Delta House Might Save the Internet

Published May 31, 2016

The National Journal reported Monday that the White House will likely veto any House attempts to scuttle the FCC’s net neutrality rules:

“If the president is presented with a resolution of disapproval that would not safeguard the free and open Internet, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the resolution,” according to a Statement of Administrative Policy issued by the Office of Management and Budget.

This hardly comes as a surprise, as the Prez and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski have been carrying on like British boarding school mates in an E.M. Forster novel for the past two years. Or perhaps I’m granting too much literary credence to these two old Harvard Law School chums who more than likely never passed notes cribbed from Percy Shelley to one another.

I’m thinking a more fitting comparison might be Greg Marmalard and Chip Diller from the film Animal House. You know the type, brown-nosing, white wine-sipping Ivy League types conspiratorially performing the bidding of Dean “Google” Wormer to stifle Faber College – which, in this scenario, is a stand-in for the wild and wacky Internet.

And Delta House, in case readers haven’t figured it out yet, is the loyal opposition to the FCC’s net neutrality agenda: Otter, Bluto, Pinto, D-Day, Flounder, Boon, Hooper, and Stork are the ISPs, majority of Republicans and Independents, and supporters of Internet freedom, innovation, and investment who realize nothing but harm can come from government regulation of the Internet .

(If you want to continue the comparison, Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn can be, respectively, Douglas Niedermeyer and Barbara “Babs” Jansen.)

Genachowski has been a frequent visitor in the Oval Office – in fact, while the number of visits Chip has met with Marmalard might be debated, one thing is clear: 81 might be incorrect, but 34 is still a helluva lot.

During these visits, you can bet your bottom dollar the duo looked at placing those nasty Delta boys on “double-secret probation” – circumventing the legislative process by passing rules totally beyond the authority of either the Dean’s office or the Omega House.

The besieged FCC Chairman sought presidential protection from those nasty boys, the uncouth Deltas mounting a “take no prisoners” strategy against a centralized government takeover of the Internet. And Greg Marmalard complied, of course.

A key quote from today’s White House statement:

“Disapproval of the rule would threaten those values and raise questions as to whether innovation on the Internet will be allowed to flourish, consumers will be protected from abuses, and the democratic spirit of the Internet will remain intact,” the White House statement read.

As my colleague Jim Lakely so aptly put it in an email to me today: “So the president will veto any legislation that fails to protect things that have never happened but might or ‘would’ happen.” Larry Hooper couldn’t have articulated it any better.

Left to its own devices, the Internet will continue to innovate and attract investment. It’ll remain fun, exciting, and unpredictable. Unless Marmalard, Chip, and Dean Wormer get their well-manicured mitts on it.

In other words, nothing is over until we say it is. Did the American’s give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? (Yes, I realize the Germans didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor, but the claim is taken from John Belushi’s famous rallying speech as Bluto in the Animal House film.)

Bluto’s right: It’s past time to rev up the Delta’s Death Mobile to charge the bleachers of net neutrality.

Bruce Edward Walker ([email protected]) is managing editor of Infotech & Telecom News.