By Editor-in-chief
updated 10/31/2006 8:24:36 AM ET 2006-10-31T13:24:36

Republican or Democrat or fence-sitting swing, there is one issue that unites American voters who are otherwise divided on the Iraq war, the economy and other election-season topics. It’s the gnawing lack of accountability in government.

At, an issues-based community of grassroots Opinion Drivers, voters of all stripes agree that their leaders are failing them. They are using the newly launched social networking site to flesh out ideas for making government more accountable.

”Government accountability,’’ writes an anonymous community member who goes by the name ‘ceruleana,’ “It’s an oxymoron.” The sentiment is repeated throughout the site as community members form discussion groups, or “Loops,” around a variety off issues.

  • On Rep. Mark Foley’s email scandal, a Member said politicians and the media are missing the point. “This story is not about sex. It’s about our inability to trust those that represent us.’’
  • On Iraq, a Member said Democrats and Republicans failed the nation and don’t have the guts to admit it. “What we need in Washington is a few people who can look into a camera and say, ‘I made a mistake.’’’
  • On the controversy over negative ads, a Member said, “It’s not negative if it’s true and based on issues. This is the only way to hold our leaders to account.”

In a poll of early registrants at HOTSOUP, more than half of the respondents cited “making government work” and “ethics and honesty in American life’’ as the most important issues ignored by today’s leaders and the mainstream media. By comparison, only 9 percent cited Iraq. HOTSOUP members obviously consider Iraq a critical issue, but they view the war as part of a broader, systematic failure of national leadership.

Why is this important? The HOTSOUP community is comprised of people whose opinions tend to influence those around them. They are the people at the front end of trends. No matter what party wins Nov. 7, count on voter disenchantment to grow unless the system changes dramatically.

For more on the community’s ideas, go to and its loops on politics.

Ron Fournier, is the editor-in-chief of the political, social networking site,

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