Executive Power

"We Demand a Vapid, Condescending, Meaningless, Politically Safe Response to This Petition."


Reason has cast a gimlet eye on the White House's "We the People" petition site before. (See Peter Suderman's "5,000 Signatures Will Get You a Response From White House Policy Wonks, Unless Your Idea is "Bad" or About Weed") But some enterprising citizens have take the enterprise of questioning the enterprise even further, submitting this petition on the site:

We demand a vapid, condescending, meaningless, politically safe response to this petition.

Since these petitions are ignored apart from an occasional patronizing and inane political statement amounting to nothing more than a condescending pat on the head, we the signers would enjoy having the illusion of success. Since no other outcome to this process seems possible, we demand that the White House immediately assign a junior staffer to compose a tame and vapid response to this petition, and never attempt to take any meaningful action on this or any other issue. We would also like a cookie.

After being hit with questions about UFOs and legalizing weed, the White House has raised the threshold for a guaranteed response to 25,000 e-signatures in 30 days. To date, the petition has 9,228. (Thanks in part to getting some media coverage yesterday.) Go to town, commenters.

Via Jerry Brito's Google+ feed, where he describes the petition as "fatalistic and cynical." I agree. And I would also like a cookie.


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    Why no pony’s though? Doesn’t anyone want a pony anymore?

    1. Sure, if you’ll clean up after him.

      1. Yeah, he’ll tell you he’s going to clean up after him but you know you’re going to be the one stuck doing it.

    2. Here, just so it’s near the top of the thread, is the actual petition link:


      1. Sigh. Copy, paste, I guess.

  2. We demand a vapid response

    And you have come to the right place.

  3. Because cookies are an unwelcome contributor to the twin national epidemics of obesity and diabetes, your request must be denied.

    1. “Because cookies are an unwelcome contributor to the twin national epidemics of obesity and diabetes, your request must be denied.”

      What!! Boo!! I make an excellent oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.

  4. Via Jerry Brito’s Google+ feed, where he describes the petition as “fatalistic and cynical.”

    He almost makes that sound like a bad thing.

    1. Because the non-fatalistic and cynical petitions garnered so much attention from the administration…

      I mean, even the “eliminate the EPA” could have been addressed with a discussion about how far such a regulatory agency should be able to go. But to just say, “Mmmmno, moving on…”

      1. On the plus side, this will be the first WH.gov petition that ever gets what the petitioners ask for.

  5. Nice.

    This administration is good at nothing else, but vapid substanceless condescension is still be easily within their power.

    1. Vapid is as vapid does.

    2. I’m sure they’ll somehow manage to screw even this up.

  6. An actual link to the petition might be useful..

    Here is another one for people with snark sensitivity disorder

    1. It looks like they got all butt-sore, and removed the petition. When I try to sign, I get a 404 error. Lame….

      1. The petition has not been removed. I just signed it.

        1. Yay. I was able to sign, now. I guess the site was flooded with requests.

  7. Self-editation is hsrd.

  8. Go to town, commenters.

    Can we go to “Jerry Brito sounds like a parody of a bitch” town? Because I find his meatloaf rather shallow and pedantic.

  9. The marijuana petitions never got me to register or sign anything, because I knew what the responses would be. This, however, was worth signing up for.

  10. I’ll do it for a chocolate chip cookie. I’m not doing for a nasty,stale ginger snap.

  11. Anyone mind copy/pasting the interesting bits? No Javascript and no cookies mean I can’t view their crappy page.

    1. That’s regarding the petitions on the White House site, in case there was any ambiguity.

    2. KMW copied the whole thing in her post.

      1. I wanted to read some of the other ones mentioned as well. I guess I’ll have to wait until I have normal browser access.

  12. I would presume the junior staffers assigned to vapid condescending meaningless statements are already busy working on the SoTU. But it’d be Epic if BHO handed out cookies right there in Congress.

  13. Is it that hard to add a link to the petition?


  14. I think the petition to stop Nickleback from playing at the Thanksgiving Day half time show is the only petition worth signing.

    1. Er… welcome to last week’s new cycle?

  15. First petition I’ve ever signed.

  16. Talking in general about the current administration, I was struck by an interview with Bill Clinton I heard on NPR this morning.

