Friday, July 29, 2005

Senator Landrieu Wanders into Telecom Thicket

Politicians wandering into issues that they know little about, armed only with information provided them by 'think tanks' that get funding from parties with a stake in the issue, is rarely a recipe for enlightened public policy.

Thus, the unease when I saw a blurb and link to this story in today's edition of Benton Foundation "Communications Related Headlines" service.

Seems like Senator Mary Landrieu is attempting to triangulate her way to a position on reform of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

As the National Journal story indicates, Senator Landrieu is relying on advice from the Progressive Policy Institute, a think tank associated with the Democratic Leadership Council — or, as I like to refer to it, the 'Stand for Nothing, Fall for Anything' wing of theDemocraticc Party.

The story notes that PPI gets money from BellSouth and other RBOCs.

Just a coincidence, too, that BellSouth's top lobbyist in Washington is the former head of BellSouth Louisiana — Herschel Abbott — right?

Just another coincidence that BellSouth and their various friends have been big time contributors to Senator Landrieu's campaigns, too, I guess?

It will be very interesting to see where Senator Landrieu comes down on telecom reform, particularly in the area of the rights of municipalities to pursue their own broadband solutions.

The fact that PPI has endorsed (PDF file) the concept of eliminating local franchise fees for cable and video services, as well as gutting the concept of Universal Service (oh, they're for it, they just want to people who benefit from it to pay for it!), does not provide a great level of confidence as to where the senior Senator from Louisiana might drift on this issue.

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