MIAMI – Move over, Al Gore. You may lay claim to the Internet, but John McCain helped create the BlackBerry.
At least that’s the contention of a top McCain policy adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin. Waving his BlackBerry personal digital assistant and citing McCain’s work as a senator, he told reporters Tuesday, “You’re looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create.”
McCain has acknowledged that he doesn’t know how to use a computer and can’t send e-mail, one of the BlackBerry’s prime functions.
The point here was to combat suggestions from the Obama campaign that McCain is too old to understand the issues and policies surrounding the communications and internet industries. Holtz-Eakin is saying that McCain’s service on the Senate Commerce Committee (which oversees telecommunications issues) helped create the Blackberry.
Which is pretty absurd. Smart people working for profits in the private sector created the Blackberry, not politicians sitting at desks in Washington. And frankly, it’s a little insulting for any politician to take credit for a technological innovation that was developed in the private sector. As if it were taxes and regulations, and not the desire to supply the public with quality and affordable products that they want, that lead to innovation.
It’s a decidedly non-conservative idea, and one that’s troubling coming out of the McCain campaign.