Whitehouse.gov Gets Makeover

As many have noted, whitehouse.gov was changed over to reflect the new administration before the oath of office was even taken.  I’ve got no problem with that; Obama became president at the stroke of noon Eastern, regardless of the sequence of the ceremony.

I am just a wee bit dubious about this, however:

Whitehouse.gov Gets Makeover
First, the campaign is over.  He’s now president of the country.  Why does it look like his campaign website just changed URLs?

Second, not to be nitpicky, but there was no such person as “President Obama” on January 19.

Looking at the Wayback Machine to confirm that George W. Bush didn’t convert the official website of the presidency into a campaign website, I was reminded of how rudimentary sites were back on February 2, 2001, the first archived day of the Bush presidency:

And, no, it’s not just Republican technological inadequacy. Here’s what it looked like on January 18, 2001:

Even at 600 pixels, the site’s blurry because it’s nothing but text and links. Small text with undifferentiated fonts, unless one counts boldface.

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. just me says:

    I think one huge change since 2001 is the fact that websites use a lot more images. Shoot youtube didn’t exist back then.

    I do agree with you though, that the website looks more like a campaign site than a government site, but I wonder how much it is the images chosen and the layout than the actual content.

  2. HiItsNino says:

    This is a ridiculous posting, the second in only 2 weeks time. Please stick to reasoned analysis if you wish to keep your readers.

    Finally, a content rich white house web-site that looks like one should in 2009. Remember, the president needs to sell his plan to congress so its no surprise that the web-site focuses on his agenda for the future.

  3. Triumph says:

    I am just a wee bit dubious about this, however:

    Well, this shouldn’t surprise us. Obama has been measuring the drapes at the White House for months.

    The fact that Hussein allegedly entered office under such questionable circumstances today we should be prepared for this type of tomfoolery.

    In fact, this is a clear violation of federal election law. Congress needs to look into this ASAP. Unfortunately, the “yes men” liberals headed by San Fran Pelosi won’t ask any questions.

  4. tom p says:

    This is a ridiculous posting, the second in only 2 weeks time. Please stick to reasoned analysis if you wish to keep your readers.

    James, if you want to keep this reader, don’t change a thing. Besides, I like when you get nit-picky… it gives me permission to be n-p in return.

  5. G.A.Phillips says:

    This is a ridiculous posting, the second in only 2 weeks time. Please stick to reasoned analysis if you wish to keep your readers.

    lol

  6. Steven Donegal says:

    First, the campaign is over. He’s now president of the country.

    Perhaps 8 years of W has fogged your brain. The best Presidents don’t quit campaigning. To a large extent, that’s what leading a country is about–campaigning to convince people to accept your policy solutions. Here’s to the continual campaign and an end to the “my way or the highway” of the last 8 years.

  7. Steve Verdon says:

    Maybe Barack Obama with be our Commander-and-Blogger.

    Sheesh.

  8. tom p says:

    Maybe Barack Obama with be our Commander-and-Blogger.

    Steve, go back and read SD’s post. I think he said it quite well. If you don’t like it, I think you can continue to be “blogger at least”.

    “Sheeesh” indeed.

  9. Steve Verdon says:

    I don’t know tom the idea of having a blog on the White House website…meh. Calling it the briefing room, or something else…just doesn’t sound right to me. That is what I was referring too. You did see that, right?

    As for Steven’s comment, I find it disquieting. I see compaigns as basically exercises in propaganda and lying and smearing, at least the kind James is talking about.

  10. anjin-san says:

    Well James, were you happier with the White House site of the Bush era, where they had to scrub their own website?

    As someone who’s career is deeply rooted in the internet, I am happy to be able to go to the White House site and not get the creeps. First time I have been able to say that in many years…

  11. odograph says:

    Obviously it is a campaign, for public service, just as it says. His happy family helps, and so can yours.

    There are a lot of curmudgeons out there. I might be one myself, but I draw the line (as I think I said a day or two ago) at raining on someone else’s parade.

    Why not shut up at this point, and if he gets people out there volunteering, if he gets kids to work harder in school, enjoy the benefit?

  12. Brian J. says:

    Odograph is exactly right, and by “right” I mean what we have to look forward to for the next couple years.

    The left has been out of power and carping for eight years with varying degrees of derangement and juvenility. Now that they’re set to rule the same way, it’s the right’s turn to shut up and take it.

  13. James says:

    Okay, you’re grousing about a picture of the First Family doing some public service, distributing food at a shelter, before the inauguration. You click on #1 and it’s a long shot of the Capitol during inauguration. #2 is Obama the candidate talking to a worker. #3 is a shot of the White House. And the one you are grousing about is #4.

    Those photos were posted *during* the inauguration, so there weren’t any photos available of Obama as President, because he had just been sworn in at the time. They happen to illustrate major themes of the new Presidency. Rather well-designed, too, I might add.

    I fail to see exactly what has everyone’s dander up. A shot of Obama’s family distributing food? And you object to that, because it’s too much like a campaign? Maybe you conservatives don’t understand the joy of public service. You should try it some time. Seriously.

  14. dutchmarbel says:

    I’m confused. You’re complaining that they didn’t write president-elect, that the government website is too attractive and that Obama tries to set an example by doing things instead of just saying that everybody does them? Or did I miss something obvious?

  15. James Joyner says:

    I’m confused. You’re complaining that they didn’t write president-elect, that the government website is too attractive and that Obama tries to set an example by doing things instead of just saying that everybody does them? Or did I miss something obvious?

    I’m complaining that they’re using the official website of the presidency to highlight campaign stunts and continue the campaign. “CHANGE HAS COME TO AMERICA,” the whistle stop nonsense, and so forth aren’t the public’s business. And, yes, on January 19th he wasn’t the president.

  16. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    James get ready for the critique of the left for pointing out in Obama, what they would have howled over if Bush done. and gin,(you must be a sot)how many times did the Obama website get scrubbed? Several if mind serves. I know, that was just updating. I am cooking up some crow for you to eat. It will be servered cold with a RED sauce just for you.

  17. pylon says:

    “President Obama did X on Jan. 19” is correct, even though he wasn’t president then. Just like “President Obama was born in 1961” is correct even though he wasn’t president then.

  18. dutchmarbel says:

    I am no great Obama fan, but this does seem to be rather petty critisism.