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Oppose Net Neutrality at your peril

Tim Karr: Victory for blogs, victory for America...
 
 
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Guest post from Tim Karr.

Opposing Net Neutrality has become a political third rail for candidates who seek elected office, according to a story today in the Washington Post.
Post writer Charles Babington praised SavetheInternet.com Coalition efforts to mobilize the netroots and other Internet activists around this issue.

The Christian Coalition's Michele Combs delivers one million petitions to Congress -- with MoveOn's Joan Blades and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)

Net Neutrality "was hardly a household term" before the spring of 2006, Babington writes. Yet, now, every major Democratic presidential candidate has endorsed it as have much of the new leadership in Congress.

Many on the other side of the aisle are coming around to the issue as well. A veteran political campaign consultant told Babington, "if you're not for net neutrality, then the blogs will kick your [ass]."

That this issue has grown to such prominence is a testament to our efforts, writes Babington:

"Last spring, the debate over net neutrality barely scratched the consciousness of Congress, let alone the general public, after a House subcommittee defeated an effort to add net-neutrality restrictions to a multi-faceted telecommunications bill. The 23 to 8 vote goaded more than 850 interest groups, many, but not all, politically left of center, to form a coalition called SavetheInternet.com."

Our coalition includes groups from across the political spectrum. Michele Combs of the Christian Coalition of America told the Post that Net Neutrality is a nonpartisan issue and that "the conservative side has not been educated on the issue."

Still, the Christian Coalition along with the Gun Owners of America have successfully rallied support from their membership calling Net Neutrality an issue for conservatives, libertarians, and other champions of free speech and the free market.

"As long as Congress is making the rules for a handful of major companies in providing the infrastructure, it has to make certain those companies give equal access to all comers," wrote Gun Owners Internet director Craig Fields. "That's the way it has been for the very lifetime of the free and open Internet we're all interested in maintaining."

MoveOn.org's Adam Green added that Net Neutrality should transcend political lines. "An issue like Net Neutrality, which directly taps into Internet issues. . . could have a special energy in the political season," he said. "Every Republican and Democrat who uses the Internet is threatened by corporations that want to control which Web sites people can access."

Timothy Karr is the campaign director of Free Press . He blogs at MediaCitizen.

 
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