At a time when Democrat-controlled Washington seems more out of touch with Americans ever, Republicans are eager to fill the communication vacuum, and for obvious reasons. Their YouCut program, begun by Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., has polled supporters on spending cuts that should get a vote on the House floor -- to cut federal funding for Stimulus road signs, for example, and for union activities. And House Republicans have successfully brought the program's winning ideas up for (unsuccessful) votes.
America Speaking Out is the GOP's latest initiative at constituent dialogue, an online forum for voters to interact directly with Members of Congress—sans media filter. The home page, underwritten by the office of Minority Leader John Boehner, features regularly updated content and links to the site’s five primary message boards: American prosperity, fiscal accountability, American values, national security, and “open mic.” Once a user has created an account, he or she can propose and vote on policy ideas. According to Brendan Buck, director of communications for House GOP Legislative Initiatives, the site is designed to "create an agenda with a dose of humility."
In less than two months, America Speaks Out has proven popular. It has picked up close to 60,000 users, who have proposed and voted on 10,000 ideas, and whose lively discussions line the comments section.