You can check out our slideshow of his responses here.
The New York democrat, who loves to stir up trouble at Fox News, responded to queries about campaign finance reform, health care, Israel, WikiLeaks, the Tea Party, and more.
Soon after the Wire reported Weiner’s open forum, we received an email from Eddie Geller, who founded a political action committee on Reddit — the 27-year-old actor was frustrated by the November 2010 elections and the possible death of net neutrality that they might result in. Originally conceived as RedditPAC, Geller’s organisation now known as the Open Source Democracy Foundation.
Geller says he feels strongly that Reddit is an excellent forum for politicians to reach out and speak with members of the public — He pointed out that quite a few politicians have done so before Weiner: John Garamendi (twice), Dennis Kucinich, Barney Frank, Ron Paul and Mike Gravel have all answered questions on Reddit.
“I wanted to let you know,” Geller added “that though it didn’t receive as much fanfare, our group got Al Franken to answer some of Reddit’s questions yesterday.”
The group had met with the Senator’s staff in February, and passed along a list of Redditor queries. Franken answered the questions here, and many on the subject of net neutrality but also about his voting for the PATRIOT act, something many Redditors had asked Geller about — before they realised he had voted against it.
Speaking with Geller by phone, I asked why he felt Reddit was a better forum for political Q & As than other social media, such as Twitter and Facebook.
“Basically, Reddit is people sharing links,” he said, “but the combination of that and finding a politician answering questions just very interesting. Reddit’s base is very political, and I think many Redditors are very well informed.”
According to Geller, the fact that politicians want to speak to the Reddit community “is a testament to how the website works: good comments rise to the top and I think people respect that.”
The best way for public figures to hold a forum on Reddit, Geller said, was to get in touch with moderators and administrators on the website, to help them promote “IamA” postings — IamA, which promotes a personal story such as Weiner’s “IAmA Democrat Who Fights, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY). AMA.” (AMA is a Reddit acronym which means “ask me anything.”)
According to Geller, Weiner’s responses were the most rewarding, for both readers and the Representative — for readers, “you can see that it’s him, sitting behind the computer and typing,” said Geller. “You get that feeling, with their Reddit username, they’re really answering these questions. It’s more personal and alive.”
Later yesterday evening, Geller sent an additional email with his final thoughts about Reddit:
“I want to convince Redditors of the power they can wield if they act collectively. They control the front page of a website that gets over 13 million unique visitors a month. If that’s not a powerful tool to propel a grassroots movement, then I don’t know what is.”
Westrunner: What's going on with Campaign Finance Reform? Is there any hope we'll see an attempt at it any time soon?
RepAnthonyWeiner: I am happy that so many people care about this issue. It is the foundation of so much of what ails the nation today. The supreme court has become an outgrowth of the pro-business wing of the GOP. We need a couple of things fast : transparency and improved rights of investors to stop public companies from crash landing on political campaigns.
I'm a middle class guy. If we dont have public financing soon, congress will have no more weiners. Uh, let me rephrase that...
WhiplashOne: When you met with your Republican colleagues, what was the most ridiculous defence of not voting for health care reform? Additionally, how difficult is it dealing with the other side when they deny science, i.e. climate change, etc.?
RepAnthonyWeiner: My colleagues are mostly good and honorable people but the GOP has a fundamentally different view of the world than I.
I see the disparity of income and the pressures on the vanishing middle class and I line up to help those struggling. I'm a democrat.
They line up to defend the status quo and the winners in the deals. They are Republicans.
postscarcity: Do you think that the health care law would work more efficiently if it were a single-payer system like most countries in the first world have adopted?
RepAnthonyWeiner: Uh, yes. But you dont need to look to other nations. Take the American plan - Medicare. Expand it to all americans.
Game. Set. Match.
IndustrialEngineer: Why do you unconditionally support the state of Israel? Why have you insisted in the past that the Palestinian Liberation organisation is a terrorist organisation, but you let Israel slide when it kicks Palestinians out of their homes to build new settlements?
RepAnthonyWeiner: I dont think I let anyone slide - including my own beloved nation. But I proceed with a set of values that leads me to support Israel strongly: I support democracies. I support nations that have thriving debate and press freedoms. I support nations that respect women. And I support nations that support the rule of law.
Israel is not perfect. But they are surrounded by violent enemies.
The plight of the Palestinians is untenable. I pray for two states living side by side in peace. But that can happen only through negotiation.
The point I was making is that the borders of Israel are not for me to decide. In the same debate we had a statement by a participant and many in the audience that Gaza was occupied. I dont think that is true.
But we are missing the primary point of agreement: the Palestinian people deserve better leadership than hamas. A violent terror organisation that rejects peaceful coexistence is an obvious obstacle to a two state solution.
JuliusMassage: Do you support Julian Assange, Wikileaks, and Bradley Manning?
RepAnthonyWeiner: The leaks were damaging but many of them showed what our leaders and others around the world really thought. Why is that a sercret?
I know we need to have secrets. What manning did or didn't do will be argued in a court.
ohheyitsjosh: Are you considering running as a Democratic Presidential candidate in 2012/16?
To a lesser degree of importance, when was the first time you heard someone tell you 'This Weiner's Got Balls!'?
RepAnthonyWeiner: I heard my last original weiner gag in the 5th grade.
'Vote for weiner, he'll be frank'
(thank you. please tip your waitresses)
CowboySpencer: How can we show the Tea Party crowd that they're not mad about taxes, they're mad about income inequality?
RepAnthonyWeiner: There are 3 tea parties. One is the actual human beings who are frustrated and feel disempowered and are livid we elected a Kenyan president. We should try to win them over.
But beware the other two groups:
The political class who are stoking and exploiting the anger and the business interests who's bidding is being done. They must be stopped. Not debating them.
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