The Tea Party and Net Neutrality

October 15, 2010 -

Could the Tea Party ultimately help to pass net neutrality legislation? While that might seem unlikely, and editorial on Nextgov tries to make the case, speaking to leaders on both sides of the issue. The Tea Party generally doesn't support net neutrality, because it see it as government intervention into a free market. But the real complaint the Tea Party has, according to experts, is the FCC's move to enact and enforce rules all on its own.

But groups that claim to have the ear of Tea party supporters say that, ultimately, members will support some sort of legislation put together by Congress. Why? Mainly because they do not want the FCC to be a lone sheriff making and enforcing rules.

"I thought the [House network neutrality bill] was a good starting point for a legislative approach," said Phil Kerpen, vice president of policy at the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. "It was very encouraging to see Congress willing to act on this."

"I think congressional action that includes something I would not prefer to see is better than reclassification," Kerpen added.

Conservative blog Red State endorsed the House net neutrality bill that Congressman Waxman proposed before lawmakers went home. Red State blogger Neil Stevens wrote on September 29 that "House Republicans need to get on board and support" Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman's legislation. Republican lawmakers were not listening.

Seton Motley, president of Less Government and editor in chief of StopNetRegulation recently said in a Washington Examiner editorial: "It's your job, Congressmen, to write and pass a bill that names the FCC the officer on duty. Until then, they are not."

"It wouldn't be that hard to gain some momentum in the tea party to support a bill that got to the heart of the issue," Wayne Brough, chief economist at Freedom Works said.

Brough said that FreedomWorks prefers Waxman's bill to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposal to reclassify broadband under Title II of the Communications Act. The Waxman bill would have taken reclassification out of the equation.

"The only reason [Congress] needs to act is to let the FCC know that what they are doing is exceeding their statutory authority," Brough said.

Several tea party organizations wrote the FCC in August urging the commission not to continue with "third way" reclassification. "I prefer, truth be told, that the government keep their hands off of this," said Lisa Miller, founder of Tea Party WDC and one of the signatories of the letter.

Read the rest here.


Comments

Re: The Tea Party and Net Neutrality

I would just like to remind everyone of my comments on the earlier story "Tea Partey Gets Policy Playbook, Rejects Net Neutrality" http://gamepolitics.com/2010/10/05/tea-party-gets-policy-playbook-rejects-net-neutrality

I basically said what this story says.

Re: The Tea Party and Net Neutrality

The Tea Party's not exactly known for being moderate, but that's a very reasonable and moderate position.  I agree with their misgivings about the FCC, and I too believe net neutrality should be passed by Congress.

It's not an issue of left or right or government intervention versus free market -- it's a question of treating every website, every person, equally.  And I don't think either most liberals OR most conservatives want the mainstream media companies to control what sites they have access to.

Re: The Tea Party and Net Neutrality

It's a very reasonable position.

they need to do it more.

Re: The Tea Party and Net Neutrality

Well duh belive it or not the tea party was founded on the ideals of the Constitution and bill of rights. With that said most of the negative press is more entertainment than news/facts. Another thing the tea party has been upsrped by corporate right wing nut jobs and has been make a laughing stock becuse of it.


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Re: The Tea Party and Net Neutrality

Every party claims to be founded on 'the ideals of the Constitution'.  

The problem is each group sees the Constitution differently, or at least selectively with vacuum, context, or literal, depending on how it buttresses any particular goal they have.

Re: The Tea Party and Net Neutrality

Yeah, I was thinking that.  It's really not fair to claim the Tea Party as the party of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (wait, aren't the Bill of Rights the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution?  isn't it redundant to list them both?), when very nearly all Parties feel they embody the Constitution (or at least the spirit of it) as well.

It's also not obvious that this is the stance that Tea Partiers would support for Net Neutrality.  The Tea Party is a pretty twisted entity right now, with Libertarian origins, Religious Conservative ground-swell recently, corporate backing pulling the strings behind the curtain, and a sprinkling of good old fashioned incoherent hatred and anger directed at whomever happens to be standing in the spotlight at the moment.  Not to mention that the people seem to just take whatever stance the political media personalities tell them to take, so long as the rant/speech has "low taxes, small government" memes thrown in for good measure.  So it's hard to just assume how this group feels about things like NN, or anything, without someone going out and asking them.

Look, when you stop and listen to some of the more legitimate leaders of the Party, much of what they're saying sounds like good sense.  I'm actually quite impressed with their ideas.  But the Tea Party as a whole is just a mess and nothing to celebrate.

Re: The Tea Party and Net Neutrality

Sir, stop being a snob. Yes it's redundant to list "the Consitution and the Bill of Rights" as the Bill of Rights is part of the Constition. I think what was meant was, "the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence." And that's what's worth celebrating, that average ordinary Americans are rising up with the basic idea that we need to return to our roots of basic American values in our politics. That is exciting and wonderful. Admittedly, alot of Tea Party goers are pretty ignorant - because alot of Tea Party goers have never, ever in their lives been politically active before! And there is no central figure, no one demogauge leading them whom they follow without question and they became active when it wasn't even an election year!

Absolutely no one is daft enough to claim that Net Neutrality is anything like a main issue for the Tea Party movement and I think as more people generally come to understand what it means and what tiered Internet service would mean, they will be solidly behind the idea of Net Neutrality. They may disagree on how to implement it politically: I doubt any conservative groups would be willing to let the FCC do it unilaterally, as the conservatives believe that government agencies like the FCC already have way too much power that ought to belong to the legislature, the States or (preferably, given the "limited government" stance) the people, but will we do it? I think yes. And don't pay attention to the supposed "Tea Party organizations" or "organizers." They haven't anywhere near as much power as they think they have.

 
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