What, Not Who, Will Matter More at Obama’s FCC

November 11, 2008

For policy wonks, the time between election and inauguration is sweet — kind of like a fantasy football draft, when everyone tries to figure out who’s going to score the most and the busts to avoid when putting together a new team from scratch. In the small world of things telecom, the hot stove league kicked off in fine fashion today with a BusinessWeek post detailing the short list of fine folks reportedly under consideration to lead Barack Obama’s FCC.

While I joined the conversation about the matter that is earnestly underway over at GigaOM, my further musings on the the subject are a bit more nuanced. As I went through the names and the arguments, it sort of occurred to me that things might be a whole lot different this time around, and so it might not matter as much who it is atop the FCC.

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McCain Rep Bails on Tech Policy Debate

October 30, 2008

A planned tech policy “smackdown” became a one-handed backhand Thursday morning, when a representative for John McCain’s campaign failed to show, apparently with no explanation or reason to the event organizers.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the chief economic policy adviser for Senator McCain’s campaign, was a no-show at the Technology Policy Smackdown staged by Wired magazine and the New America Foundation, leaving former FCC chairman Reed Hundt alone to expound on the tech-policy ideas of the candidate he advises, Sen. Barack Obama. According to statistics on the accompanying webcast, 205 viewers stuck around anyway to hear Hundt talk about Obama’s plans to quickly improve the country’s overall communications infrastructure.

(more updates as we listen in)

UPDATE: In an odd one-handed debate format, Hundt did the best he could to not take cheap shots at the nonexistent McCain tech policy and did a great job of explaining some of the nuances of Obama’s tech policies. One very strong point Hundt made was that unless there was some significant investment in broadband infrastructure, it will be much harder to effect an economic turnaround — since broadband will be so critical to the economy of the future.

Harold Feld adds his on-the-scene reactions. Including the obligatory dig at Holtz-Eakin’s claim earlier this fall about how McCain helped invent the BlackBerry — a claim about as credible as the McCain campaign’s no-show at Thursday’s debate.