Twilight of the "Tech Liberal?"



Tags: schmidt, government, silicon, valley, google, people, president, business, because, aggressive

Is Silicon Valley souring on Barack Obama? Recent days have seen Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, who, along with founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, lent prominent support to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, decry the aggressive regulatory bent the White House has taken.

"So we get hauled in front of the Congress for developing a product that's free, that serves a billion people. OK? I mean, I don't know how to say it any clearer," Schmidt told the Washington Post's editorial board after his Sept. 29 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee. "It's not like we raised prices. We could lower prices from free to . . . lower than free? You see what I'm saying?"

Now, by way of Huffington Postcomes a report that the late Steve Jobs, another highly visible Obama supporter, argued heatedly with the president about the White House policy agenda during a one-on-one meeting last year. According to Walter Isaacson's soon-to-be-published biography of Apple's founder and former CEO, Jobs warned Obama that he wouldn't win re-election if he continued imposing excessive regulation and operating costs on American businesses.

"You're headed for a one-term presidency," he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where "regulations and unnecessary costs" make it difficult for them.

 

Jobs also criticized America's education system, saying it was "crippled by union work rules," noted Isaacson. "Until the teachers' unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform." Jobs proposed allowing principals to hire and fire teachers based on merit, that schools stay open until 6 p.m. and that they be open 11 months a year.

Perhaps because they were based in California, or because they are younger, Silicon Valley technology entrepreneurs have generally leaned philosophically liberal, supporting bigger government, more public spending, and more aggressive regulations, even though some free market analysts wondered why, because clearly risked blowback from many of the policies that might result.

Perhaps, like Google, they never thought themselves equivalent to older, more established companies that were marked by both politically and culturally conservative and consequently more risk averse. Certainly the media reinforced this differentiation, AT&T, IBM, Microsoft were the "bad" guys bent on preserving the status quo, so the narrative went; Google, Apple, Facebook, because they shattered so many business models, were the cool, good guys. But there is dangerous vanity in connecting your moral compass to your business models. When it comes to regulation, it doesn't matter how you see yourself, but how the government sees you. While Schmidt is justifiably angry about the interrogation he got on Capitol Hill, between the lines, one cannot help but read a pained "how-could-they-do-this-to-us!"

I prefer to be magnanimous, however, and point to a quote from Winston Churchill that begins, "If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart..." (Google this phrase if you don't know the rest). Suffice to say, Silicon Valley is growing up, and, as Schmidt realized, once you invite government in, they will take up residence.

But it's not until deep down in the Post interview that Schmidt talks about his epiphany in a pointed anecdote. and just as telling is how long ago he began to suspect that when business flatters itself by courting political power, it doesn't end well.

Silicon Valley's involvement with Washington dates from one event, which was John Scully--who was the CEO of Apple--had dinner with President Clinton and Vice President Gore in 1993. And we're all going, like, what's going on? Why would we have dinner with the president? And from that point on, people started to think it might be fun to hang out with these people.

 

So what happened was that there was something called the Clipper chip, which was the attempt by the government to enforce encryption on a particular communications aspect. And this was 1994. And it was the first time I know of that the Valley organized around a stupid technological thing that was going to be forced on us. This really had not occurred before. The chief proponent of the Clipper chip was Al Gore. So this is our first contact with Al Gore. All of us spent a lot of time and we eventually defeated it, but I think for many people that was sort of a wake-up call that the government could actually pass a law that was stupid, that would actually do something wrong and wouldn't work.

 

Not yet rated. Be the first:

<< Previous Article      Next Article >>


Comment

Name:

Yolibeth said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

I do not understand it, recrouses have not changed, yet company projected profits and net income's increased. This shit seems like market manipulation. Fucking sick, we(not just the US) need a revolution. It would give me great pleasure in slaughtering all of the money/job manipulators. Company Exec's, Politician's, Banks, Governments, etc Care less if you live or die, all want is profit, and power. Fucking Kill them all.

