When Not Inventing the BlackBerry, What Did John McCain Do As Commerce Chairman?

| Tue Sep. 16, 2008 11:54 AM PDT

John McCain has admitted in his more candid moments that "the issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should." So if he wasn't learning economics, what exactly did McCain do as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee from 1997-2001 and 2003-2005?

Not a whole heck of a lot. Former FCC chairman Reed Hundt told Salon last month, "The thing that stands out for his entire tenure is that he has never had a priority, and has never had, to my knowledge, any accomplishment of any kind at all." Think Progress points out that, "When McCain took over his second tenure of Senate Commerce Committee, the United States ranked fourth in broadband penetration. In 2007, two years after he had given up that position, the United States had dropped to 15th in the world."

Think Progress also spoke to Blair Levin, Hundt's chief of staff at the FCC. He points out that McCain actually voted against the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA '93) that "authorized the spectrum auctions that created the competitive wireless market that gave rise to companies like Research in Motion [the creator of Blackberry]."

Conclusion: Not only did McCain not invent the BlackBerry, he was one of only five Senators who voted against a BlackBerry-creating bill.

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