Thursday, November 07, 2002
Wishful thinking: Glenn Reynolds wants Bush to take on the entertainment industry to shore up his populist/pro-consumer credentials. Ain't gonna happen. No one actually votes on the issue of copywrite/patent reform, which is part of this package of issues. But business donates heavily - to both parties - to keep the current broken system in place.
Reynolds is concerned about artists getting shafted, and illegal price-fixing and so forth. Okay, who's going to go after the industry for these abuses - Attorney General John Ashcroft? How long before the Democrats spin this as "really" a crusade against artists and free expression? And how on earth are the Republicans going to seem credible?
The GOP has refused, as a party, to take on bi-lingual education, even though its only supporters are teachers' unions and Hispanic activists, and even though a majority of Hispanics support English immersion, and even though Republican voters overwhelmingly support it. Why? Because they are afraid of being attacked as anti-Hispanic and losing swing-voters. The politics of copywrite reform are even worse. Republicans cannot credibly look pro-consumer on first glance, and first glance is all they are going to get from the majority of voters who don't understand the issue at all.
And the GOP base doesn't care about the issue. Religious conservatives don't consume this product. Big-business conservatives will be, if anything, hostile. Even free-market conservatives are unlikely to understand the issue well enough to get on Glenn's side of the issue. And they will legitimately worry that opening up this particular can of worms legitimates Democratic attacks on the pharmaceutical industry and maybe even Microsoft. I'm afraid this one's a certified loser.