Friday was one such day as several dozen Democratic representatives buckled to phone and cable lobbyists and signed on to a letter designed to sow doubt about Net Neutrality.
Too often, in complicated matters of communications policy, members will take industry lobbyists at their word and sign on to whatever is foisted upon them. The phone and cable lobby funnel so much cash into campaign coffers that it’s easier to wave off the wonkery and just go along.
But these Dems should have thought twice before signing this letter (pdf). It was orchestrated by the phone and cable lobby as a warning shot across the bow of new Democratic majority at the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC’s three Democrats are poised to fulfill Obama's pledge to make Net Neutrality a reality. It's an action that has received strong support from Democratic leadership across the board. If the FCC Dems succeed it would mark a massive win for the millions of people and many progressives who have fought so hard for this.
But deep-pocketed telco lobbyists have launched an all-out assault to derail the FCC. Phone and cable companies have hired more than 500 lobbyists, spent tens of millions of dollars, and unleashed sleazy Astroturf groups to mislead politicians, distort the facts, and resurrect long-debunked myths.
One letter signer, Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado, may have just realized his mistake. He is now in damage control here on DailyKos where he wrote:
I strongly support Net Neutrality and have been working on a letter to circulate advocating a regulatory approach that keeps the internet public and free… I'll post my own letter on dailykos later this week, and encourage you to ask your reps to sign it.This new letter is a good start. I can't wait to read it. But if Polis truly wants to make amends, he should sign on with Rep. Waxman, Eshoo and Markey as co-sponsors of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 (HR 3458). He should also write a separate letter to Chairman Genachowski of the FCC pledging his support of strong Net Neutrality rules.
The other Dems who signed Friday’s letter should do the same.
The fight for Net Neutrality is very real, and it's getting nasty. You can send a message to Washington by adding your name to the 2-million-person call to action.
And if you see your representatives' names at the bottom of that telco letter, you might want to give them a call and remind them who's really the boss.