The Republican Party's 2008 presidential candidate, Senator McCain, is joining with Senator Kerry, the Democratic Party's 2004 presidential candidate, to impose onerous rules that could strangle, or at least slow, one of the few fast-growing sectors of the American economy, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Well, actually, the way the Journal phrases it is that the two senators "are circulating proposed legislation to create an 'online privacy bill of rights,' according to people familiar with the situation, a sign of bipartisan support for efforts to curb the Internet-tracking industry."
As is often the case, the commenters on the Journal Web site are ahead of the news coverage. Writes one, "Exactly what harm is occurring that this legislation--more laws is always Congress' solution to every perceived problem--is needed to fix? American society is strangling in laws already. Sheesh. You would think McCain would know better...oh, I forgot: he's more Progressive than Republican." Writes another, "This is the exact reason why the [Republican in Name Only McCain] lost the election..he's always getting into bed with some Progressive and calling it bipartisanship."
One of the themes around here is that it's both parties, not just the Democrats, that have been part of the problem in Washington, and this is a fine example.
Another point made here from time to time is that the incentives of journalistic prizes have a way of distorting good journalism. The Journal has been running a series — "What They Know" — on online privacy. These serieses are designed to win prizes, and there's nothing that impresses a prize jury more that a journalistic series deserves a prize than legislative action aimed at rectifying the problem described by the series. It's a self-reinforcing pattern, because in introducing the legislation, the lawmakers can be sure they'll be applauded by the same journalists who wrote the series outlining the problem.