Google unlikely to win GOP’s love

Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Google unlikely to win GOP’s love

    Google’s efforts to ingratiate itself with Republicans in the Congress with campaign contributions may not prevent the new House majority from making “trouble” for the search engine, according to a Capitol Hill weekly.

    “Saddled with the perception that it is a darling of the Obama administration, Google may have it tough with Republicans,” says The Hill. Google’s abandonment of net neutrality in favor of a more laissez faire approach favored by Verizon and other telecommunication companies eager to create a two-tiered Internet has gained the Internet giant no favor from Republicans.

    Instead, House Republicans are focusing on Google’s Achilles Heel: privacy.

    “New online privacy rules that could squeeze Google’s business model are one of the few legislative issues on which Democrats and Republicans say they can work together,” the Hill reported earlier this month.

    The Hill says Google is now looking to defend its interests with a “strong bench” of Republican strategists, including policy counsel Pablo Chavez, a former aide to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.); communications executive Jill Hazelbaker, a top aide on McCain’s presidential campaign; and policy manager Seth Webb, a former aide to then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.)

    Whether these Washington-based hired guns can sell Google’s preferred policies to a House caucus that has moved to the right is open to question.

    Chavez, a free marketer who defended Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick, has advocated raising the cap on the number H-1B visas that enable the hiring of foreign nationals. Rep. Lamar Smith, the incoming chair of the Judiciary Committee, has supported raising the cap in the past but says his priority now is “to secure the border first.”

    Hazelbaker, hired in January, previously worked for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the former Republican who is anathema to the right for his support of immigration reform, not to mention gay marriage, gun control, and the so-called Ground Zero mosque.

    Webb boasts of his role in getting Republican approval of the Medicare prescription drug plan, the largest recent expansion of the federal role in the health care until the Obama health care plan was approved.

    Google’s Washington team has moved to the right politically, but probably not far enough to appease the new GOP majority.

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