Genachowski stays in character as he faces down legal challenges

Thrown a curve ball by the federal courts, the FCC’s wily chief matched it with a pitch of his own.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski had been facing two bad options for resolving the big problem he was handed last month by an appellate court decision. That court decision undermined the legal rational for much of the Obama administration’s agenda regarding the expansion of broadband service and implementing ‘Net neutrality as the law of the land. Genachowski steered the FCC’s legal eagles to find a “third way” alternative that drew on past precedent of how the FCC tackled policy issues involving new technologies that few people — let alone Congress — really understand.

The innovative rationale is impressive, even if the opposition is already lining up against it. (It’s a “job-killer,” fumed House GOP leader John Boehner last week.)

With verbose, wonkish eloquence, Genachowski’s six-page statement outlining the plan strains to emphasize his understanding of the danger of “regulatory overreach.”

That said, Genachowski does have big plans. In March he delivered a 360-page National Broadband Plan to Congress, and he isn’t going to let that die just because of a court ruling in a case that preceded his tenure at the FCC.

“The issues presented by the (appellate) decision are a test of whether Washington can work — whether we can avoid straw-man arguments and the descent into hyperbole that too often substitute for genuine engagement,” he said — sounding like the good friend of President Obama that he is.

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