House Republicans launched a new social networking site Thursday to collect ideas from ordinary Americans, a project they say is designed to open up a conversation that Democrats have kept behind closed doors.

“We recognize that Americans don’t want an agenda imposed on them from Washington,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the chief deputy whip, who is the driving force behind the new site, www.AmericaSpeakingOut.com. “We will gather ideas from all corners of America and engage in a civil discussion.”

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McCarthy flew to Washington state to meet with Microsoft executives to track down the software to build it — he “discovered a Microsoft program that helped NASA map the moon,” McCarthy said — and the company recommended graphic designers in Boulder, Colo., to make the flashy graphics.

The fact that Microsoft is involved doesn't mean anything. It's just an interesting localizing component of the news. What's funny—to me—is the notion that Democrats have kept discussion behind closed doors (health care town halls, anyone?) or that Republicans are trying to "engage in a civil discussion" (health care town halls, anyone?).

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