You are here

Wash Post quote sadly captures the essence of NN politics

I had to flag for folks a seminal quote on net neutrality in the Washington Post article today "Neutrality on the Net gets high '08 Profile."

  • "A veteran Democratic consultant who spoke on condition of anonymity was more blunt. Among Democratic candidates, "if you are not for net neutrality, then the blogs will kick your" rear. The grass roots groups that strongly favor it are relatively small but very noisy, she said "and you just don't want to have to deal with that."

This obviously very sharp Democratic operative understands what's really going on. 

  • It's not grass roots; its simple intimidation politics.
    • And the smart and practical path for Democratic presidential candidates is to give just enough lip service to the issue so that they don't have to deal with the bloggers ire.   

The blogilantes, which have been organized by and Free Press, have obviously gone to all the candidates and demanded: "say what we want to hear on net neutrality or we will blog that you are a monopolist tool and weak on Internet "democracy and Internet freedom" -- until you say uncle."

  • The problem with policy by intimidation is that it only gets you so far.
    • It may work well early in the Democratic primary process where the blogilantes have maximum political influence over fundraising and perception of momentum and support, but it is not a good strategy to truly win the hearts and minds of those politicians they need to deliver actual legislative change later in the process.
    • My guess is that the blogilantes will eventually rue the loss of their influence because they have so irresponsibly overplayed their political hand.  

The net neutrality issue to date -- has been nothing but a sucessful negative political campaign, devoid of policy substance, where they made up a nonsensical threat that companies want to and have an incentive to hijack the Internet from consumers.

  • They have little but scare tactics and negative campaigning to forward their cause.

The blogilantes will learn eventually that intimidation politics will only get them so far, and then it will backfire and be a liability in the later parts of the political process where they need loyal and positively motivated supporters. 

  • It appears that the net neutrality ringleaders come from the school of thought that: "the beatings will stop when the morale improves."