Senator Kerry Was Against an FCC Internet Power Grab Before He Was For It
Massachusetts Democrat Senator John Kerry was his Party’s 2004 nominee for President. Two hallmarks of his losing campaign were his incredible stiffness – he managed to make 2000 Democrat nominee Al Gore look lively – and his notorious assertion that “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”
This linguistic whiplash was part of a Kerry pattern, and led to his being branded “Senator Flip Flop.”
We are still learning just how long-standing and ingrained this Kerry pattern is.
Mike Riggs at the Daily Caller has an amazing document from the Senator’s past. A 1998 Congressional letter to then Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman William Kennard onto which Senator Kerry signed. The letter reads in part:
“The overarching policy goal of the 1996 Act is to promote a market-driven, robustly competitive environment for all communications services. Given that, we wish to make it clear that nothing in the 1996 (Telecommunications) Act or its legislative history suggests that Congress intended to alter the current classification of Internet and other information services or to expand traditional telephone regulation to new and advanced services.”
Meaning Senator Kerry was stating that the 1996 Telecommunications Act did not authorize the FCC to apply its oppressive Title II telephone regulatory regime to the Internet.
Oh what a dozen years will do to Senator Flip Flop’s outlook on things.
Senator Kerry is today one of the leading proponents for the absurd notion that is Network Neutrality. He is in fact so much in favor of it that in order to see it implemented he has called for the FCC to – unilaterally apply its oppressive Title II telephone regulatory regime to the Internet.
In other words, do exactly what his 1998 letter clearly tells the FCC it is not authorized to do.
Again, all FCC powers are born in acts of Congress. They do not have any authority to regulate anything until a law – passed by Congress and signed by the President - first gives it to them.
This serves as an excellent check on the potential regulatory abuses that could emanate from but three of five unelected FCC Commissioners – i.e. federal bureaucrats.
Senator Kerry understood this – in 1998. He and his fellow elected officials had just spent five long years crafting the 1996 Telecommunications Act. He didn’t want to see the will of the people - embodied in that law - abrogated by any autocratic action by the Commission.
Twelve years later, nothing in the law or the FCC’s charter has changed. The only thing that has is Senator Kerry’s position on a unilateral Internet power grab – that he was warning the Commission against, but is now calling on it to commit.