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WORTH REPEATING: Yes We Can’t

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TIMOTHY KARR: Internet users deserve far better, and we thought we were going to get it from a president who promised to “take a backseat to no one in my commitment to Net Neutrality.” Watch now as he and his FCC chairman try to spin tomorrow’s betrayal as another “mission accomplished.” Don’t believe it. This bogus victory has become all too familiar to those watching the Obama administration and its appointees squander opportunities for real change. The reality is that reform is just a rhetorical front for industry compromises that reward the biggest players and K-Street lobbyists while giving the public nothing. It’s not the FCC chairman’s job to seek consensus among the corporations that he was put into office to regulate. His duty is to protect Internet users. More than two million people have taken action on behalf of Net Neutrality. Tomorrow, we’ll all get the carpet yanked from beneath our feet. Net Neutrality is the freedom of speech, freedom of choice issue of the 21st century. It’s the guarantee of a more open and democratic media system that was baked into the Internet at its founding. On Tuesday, Obama’s FCC is going to sell that out. MORE

RELATED: The problem isn’t that Dems aren’t capable of winning an argument. It’s that they don’t think they’re capable of winning a protracted political standoff, even on an issue where the public is on their side, once Republicans start going on the attack. They seem to set their goal early on at salvaging a compromise, rather than going for the win. As a result, they tend to telegraph weakness at the outset, sending a clear message that they’ll essentially give Republicans what they want as long as they can figure out a way to call it a compromise. MORE

RELATED: I don’t know if such rampant spinelessness is genetic or contagious, but substitute “big phone and cable companies” for “Republicans” in the previous paragraph, and you’ve nailed the Federal Communications Commission’s approach to the Net Neutrality debate. Over the past year, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has managed to take the administration’s top tech priority – and Obama’s promise to “take a back seat to no one” on the issue – and driven it into a ditch. Instead of staking out a strong position and forcing powerful companies like AT&T and Comcast to come to the table for a compromise, Genachowski has been negotiating against himself, backpedaling from his backpedaling, and ultimately proposing toothless rules that look nothing like real Net Neutrality. MORE

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