8/22/2012 8:06:00 PM 

buy viagra online said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

K0mwtG Really enjoyed this article post.Much thanks again. Will read on...

1/9/2013 5:01:49 AM 

best bookmarking sites said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

CNjahb Major thankies for the blog.

1/18/2013 1:43:05 AM 

lose weight naturally said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Looking forward to reading more. Great blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

1/19/2013 5:24:58 AM 

http://bestmedicineonline.info/ said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

2k2IiA Great article post.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

1/27/2013 7:24:58 AM 

buy viagra said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

70Drd5 I loved your blog article.Thanks Again. Great.

2/3/2013 12:07:36 AM 

buy stendra said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

s7IxaC Great article.Thanks Again.

2/15/2013 3:50:08 AM 

buy Imitrex cheap said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

I loved your blog post.Really thank you! Awesome.

2/17/2013 6:32:00 PM 

logo design said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Muchos Gracias for your blog article.

2/18/2013 2:59:41 AM 

buy clomid said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

I loved your blog.Really thank you! Awesome.

2/18/2013 7:32:35 PM 

weight loss pills said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Appreciate you sharing, great article post. Great.

2/20/2013 8:19:28 PM 

buy stendra online said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Thank you ever so for you blog post. Want more.

2/21/2013 3:36:58 PM 

purchase online Cytotec without prescription said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Looking forward to reading more. Great blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

3/4/2013 5:41:52 PM 

buy cytotec india said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Thank you for your blog. Much obliged.

3/5/2013 1:58:52 AM 

order premarin online said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Really enjoyed this post.Much thanks again. Fantastic.

3/6/2013 3:45:45 AM 

norvasc no prescription said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

I really liked your post.Really thank you! Really Cool.

3/6/2013 3:45:47 AM 

brand levitra said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Very neat article post.Much thanks again. Fantastic.

3/6/2013 9:22:40 PM 

order norvasc online said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Really enjoyed this article.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

3/8/2013 12:49:24 AM 

adderall zoloft said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Say, you got a nice blog article. Cool.

3/8/2013 11:25:10 AM 

buy premarin online said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Thanks a lot for the blog article.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

3/9/2013 6:42:54 AM 

buy viagra pills said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

I cannot thank you enough for the blog article.Thanks Again. Cool.

3/11/2013 6:13:54 PM 

buy cheap viagra said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

I think this is a real great post.Thanks Again. Cool.

3/11/2013 6:13:55 PM 

buy levitra online said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Appreciate you sharing, great article.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

3/12/2013 5:01:57 AM 

buy viagra pills said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

This is one awesome article post.Much thanks again. Great.

3/13/2013 6:31:35 AM 

buy viagra online said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Wow, great article post. Cool.

3/13/2013 6:31:36 AM 

buy cheap stendra said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Thanks a lot for the blog article.Really thank you! Much obliged.

3/13/2013 6:52:12 AM 

discount stendra said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

A round of applause for your blog article. Awesome.

3/13/2013 6:52:14 AM 

discount imitrex said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

I value the article post. Awesome.

3/13/2013 6:52:16 AM 

bookmarks said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

w21hVj Very neat article post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

3/13/2013 3:09:22 PM 

ciprofloxacin 500mg said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

I appreciate you sharing this article post.Really thank you! Cool.

3/15/2013 9:48:28 AM 

generic viagra without a prescription said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Looking forward to reading more. Great post.Thanks Again. Awesome.

3/15/2013 11:27:04 AM 

generi cialis said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Wow, great blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on...

3/15/2013 1:06:05 PM 

online viagra said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Great, thanks for sharing this article.Much thanks again. Awesome.

3/15/2013 3:06:57 AM 

20mg levitra said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Fantastic blog article.Thanks Again. Great.

3/15/2013 2:45:48 PM 

Buy Levitra said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Really enjoyed this blog article.Thanks Again. Will read on...

3/15/2013 8:16:31 PM