    Mainly, it hit me just how much smarter Bill Clinton is than Barack Obama. Maybe my opinion has been colored by various biases and the like, but just listening to Clinton talk made me realize that he’s several notches above Obama.

    None of this is to suggest that I agree with Clinton’s ideas– it has nothing to do with that. There just seems to be an acumen there that Obama lacks.

    It also could be that Clinton is no longer president so now even he can talk in less vapid, vague non-statements.

    Either that or I’ve become so politically depressed that even Clinton sounds good.

    1. You are not the first person I have heard say this. Clinton was smart, Obama doesn’t have that problem, he just knows how to talk a good game.

    2. I think you’re correct. Clinton is like Newt. You may reasonably disagree with all of his positions, but unlike the current potentate, he is an extremely intelligent person.

      1. I never understood how people think Newt is an “intellectual powerhouse”. He says some smart things sometimes, but then he says something really, really stupid that makes me wonder how the heck he was ever a professor. I mean, really stupid. Clinton may be a lefty, but he doesn’t think we’re going to be living in a secular sharia law society.

    3. Conservatives disliked Bill Clinton in the ’90s because he WAS smart, and thus could prove to be a more effective executive with the wrong ideas.

      Conservatives disliked Obama because he was so undeserving of the job, and was getting elected for a bunch of stupid reasons, and was thus DANGEROUS with the wrong ideas.

  17. Your self-centered demand for a cookie is typical of the selfish, greedy, me-first attitude we have learned to expect from you racist/sexist/ageist/children-hating/homophobe/”just-let-old-people-die” libertarians.

    1. Damn! I hadn’t even signed on yet.

    2. you forgot “top hat wearing, monocle adjusting, mustache twisting”

      1. You forgot money grubbing. Never forget money grubbing

      2. Twirling. One twirls a mustache, one doesn’t twist it.

  18. I think there’s a good chance this will get answered since they didn’t ask for a pot brownie. It meets all the other criteria for getting a response.

  19. Done and done.

  20. 1% of the monsters are eating 99% of the cookies. I also want a cookie.


  21. We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty.

    1. And what, just generally defined fear? If you’re not going to go all out, don’t even bother signing.

      1. (it’s a hitchhikers guide to the galaxy reference…)

  22. I tried to sign and the page could not be found. Maybe a petition ot have the other petition re-posted.

    1. I tried to sign as well and kept getting a 404 error. If I were a betting man, I would say this gets pulled before it hits the magical number of 25,000.

  23. Funny sheep!

  24. It’s got almost 10k signatures in four days? I love it. There’s no way it won’t get 15k more in four weeks, once the usual social media popularity curve takes over.

  25. If you want to sign the petition you need a WhiteHouse.gov account, but they’re not averse to Mailinator.

    1. I never remember that mailinator is available for these kinds of things. Thanks for the reminder.

  26. the page could not be found.

    It’s in the file with the Vogons’ proposal to replace the earth with an on-ramp.

  27. So I went and signed it.

    It felt like a vapid and meaningless act – but a GOOD kind of vapid and meaningless.

  28. Were I the WH Chief of Staff, I’d get someone senior to file a cogent and well-reasoned argument against this petition just to keep the record perfect.

  29. We would also like a cookie.

    Something tells me you’ll get plenty of cookies, if you go to that petition site.

    1. I was going to say…they’ll gladly give you a cookie to track your every internet movement. That was a bad thing to ask for.

  30. I’d go sign the petition, but only if I could do it from Eric Holder or Janet Napalitano’s laptop.

  31. In the time it took me to sign up for and confirm my Whitehouse.gov account, the petition had received 400 more signatures. The power of Reason?

  32. In the time it took me to sign up for and confirm my Whitehouse.gov account, the petition had received 400 more signatures. The power of Reason?

  33. Anyone else get a Livejasmine popup when they signed the petition?

    1. Did you go to whitehouse.com or whitehouse.gov? Didn’t the former used to be an “adult” site?

  34. For the record, I was being sarcastic when I said it was fatalistic and cynical. That’s how some of my liberal friends describe my attitude toward government.

  35. Up to 10,684.

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