One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
- 5G Wireless Makes Net Neutrality Even Dumber Policy - September 16, 2019
- When Deregulation – Actually Makes Things Worse - August 29, 2019
- Localities Shouldn’t Be Dictating (Inter-)National Policy - July 17, 2019
One of the chimeras for which we eternally search in Washington, DC – is bipartisanship. We oft hear of the Good Old Days. When Democrats and Republicans would hammer out mutually agreeable legislation by day – and then have cocktails together by night. Of course, the DC definition of “bipartisanship” has long been: “Republicans forsake all their principles – and cave to whatever Democrats are currently demanding.”
Which is how we have spent the last five-plus decades. Which is how DC has grown has monstrously huge as it has. We have also spent the last five-plus decades – gerrymandering the daylight out of Congressional districts. To the point where maybe 50 of the 435 – are at all competitive in general elections.
The vast majority of races that now actually matter – are the inter-Party primaries. Where every candidate tries to out-ideologically-pure their inter-Party opponents. And after the primary winners skate to easy general election victories, they must retain said purity while in office – else they’ll be dumped in the next primary. Lather, rinse repeat for half a century – and you end up with a hyper-partisan House of Representatives.
Term limits, by the way, will not fix this. You’ll just be replacing an old ideologically puritanical bureaucrat – with a young ideologically puritanical bureaucrat. Over, and over, and over again. And perpetually re-flooding K Street with wave after wave of new ex-Congressmen – looking to cash-in on the lobby gravy train. Currently, the less-government-desiring Republican voter base – is finally fed up with this ever-expanding-government nonsense. And the Socialism-desiring Democrat voter base – is clinically insane and (thus) steadfastly impervious to facts.
Giving elected officials even less room to maneuver towards actual bipartisanship. Even if they wanted to do so – which most do not. And you can’t blame Republicans for not wanting to do so – given the one-way rigging of “bipartisanship” to which they have long been subjected.
Which is why we no longer in DC get legislation. We get Legislation Theatre. Elected officials proposing bills that have zero chance of becoming law – but look really good on stage to their respective bases. The examples this cycle are already myriad. After HR 1 Vote, Democrats Ready to Move Quickly on Other Top 10 Bills:
“(House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi has been steadily rolling out bills HR 1 through 10 to keep priorities advancing.”
HR 1 – is an anti-First Amendment, omni-directional disaster. So of course the Democrat-majority House passed it. But to what end?
“McConnell was defiant when asked why he wouldn’t bring HR1 to the Senate floor. ‘Because I get to decide what we vote on,’ was his response.”
So the House – wasted its time. And therefore – ours. Do any of Pelosi’s ten items have even the slightest chance of passage? That is a highly dubious proposition:
“The new Democratic majority has been quickly, but steadily and deliberately, rolling out legislation to fulfill their 2018 midterm campaign promises and reintroducing bills that languished during the past eight years when Republicans controlled the House.”
These bills “languished during the past eight years when Republicans controlled the House” – because Republicans do not like them. They didn’t vote on them then – they won’t vote for them now. Pelosi’s entire agenda – is a titanic waste of time. Can Republicans resist the siren song of the Legislative Theatre stage? Sadly, no.
“Grassley said he is in the early stages of trying to get widespread bipartisan support for a bill that reins in (Republican President Donald) Trump’s tariff powers. The Iowa Republican said he has directed staff to ‘find a bill [that can] get a massive amount of support so we don’t have to override a veto.’”
A veto? Yes, OF COURSE. President Trump is NOT going to sign a bill limiting his ability to impose tariffs as a tool to renegotiate a half-century-plus’ worth of awful trade deals. At least Senator Grassley acknowledges the long-shot nature of his effort. At least he’s actually looking to effect change. Pelosi is passing her slate of nonsense – knowing almost none of it will even get a vote in the Senate. Let alone passage and a Presidential signature.
ALL of this – is a GIANT waste of time.
There is one issue on which legislators are actually offering compromise legislation. Where adults are acknowledging the limitations of a divided Congress – and legislating accordingly. And of course – they are getting excoriated for it. GOP House Members Offer Trio of Net Neutrality Bills:
“Republicans…are offering up at least three versions of legislation that would reimpose network neutrality rules, but without doing so under Title II common carrier regs they argue are a relic of the monopoly (dial-less, black) phone based Title II common carrier rules.”
The bills would impose the Net Neutrality principles – to which both Republicans and Democrats fairly recently agreed. That is, before the Democrats’ Socialist base – demanded the Title II government takeover of all things Internet. Net Neutrality v. Title II: Explained:
“At its core, net neutrality means treating Internet traffic fairly and equally. While (Trump FCC Chairman Ajit) Pai agrees with the basic tenets of net neutrality, upholding them does not mean the FCC needs to regulate broadband under 1934 rules designed for the telephone monopoly….
“Title II undermines broadband competition. In the five years after the FCC first proposed Title II (2010–15), investment dropped somewhere between $160-$200 billion relative to what it would have been projecting forward from 2005–10, when net neutrality alone was the baseline for investor expectations.”
In other words – you can have Net Neutrality…without the draconian Title II Democrats are now demanding. And please keep in mind: With the exception of the year-plus we suffered under the Barack Obama Administration’s unilateral imposition of Title II – we have NEVER had ANY Net Neutrality rules of ANY sort in place.
And the Internet – became the free speech-free market Xanadu we all know and love. Without ANY Net Neutrality rules of ANY sort in place. The Republican Net Neutrality bills – reflect recent bipartisanship. The Republican bills – sound like compromise. Of the sort – from which legislative bipartisanship should flow:
“There now seems agreement on both sides for rules, enforced by the FCC, against blocking, throttling and anti-competitive or consumer-unfriendly paid prioritization (which would leave room for public safety or health info prioritization).”
Except Democrats – will have none of it:
“Democrats weren’t jumping to embrace them – the bills, that is – while activist groups said those legislative efforts were at best woefully lacking and at worst fake efforts promoted by ISP lobbyist ‘shills.’”
Because the Democrats’ Socialist base – will have none of it:
“Fight for the Future called the bills ‘weak legislation that would undermine the open internet while claiming to save it.’”
Again, the Open Internet these clowns claim to be saving – has been just fine for a quarter century without anything even remotely resembling the massive government imposition these clowns are demanding.
Radical Socialist group Public Knowledge:
Radical Socialist group Free Press:
Because again: This isn’t about Net Neutrality – it is about government control of the Internet. Don’t believe me? Here’s the co-founder of the aforementioned radical Socialist group Free Press:
“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”
How very Venezuela of them.
Oh: The Obama FCC’s unilateral Title II imposition order – cited radical Socialist group Free Press FORTY-SIX TIMES.
So Democrats – are not at all interested in the Republicans’ attempts at compromise and bipartisanship. Instead:
“House and Senate Democratic leaders unveiled new legislation Wednesday proposing to restore federal net neutrality rules on internet service providers….
“As written, the draft legislation would reverse the FCC’s 2017 vote to repeal its net neutrality rules and restore the 2015 regulations approved during the Obama era.”
And even if enough Congressional Republicans fall on their heads – and then vote to pass this atrocity? It was President Trump’s FCC that undid the Obama unilateral Title II imposition. There is near-metaphysical-zero chance he will sign a legislative re-imposition.
Which means Democrats in Congress – are yet again wasting their time.
Which means Democrats in Congress – are yet again wasting our time.
[Originally Published at RedState]