tool. You log on....post up a petition of any wording or topic you want. If five thousand people "sign" that digital petition....then the White House has a couple of guys who take that to the next level....thinking about it and then responding to the petition. It doesn't mean too much....in fact....it means almost nothing other than sixty seconds of mention yesterday via the news about the on-line tool.
I sat and pondered about this. Petitions have been around for hundreds of years. For the most part....they act as a tool of the common citizen. The trigger here? Either you get something on the ballot or you get some politician who can't understand people or who can't interact with the public. Petitions are this last-ditch method of fixing something that folks are angry about.
So you can imagine this kid in Iowa....angry about too many aliens and UFOs visiting Iowa. So he posts this petition that mandates the US government finally kick out the aliens (the REAL aliens). He gets eighty thousand kids from Iowa to agree with him. The White House team of Barney and Karl sit there....and they have to respond. The expected answer? The UFO guys are protected by the Constitution....so Barney and Karl (working for the President)....can't do anything about the UFO visits or probing episodes.
Then you have this religious group from Florida who wants wet T-shirt contests completely outlawed across America. They post the petition and get 300k folks to sign it within a four-day period. Barney and Karl sit there....mostly grinning.....and then finally admit that this is more a state-issue than a federal-issue. They hate admitting this because it goes against the President's view of all matters being federal, but you just can't allow Congress into the act of discussing wet T-shirt contests (they'd want to have demonstrations of how it works, and things would go downhill fast).
Finally, you'd have some engineer guy who'd post a petition that recommends that the President and his staff...while traveling on Air Force One....never carry more than forty pounds of luggage. This would save on fuel costs and save America tax funding. There'd probably be well over five million folks vote to agree with this petition. Sadly, Barney and Karl would realize that the whole dang petition business is just more fuel to a fire that you don't want burning.
My prediction is that the on-line petition "toy" lasts until summer of 2012, and then quietly gets taken down. Both Barney and Karl resign around this time, and end up in Galveston running a fruity drink bar on the beach called "The Petition This-Club".