W hen The New York Times revealed in April that Microsoft had hired Ralph Reed, the onetime executive director of the Christian Coalition, to lobby George W. Bush on the company's behalf, the story that generated all the attention was Reed's obvious, if bizarre, conflict of interest--he was also a paid adviser to Bush's presidential campaign. But the underlying story, largely overlooked at the time, was something bigger: the increasingly Republican tilt of Microsoft's presence in Washington, D.C.
Not only has Microsoft hired a disproportionate share of its lobbyists from the Republican side of the aisle; it has also showered money on a host of political advocacy groups aligned with the GOP's most antitax and antigovernment wing. (A mere sampling of the groups now feeding at the Microsoft trough: Americans for Tax Reform, the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation.) But perhaps the most striking thing about Microsoft's campaign...
R emember pro-choice Republicans? They asked for so little--and they usually got it. But the elected officials among them could at least be counted on to show up and make a bit of a fuss at conventions and party functions. Remember a Bill Weld or a Christine Todd Whitman vaguely threatening a floor fight (even though we knew the threat was empty)? Or some California congressperson making the case for the big tent? Well, no more. The real news out of Philadelphia was what didn't happen. Sure, there were gospel choirs and rhythm and blues acts galore. But the party's stance on that enduring, signature wedge issue--abortion--remained firmly intact. And from all those pro-choice governors and members of Congress? Not a peep.
All of which left the handful of committed pro-choice Republicans at the GOP convention boiling mad. They didn't ask for so much, really: just an anemic platform line item pledging recognition and respect for pro-...
I n late March, when the National Association of Broadcasters held its annual Futures Summit in Pebble Beach, California, the assembled pack of Wall Street financial-analyst invitees presented the broadcasters with an astonishing but presumably welcome fact: Recent auctions in Europe and the United States indicated that the market value of the spectrum space--the airwaves over which television and radio are broadcast--that the license holders currently occupy could be as much as $367 billion. (To put that in perspective, the entire local broadcasting industry itself is worth only $100 billion.) The owners of the roughly 1,600 local television stations across the country are no longer just broadcasters. Rather, they are spectrum lords, rentiers of the digital age, sitting atop hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of prized spectrum space, which many plan to use not only for traditional broadcasting but for new, nonbroadcasting, high-tech services like wireless phones and computers,...
September 15th, 2000 -- Whither Richardson?
Bill Richardson just can't seem to catch a break. For more than a year he
was pilloried for not reacting quickly enough to the Los Alamos National
Laboratory security scandal -- a supposed lapse that probably did more
than anything to knock him out of the running as a potential V.P. pick for
Al Gore. Now, with Wen Ho Lee's release, it seems his real mistake was
overreacting to over-heated press reports in the first place -- and setting
in motion the train of events which led to the government's embarrassing
climb down on Wednesday when Lee was allowed to plea to a single felony,
and walk out of prison with time served.
But some of the heated abuse Richardson has been receiving on Capitol Hill
may not be as clear-cut or as deserved as it appears. As conservative
columnist Robert Novak reported, much of the tongue-lashing that Richardson has been subjected to by...
September 7th, 2000 -- Poll Position
A batch of new campaign polls are due out at the end of this week; and they're being eagerly awaited to see if Al Gore solidifies, or loses, his narrow lead over George W. Bush. (As of now, internal polls from both campaigns have Gore running roughly five points ahead of Bush.) But a series of state polls released over the last week provide some hints. A poll of Iowa voters completed on August 30th gave Gore a 45-37 lead; A poll of Missouri voters finished on September 1st showed Gore leading Bush by a 45-41 margin. But the news wasn't all good for Gore. A poll of Ohio voters completed on the 1st of September gave Bush a 49-43 lead; And another poll of Michigan voters, finished on August 25th showed Bush edging out Gore 40-37. A poll of Michigan voters completed two days earlier had had Gore up by 2 percent. Gore should be competitive in Ohio; but he could lose Ohio and still win the election. The same may not be true of Michigan.