A Very Dispiriting Day
A Very Dispiriting Day
A Very Dispiriting Day

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    It was a tad hectic yesterday, what with the House Telecom Subcommittee voting to turn the Internet over to the telephone and cable companies and all.

    The vote on the Subcommittee to defeat an amendment setting out a new, strong Net Neutrality policy was 23-8, with the Net losing badly. Some of the reporting about the vote characterized it as a partisan battle. Not so. The fact is, the Democrats deserted the Net Neutrality cause.

    The eight “yes” votes were seven Democrats — Ed Markey, Rick Boucher, Anna Eshoo, Jay Inslee, John Dingell, Mike Doyle and Frank Pallone. The eighth vote was Republican Heather Wilson. Markey, Boucher, Eshoo and Inslee were the sponsors of the amendment, which means only three Democrats who weren't sponsors voted for it.

    On the other hand, six Democrats voted against it: Eliot Engel, Bart Stupak, Ed Towns, Al Wynn, Charlie Gonzales and Bobby Rush. Inexplicably, two D's weren't around for the pivotal vote, Sherrod Brown and Bart Gordon (not that their vote would have mattered in the end, but it would have been nice to have.) There are 33 members on the Subcommittee — 18 Republicans and 15 Democrats.

    Republicans voted along party lines because it's their bill, and they generally feel obligated to support the Committee Chairman, Joe Barton of Texas. And because they believe that all this fussing about telephone companies taking over the Internet just isn't worth it.

    As for the Democrats, the New York delegation, the Black Caucus and the representative from AT&T's home town (Gonzales) believe more in Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner than in the open Internet, apparently.