Obama = Broadband; McCain = Dial-up?

Posted on August 27, 2008  /  2 Comments

Leading Democrats on Tuesday attacked the Bush administration’s broadband policy and the technology track record of GOP presidential hopeful John McCain, while leading tech companies pushed for a more tech-savvy and innovative federal government.

“The Obama campaign is the broadband campaign and the McCain campaign is the dial-up campaign,” said Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on telecom and the Internet.

Markey and other members of Congress were on hand at the Democratic National Convention in Denver for several technology panels hosted by the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado.

“On McCain’s watch, the U.S. fell from third to fifteenth in broadband penetration,” said Julius Genachowski, technology advisor to Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama. That is “shocking.”

Genachowski attacked McCain’s record as chairman of the Commerce Committee, a position McCain held from 1997 to 2001 and again from 2003 to 2005. McCain did nothing to spur growth in the technology industry, create jobs, help create an open Internet, or ensure competition, Genachowski said.

Read the full story in PCMag here.


  1. Nalaka Gunawardene

    It’s interesting how Obama is consistently identified with the new media, by his own supporters as well as by independent observers and commentators. Certainly, Obama has seized the potential of new media for fund raising and campaigning as few other political candidates have done in the US or anywhere else in the democratic world.

    When Obama triumphed over Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination some weeks ago, The Economist made the same point. In their 5 June 2008 edition they wrote:

    “The Clinton machine was too stuck in the 1990s to grasp how the internet was revolutionising political fund-raising. Mrs Clinton built the best fund-raising machine of the 20th century—persuading Democratic fat cats to make the maximum contributions allowable and accumulating a vast treasure trove of money. But Mr Obama trumped her by building the best fund-raising machine of the 21st century.

    “Mr Obama simultaneously lowered the barrier to entry to Obamaworld and raised expectations of what it meant to be a supporter. Mr Obama’s supporters not only showered him with small donations. They also volunteered their time and enthusiasm. His website was thus a vast social networking site (one of his chief organisers was a founder of Facebook)—a mechanism not just for translating enthusiasm into cash but also for building a community of fired-up supporters. Mr Obama’s small donations proved to be a renewable resource, as supporters could give several times, up to a maximum of $2,300. Mrs Clinton ran out of cash.

    Full article (accessible free for one year from publication):

    So is Obama a Digital Native? At 47, he’s probably too old to be one, but he’s smart enough to allow Digital Natives to handle that part of his engagement with America.

  2. I agree with Nalaka. Hope someone will study it. Would have loved to do myself, but with limited time/resources and Asia focus, this is not something we can afford to spend time.

    I remember once Hillary Clinton saying: “Both myself and McCain have x number of years of hands-on experience behind us, but what Senator Obama has? Only a speech!”

    What she did not know/think was that speech was uploaded on You Tube – with few clicks away for any Internet user! If not, I do not think it would never have made such an impact.

    Don’t think Obama could ever have made it without the new media.

    So its natural that he presents ambitious plans for our common digital future.

    Have a look: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/technology