Two days ago I attended an "Informal Roundtable Discussion" with the title "The Internet in Power - Networked Governance or Virtual Disconnect?". It was facilitated by Steven Clift, the moderator of the 1400-subscriber Democracies Online Newswire. We were using facilities provided by the Center for Democracy and Technology. There were 23 people in the room and 2 more who teleconferenced in.
It was a good event - a new group of people that I hadn't been around before. Several people there had previously worked on Capitol Hill (for the US Congress), one gentleman was from the White House, and I sat next to Owen Ambur from the still-forming XML.gov There were also people from other various other groups, universities, and consulting companies.
The gentleman from the White House (i didn't catch his name) spoke about how no government agency is responsible for creating e-government solutions. A lot of agencies have partial responsibility, but there is no person or organization in the US government to act as a "hub" for the whole government's e-government initiatives. Another gentleman suggested that this would be the job of a government-wide CIO.
A few minutes later I was able to speak up and tell them that they were describing TDP. Among other things, TDP is intended to be exactly what the man from the White House described - a "hub" to facilitate the creation of e-democracy and e-government Open/Free software. I had said that it doesn't make sense for 50 state governments, plus however many provincial, national, continental and local governments to all be building basically the same pieces of software from scratch. Everyone is - very inefficiently - re-inventing the wheel. It makes more sense to create one application with 95% of the functionality needed by everyone, then everyone adds their own 5% of customized functionality. This makes much more sense economically and in other ways, too.
I stayed after and was able to have good discussions with Steve Clift and Owen Ambur. I had wanted to speak with some of the others, but they got out the door before I was able to.