McCain and Limbaugh's Murky Crystal Ball

Should it be a surprise that a guy who doesn’t know how to send e-mail can’t grasp why the Internet is important?

Sen. John McCain — known to have never gone online — led the charge on Capitol Hill this week to strip the Internet from President Obama’s economic stimulus package.

McCain joins media blowhards Rush Limbaugh and Lou Dobbs, who in their latest crusade against reality think that connecting Americans to the information superhighway has nothing to do with getting our economy back on track.

Before anyone else jumps on board to trash the Internet, let’s set the record straight.

Getting more people connected to broadband is the kind of stimulus that expands education and opportunity, promotes innovation and makes the United States more globally competitive. Among other things expanding broadband could reduce health care costs, help our kids in school, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and make it easier for citizens take part in our democracy.

Why connecting matters

Building broadband means putting immediately back to work engineers, technicians, equipment manufactures, vendors and construction workers to lay fiber optic cables, raise wireless towers and connect American homes.

And that’s just the start. Those who initially developed the Internet never imagined it would become such a tremendous engine for growth across every sector of the economy. The challenge Americans face in the 21st century is to extend this new prosperity to the tens of millions of Americans who can’t get connected.

Real Progress

That’s why Candidate Obama made promoting open and affordable high-speed Internet a part of his 2008 campaign. It’s why President Obama has made it a cornerstone of his recovery plan.

It’s the sort of vision for change that got him elected. And it’s vital to our long-term survival that we continue to embrace this idea of real American progress.

Obama’s stimulus bill has had a bumpy ride through Senate. While it’s on track to be signed by the president next week, the Internet piece of the stimulus has come under assault by a series of broadband bozos.

McCain told Fox News Channel that broadband “had nothing to do” with stimulating the economy. Rush Limbaugh told his listeners he hoped Obama’s recovery plan would fail calling such infrastructure spending “far-left collectivism.”

And CNN’s Lou Dobbs said there was not a lot of “real exacting thinking” about the plan. That’s certainly true in regard to Dobbs reporting but not in regard to Obama’s vision of a better Internet.

Leaving the Dinosaurs Behind

The Stimulus bill is just a first step - a piece of a much larger puzzle to bring the benefits of broadband to everyone — which is why we need to work overtime to make sure that this attack on reality doesn’t go unanswered.

At Free Press, we’re fighting to ensure affordable Internet access is a basic right of every American, and that the Internet fosters free speech and openness at a time when information gatekeepers seek total control.

High-speed Internet is the infrastructure of our time. Passing the stimulus bill is only the beginning of the effort to make the Internet as ubiquitous as electricity, water and highways.

But don’t tell that to the old guard of Washington politics and media. Outliers like McCain, Dobbs and Limbaugh can only see their backwards reflections when they peer into their crystal balls.

We have a choice to make. We can remain stuck in the past while these dinosaurs stand in the way of real progress. Or we can put good ideas ahead of old ideologies and get started on building a new era of American opportunity.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good