Saturday, March 08, 2008
I think what is missing from the debate over the Democratic presidential contest is brought to light best by a seemingly unrelated NPR series that ran last week.
They profiled the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In the report, NPR said that the FCC is trying to wedge all Internet services into a "type of cable service" while they are assuming that wireless frequencies are just for cell phones.
Professor Bankler, one of their guests, says that the FCC is actually charged with promoting the American communications industry as well as regulating them. How can they continue to operate like this?
Try explaining network neutrality or the success of YouTube to an agency that is stuck in a forty-year-old paradigm like this.
Barack Obama is the only candidate that I hear who is talking about rethinking politics and government. He is bringing a fresh perspective to the problems that ail America. The arguments about experience and years in office are distractions from the fact that American government needs to experience a Renaissance. Who has the politic courage and will to execute this Renaissance? I don't think it is Hillary Clinton or John McCain, because they are dismissing Obama's calls for change as "eloquent but empty." Is that what we need? Small tweaks to today's systems? Or simply to choose the Red Team or the Blue Team and then fight the other's ideas to the death?
I say no. We need to rethink government. We need to rethink the political process. To rethink the FCC, FAA and EPA. To rethink industry and commerce and pollution and our approaches to global warming. Rethink airports and roads and cars. Rethink intellectual property rights and "the commons." Rethink how we approach everything and look for ideas for better ways.
All three politicians are calling for an increase in "green collar jobs" by investing in renewable energy. But is it that simple? Just throw some money at this nascent industry and it'll flourish? Didn't Jimmy Carter do that in the 1970s? How did that work?
I think our solutions will be much more complicated than a Red Solution or a Blue Solution. It will be a complex intermix of ideas from both sides, plus perspectives that neither side has even considered yet. I feel like my approach to health insurance is an example of this (free e-Book here). Parts of it are probably despised by liberals (it includes Health Savings Accounts) and other parts are anathema to conservatives (although I'm not sure what). And even other parts probably seem strange to both Red and Blue (all this stuff about holistic healthcare). But it might be just the solution we need to help solve our healthcare crisis.
Anyway, enough of my self-promotion. The reason I like what I hear from Barack Obama is that he is starting the conversation we need to have - about a Renaissance in America. (By the way, Barack, or anyone else - feel free to use that line!)