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Net neutrality on the Presidential campaign trail

The FCC’s 3-2 party-line vote on net neutrality has not only stirred up a hornet’s nest on Capitol Hill, it’s also gotten some attention from would-be Presidential candidates out on the trail.

While net neutrality is unlikely to be an issue that will win or lose the Presidency, it’s a great side show because of the Internet’s broad, personal appeal which resonates beyond the tech set in Silicon Valley. And since President Obama has made the Internet and net neutrality one of his talking points, would-be candidates are following suit in their own campaigns.

Below, words from some of the front-runners.

Sec. Hillary Clinton – for it

Clinton“For the FCC to do what they want to do – to try to create net neutrality as the norm – they have to have a hook to hang it on…. [Title II] is the only hook they’ve got…. I think that if there were another hook, it would come out of a modern 21st century telecom technology act. And we don’t have that and we’re not likely to get it….I would vote for net neutrality because…. it’s Title II with a lot of changes within it in order to avoid the worst of the utility regulation.”
Feb. 24, 2015: Interview with Kara Swisher of Re/Code, Santa Clara, Calif.

Gov. Jeb Bush – against it

Bush“The idea of regulating access to the Internet with a 1934 law is one of the craziest ideas I’ve ever heard…. Just think of the logic of using a 1934 law that was designed when we did have a monopoly for wire-line service as the basis to regulate the most dynamic part of life in America. It’s not going to be good for consumers. It’s certainly not going to be good for innovation.”
March 7, 2015: As quoted in Time–on the trail in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Sen. Ted Cruz – against it

Cruz“You may not know what a pernicious threat it is for government to get its hands on the Internet…. Title II was designed for public utilities, passed in 1934….Can you think of a single public utility anywhere in the country that is characterized by innovation, by competition, that is characterized by anything other than staid, boring inertia…. I promise you it is the nature of government regulators that if they have power, they will use it. The taxes will come.”
Feb. 12, 2015: Reboot Congress, Washington, D.C.

Carly Fiorina – against it


“Government and government programs have grown so big, so powerful, so costly and so complex, that only the big and powerful can prosper…. whether it is Dodd-Frank, or ObamaCare, or Net Neutrality, all this government complexity means is, the big get bigger, the small disappear, and the powerless are trapped.”
February 26, 2015:  Speech at CPAC, Washington, D.C.


Sen. Rand Paul – against it

Paul“The Internet is so free of regulations, we gotta keep it that way….
I don’t want the government to screw up one of the greatest marketplaces we’ve had….If we had postal neutrality we wouldn’t charge more for quicker delivery….People pay more to have something transmitted fast…. These are methods for market efficiency.
March 15, 2015: SXSW as reported by Fox Business News


Sen. Marco Rubio – against it

Rubio“Predictably, the federal government wants to crash the [Internet] party…. By labeling ISPs as public utilities, an extraordinary amount of power over the Internet, including case-by-case discretion, would be given to an unelected, unaccountable board that every lobbyist, lawyer and crony capitalist….will seek to manipulate….While our leaders can’t be bothered to fix the many institutions in America that are actually broken, they are eager to ‘fix’ the one thing in America that works the best. With friends like government, the Internet needs no enemies.”
                                         March 17, 2015: Politico op ed

Gov. Scott Walker – on the fence

Scott Walker“I think on [net neutrality] … the guiding principle should be freedom.”

Feb. 26, 2015: Interview at CPAC, as reported in The Hill





Photo credits

Sec. Hillary Clinton–Department of State
Republican Hopefuls–Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons