Media Access Project’s Harold Feld has written an interesting analysis of FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s history of positions and decisions. Feld claims that Martin’s approach is very consistent, marked by a brand of free-market pragmatism he calls “First Church of the Market — Reformed”:
Like most Republicans, Kevin Martin is all about the deregulated free market. But unlike many Republicans (who, lets face it, really don’t understand jack about this except for what the get from bumper stickers they pick up at CATO events and reading the back cover of the Penguin Edition of Wealth of Nations) Martin recognizes that (a) empirical data matters, and (b) there are things that won’t happen that should happen, even if a market is “competitive” for most other purposes.
Feld’s arguments are pretty persuasive, and he’s not trying to let Martin off the hook. Rather, he is trying to argue that Martin is not simply fickle and idiosyncratic. Nevertheless, Martin’s “faith” also seems to endow him with a stubbornness and doggedness that gird his sneaky, strong-arm tactics. He may not be a free-market true believer on par with Michael Powell, but if Feld’s analysis is at all on target then we really can’t expect him to listen much to public input that runs counter to his gospel, and his record bares that out.