Jacking in from the Political Port:
Washington, D.C. -- The Clinton Administration's stealth candidate for FCC Chairman, Reed Hundt, made his debut performance here Wednesday testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee that he is committed to encouraging competition in the telecommunications industry.
The 45-year-old Hundt, an antitrust lawyer, breezed through the confirmation hearings. The committee lobbed softball questions at Hundt who gave noncommittal answers, often citing poetry and anecdotes about family. In a tortured analogy of Cyberspace, Hundt said the U.S. has the potential to "create here... an electronic golden age of discourse, entertainment, learning and shared experience." I doubt he was talking about Billy Idol's Cyberpunk CD... but I didn't get close enough to ask him.
Committee Chmn. Hollings (D-S.C.) said he would try to speed the vote on Hundt by sending it directly to the Senate floor, bypassing the usual thumbs up, thumbs down vote from the Committee.
The FCC has been operating on a skeleton crew for the past 6 months -- only 3 of 5 commissioners are still in place. And Clinton still hasn't nominated a Republican candidate, a congressional mandate for the makeup of the Commission to ensure one-party doesn't stranglehold the agency.
Hundt's had little telecommunications experience; however, as former editor of the Yale Daily News, he does take credit for discovering Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau. Nice touch, but it won't help much when trying to decide whether or not local telephone companies can enter the long distance market... No word from Trudeau on whether Hundt becomes grist for future Doones strips.
Since being nominated, he's rebuffed repeated attempts by major communications companies offering to "brief" him on important issues.