GOP And Net Neutrality: Do Republicans Face Tech Challenges?

Does the GOP understand net neutrality and technology? That was a question Tony Romm asked in a recent POLITICO Pro article about Republicans trying to razzle and dazzle big technology for donations and falling short of understanding the world in which they are seeking money.

In the article which touched on the GOP and net neutrality, among other topics, Romm goes to the core of the problem when comparing a young upstart U.S. Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, when he decided against all odds to run for the White House.

“Obama in his first presidential campaign formed powerful alliances at companies like Google, and his team by 2012 had set up an entire apparatus — Technology 4 Obama — to solicit donations from the likes of Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. Entering the 2014 midterms, Democrats again returned repeatedly to Silicon Valley and San Francisco for a series of high-dollar fundraisers. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Sam Altman, the leader of Y Combinator, for example, hosted the president earlier this year; so did Mark Pincus, who founded Zynga.”

But the GOP’s problems with technology, extending to net neutrality and several other issues, have handicapped fundraising efforts among the party’s likely 2016 candidates. But he said some, like U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., are working to change that.

“The poor political odds have only spurred the GOP to action. Paul this summer began work to set up a technology hub of sorts in San Francisco — and the Kentucky senator returned there in October for a fundraiser alongside other prominent Senate Republicans. Cisco CEO John Chambers helped host the event at the Woodside, California, home of Oracle’s Larry Ellison. These tech hardware players — and others, like new Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz and HP CEO Meg Whitman, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in California — long have backed and funded Republican candidates.”

Even so, National Journal reported in February that Republicans would defeat a set of net neutrality rules that has been vocally supported by a variety of tech giants and prominent politicians.

President Barack Obama has voiced his support for net neutrality. The arguments for net neutrality basically state that the internet should not be controlled by internet service providers who are able to throttle heavy users or impact service for particular websites. Opponents of the law say it is unnecessary intrusion in the businesses that provide the internet to consumers.

What do you think? Should Republicans come around on the issue? Do they understand the issue at all? And should President Barack Obama be voicing his opinions on proposed legislation? Tell us in the comments section below.

[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]