Josh Hawley Was The Democrats' Partner In Trying To Regulate Big Tech; Then The Public Realized He Was A Fascist
from the there-goes-that-plan dept
Karl recently wrote about how Congress’ antitrust efforts are flailing (even with the plan to hold a hearing on Senators Klobuchar & Grassley’s antitrust bill) and one reason why the efforts have stumbled may be Senator Josh Hawley’s decision to really show off his fascist side.
We’ve been pointing out the serious problems with Hawley and his policy ideas since long before January 6th of 2021. Even though it was fairly clear from early on that his hypocritical posturing and populism were little more than a cynical attempt to get the Trumpian base to back his massive ego and ambition for a potential Presidential run, a bunch of Democrats were happy to cynically embrace Hawley because he was “anti-big tech” and willing to hate all the same people that some Democratic Senators hated as well. Of course, January 6th and Hawley’s now infamous raised fist appear to have resulted in Democrats realizing that even if he hates Mark Zuckerberg too, that doesn’t mean he’s worth working with.
Now the Washington Post has noted that since January 6th, Democrats suddenly were no longer willing to partner with Hawley on bills that regulate “big tech,” which is a bit of a problem, since he was their Republican co-sponsor on a variety of “bipartisan” legislation.
By this time last Congress in January 2020, Hawley had partnered with Democrats to lead at least eight letters on tech issues, including with Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), then the Senate minority whip, according to a review by The Technology 202. The topics spanned from data privacy to kids? online safety to potential risks posed by tech firms with links to China.
But a year into this Congress, during which his top issues have only gained prominence, Hawley hasn?t led any bipartisan letters on tech policy issues that his office has publicly released, according to a review. All of the new tech bills he?s introduced this past year have been either a solo or Republican-only effort. And of those four bills he co-led early last Congress, only one has been reintroduced ? without him on it.
The article claims that this means that Hawley’s “once-glowing prominence in the debate has faded,” though I question that premise. He’s still out there bashing tech in stupid, nonsensical ways. He’s just doing it on Fox News and to an increasingly ignorant base who still thinks that he can magically ignore the 1st Amendment and force Twitter to allow idiots to spew nonsense. The fact that he can’t actually advance any legislation is kind of meaningless here. Possibly (and this is good) it slows some of the legislation down, but Hawley has never been interested in actually passing legislation in the first place. It was always about getting his name in lights among the right people. And he got his headlines from Democrats who were willing to look the other way on Hawley’s populist/fascist tendencies when it was politically convenient for them. And now Hawley doesn’t need them any more to get the kind of headlines he needs.
The real thing for me is looking at just how cynical Democrats were to join up with Hawley on this prior to last January 6th. It was no secret — certainly not in and around the Senate — about Hawley’s populist/fascist views, and his willingness to stomp all over principles or rights to feed his ambition. But they were willing to do so because it helped them out. It’s good that they’re apparently no longer willing to team up with Hawley to give him any kind of legislative “win” on this topic, but it remains ridiculous that they were ever willing to do so in the past — back before Hawley was so commonly and publicly associated with the insurrection.