Patrick Ruffini: I think in this discussion it’s helpful to distinguish between the big issues (Obamacare, debt ceiling, taxes, etc.) that receive the bulk of press coverage and heavily divided along partisan lines, and back burner bills dealing with obscure regulatory issues that are actually the majority of what Congress deals with (especially at the committee level) and which are the focus of the vast majority of lobbying dollars. SOPA was just such a bill. It attracted bipartisan support, and eventually bipartisan opposition. The two parties in this case were not R and D, but content on one side and technology on the other (both users and big players united).

From a conservative (and non-corporatist) perspective, Congress’s preoccupation with these bills is problematic because a lot of issues that should be dealt with in the marketplace are actually being dealt with by regulators or members of Congress who aren’t qualified to arbitrate between different industries. And a lot of conservatives go along with this, taking convoluted positions that favor some form of government regulation (copyright being one, but you could go down the list and include Internet taxes etc.) and getting away with it because the issues are fairly obscure, and no one is going to call them on this inconsistency.

Our role in SOPA was to make sure that they couldn’t get away with that, and that this actually became an issue for grassroots conservative primary voters. Eventually, every Republican Presidential candidate was asked about this and all opposed it.

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