Obama administration starting to flinch on what had been its most progressive policy area

by: Chris Bowers

Mon May 03, 2010 at 13:34


When President Obama was campaigning for President, his proposals on maintaining and strengthening an open internet were perhaps the most progressive of all his proposed policies.  In late 2007, Matt Stoller called these proposals "transformative."

After the campaign, protecting Net Neutrality had been perhaps the Obama administration's most progressive accomplishment.  When a reluctant, telecom-controlled Congress refused to act to defend Net Neutrality, the FCC moved forward without them. Go ahead, try to think of other examples where the Obama administration went around Congress to fight corporate power--there might not be any others.

However, this point of light in the Obama administtraion may be fading.  Faced with a  court decision that requires the FCC to reverse a Bush-era ruling in order to protect Net Neutrality, the FCC appears ready not to reverse the old rule.  Mcjoan presents a solid overview:

Last month, a federal appeals court ruled that the FCC had limited authority to regulate broadband services, and that it could not require broadband providers to adhere to network neutrality rules under its general authority to regulate telecommunications.

The ruling is a result, in part, of the FCC's decision in the 2002 Cable Modem Order "to treat broadband providers not as common carriers subject to regulation under Title II of the Federal Communications Act, but rather as 'information services' which would be subject to much less stringent regulations." The most straightforward response to this ruling, and the one that would ensure the ability of the FCC to enforce net neutrality, would be to revisit that 2002 decision, and treat broadband providers as common carriers and thus regulate them under their Title II authority.

But sources within the FCC say that FCC Chair Julius Genachowski is "leaning toward keeping the current regulatory framework for broadband services in place."


These are not idle rumors--a lot of open internet advocates are really freaked out about this.

Just three months ago, President Obama reiterated that he is a "big believer" in Net Neutrality.  We will see if those words meant anything depending on what the FCC does, or not not do, in the coming days.

Chris Bowers :: Obama administration starting to flinch on what had been its most progressive policy area

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The "Fierce Advocate" Strikes Again! (4.00 / 7)
Why am I not surprised?

Folks who let him slide on issues less important to them have only themselves to blame.

Well, not really.  But you know what I mean.

Once the habit of wimping out is tolerated on 27 issues, it's pretty hard to break it on issue #28.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


Shock! (4.00 / 2)
Hey, at least he's consistent.  28 in a row!  That's something to campaign on!

[ Parent ]
Peanut Butter Man! (0.00 / 0)
Woo-hoo!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
This Just In: Dog Bites Man (4.00 / 1)
At this point, I suppose we should probably thank the President for being so completely predictable. Obama will always take the position of his corporate benefactors, no matter how much damage that position does to this country, it's economy, environment, polity or standing in the world. Full Stop.

Sounds a lot like a certain coke-addled Texan, doesn't it?

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


So you think his FCC (4.00 / 1)
was fighting for net neutrality for the past year just to put on a show, and only now they will show his true colors and help his corporate benefactors. Is that the theory??

Come on, thats Obama derangement syndrome. We all know what's going on, Obama or his FCC Chair have decided that they don't want to fight, and that is enough to get us pissed off and criticize the administration without having to make it seem like this was their grand plan all along. .  


[ Parent ]
Well, I think using the word "derangement" shows where you're coming from. (4.00 / 3)
Doesn't want to fight? As if that's somehow OK, when that is PRECISELY why we put him in office in the first place? Look, fighting is his job. That's what he volunteered to do and that's what we voted for.

So I would venture to say I'm not the deranged one here.

Isn't it funny how he's willing to fight for Wall Street, but not Main Street? Isn't it funny how he's willing to fight for monopolistic interests, but not genuinely entrepreneurial ones? Some capitalist he's turned out to be!

He fights for the Medical Industrial Complex, but not those of us being raped by said industry. He fights to protect war criminals, but not their victims. He's fighting to lower our standard of living, not improve it.

Now he's going to fight to protect the oil industry from the fallout of the greatest environmental disaster in US history. But I'm sure you won't mind at all.

So he fights alright. He's just fighting for the wrong people and he's on the wrong side.

Net Neutrality isn't some silly pet issue for technogeeks. It has massive implications for democracy and our economy. He knows it--hell AT&T, Verizon and Comcast all know it too. You apparently are willing to ignore all that with a grade school rationalization about "not wanting to fight, because fighting is icky and we shouldn't begrudge him not wanting to fight."

And you think I'm deranged?


"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


[ Parent ]
Voltaire (4.00 / 1)
You know, when Voltaire said, "When they can make you believe absurdities, they can make you commit atrocities," he wasn't implying that is somehow a good thing.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
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