Where do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Technology?

Dennis Faas's picture

Who will Americans choose in 2008 to lead the country into a new decade? Republican? Democrat? Conservative? Liberal? Independent?

The conventional wisdom is to compare the various presidential candidates on all the so-called "popular" issues: things like immigration, Roe vs. Wade, the war in Iraq, the economy, Global Warming, and health care. But the stance a president takes on 'high' technology can also result in world-changing events and may be more important than you think.

Don't believe it? Consider President Kennedy -- his going-to-the-moon objective catalyzed years of technology development focused through the space program. Before Kennedy it was Franklin Roosevelt's commitment to the Manhattan Project. And what about President Reagan? His "Star Wars" initiative, arguably led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

When it comes to information technology, however, the last politician to take a strong stand on anything high-tech was Vice President Al Gore in 1991, putting forth his vision of an "information superhighway". (Source: allbusiness.com)

So where, exactly, do today's candidates stand on high technology? Here's a brief summary of the candidates' positions:

  • Joe Biden (D): Hi-speed Internet for everyone; more infrastructure. "The U.S. should lead the world in access to the Internet. Access to high-speed Internet connections can open a world of opportunities and even save lives through tele-medicine and instant access to electronic medical records. It spurs economic growth, opens doors to high quality jobs and new markets, and expands educational opportunities."
  • Hillary Clinton (D): Tax incentives for broadband; unimpaired access. "No other communications medium in recent history has had such a profound impact as the Internet on free expression, education, the proliferation of commerce, and the exchange of political ideas. And it is the basic principles of neutrality and nondiscrimination that have allowed the Internet to flourish."
  • John Edwards (D): Neutrality and "recharging" innovation . "I believe that if we do not guarantee Net neutrality -- and at the same time meet the goal of universal broadband access -- the Internet could go the way of network television and commercial radio -- with just a few loud corporate voices and no room for the grassroots and small entrepreneurs. Our country is already divided enough between the haves and have-nots."
  • Mike Huckabee (R): No visible position on technology.
  • Dennis Kucinich (D): No visible position on technology.
  • John McCain (R): Strong laws protecting kids; tax-free Internet. "We should place the federal government in the role of stimulator, rather than regulator, of broadband services, remove state and local barriers to broadband deployment, and facilitate deployment of broadband services to rural and unserved communities."
  • Barack Obama (D): Total Net neutrality; more infrastructure support. "The Internet is the most open network in history. We have to keep it that way. I will prevent network providers from discriminating in ways that limit the freedom of expression on the Internet."
  • Ron Paul (R): Keep the feds away from the Internet. "Under the Constitution, the federal government does not have the authority to regulate social-networking sites. I would return this matter to state and local governments. Ultimately, parents are the best-suited to protect their own children."
  • Bill Richardson (D): More high-tech R&D; universal broadband. "Develop regional Innovation Clusters and convene regional Innovation Summits where experts from business and venture capital, academia and government can come together to turn ideas into job-creating realities."
  • Mitt Romney (R): Parental control; child protection on the Internet; nanotechnology. "Work with computer and software companies to make sure all new computers have optional parental control software filters that are ready and easy to use during setup... Promote and increase awareness of available parental control filtering products for existing computers."
  • Fred Thompson (R): Parental protection and fight child pornography. "Parents need to be empowered to protect their children from inappropriate matter, whether on TV, in video games, or on the computer. And we must do all we can to fight the explosion of child pornography over the Internet."

(Sources: C/NET News.com and Popular Mechanics)

Whatever your political affiliation, make sure that a candidate's technology position is part of your consideration -- it could be much more important than you think!

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