Tuesday, February 19, 2008

John McCain on net neutrality: splunge!

In an effort to keep net neutrality a hot topic through this election cycle, Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Chip Pickering (R-MS) introduced the “Internet Freedom Preservation Act” last week. Though weaker than some of Markey’s initiatives from previous sessions, the 2008 act makes it explicit that an open internet is Federal policy, and requires that the FCC to hold hearings on net neutrality.

So where does Republican frontrunner John McCain stand on this issue? McCain was interviewed late last year by Brian Lehrer for WNYC, New York Public Radio; the interview was replayed as part of a Presidents’ Day segment about the remaining candidates in the ’08 race. The Senator from Arizona was asked where he stood on net neutrality. In what was less than a concise answer, McCain first says that it’s important that one big money player doesn’t crowd out everyone, and then states that it’s a hard subject and we must take a look at it. He then changes subject to internet taxes (he believes that a tax moratorium should be extended, by the way).

After a few minutes, interviewer Lehrer circles back to net neutrality and says that he had read that McCain was opposed to it, to which the Senator replies: “Look, I go back and forth on the issue, it’s a very hard issue, and I continue to take a look at it.”

The entire interview is a case study in less-than-straight talk—an exercise in pandering that I expect McCain thought would not be heard outside the New York City area—but the answers to questions about net neutrality are especially pathetic. . . and are an especially good example of what the Asshole from Arizona does on most issues.

(It seems that pretending to be all things to all people while toeing the George W. Bush line 99% of the time is all that it takes to be a “maverick” these days. If you break it down, I guess there is a difference—the difference between saying one thing and doing another, and saying nothing and doing the same thing as the dishonest Republican President that came before.)

Save the Internet is looking to get 100 US Representatives to cosponsor the IFPA (HR 5353). The three Senators still seeking the presidency are “spared” this moment of truth (for the record, both Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have stated that they support giving the FCC the power to enforce net neutrality), but what about your Representative? Save the Internet has a tool to help you ask (h/t mcjoan).

(cross-posted on The Seminal and Daily Kos)

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