Powell didn’t challenge my central argument — that McCain sees no need for the President to address issues like Internet openness, broadband deployment, online privacy, and transparent government. On technology, the contrast between the two candidates isn’t a disagreement over policies; it’s a disagreement over whether to have policies.
Powell did specifically address my point that so many leading figures in the tech world support Obama. He listed a few CEOs in the McCain camp. Oddly, despite his emphasis on entrepreneurs as catalysts of innovation and growth, all but two are professional managers. The only company founders are Michael Dell, a longtime big Republican donor, and Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce.com.
I know Marc Benioff. He has spoken at my annual Supernova conference. I was surprised to see him listed as a committed McCain supporter. Well, I checked, and he’s not. He contributed money to both campaigns, and has not made a public endorsement.
I’m sure Powell didn’t intentionally misrepresent Benioff’s position. It was an honest mistake, but a telling one. This was the best list McCain’s leading tech advisor could come up with. By contrast, Obama had the public support of dozens of leading tech entrepreneurs, executives, and scholars eight months ago. That was even before the primaries, so you can imagine the list now.
There are still those who remain convinced — despite two decades of evidence to the contrary — that Republicans are always good for business and Democrats are always bad. The Obama campaign is about putting aside such preconceptions. Look at what the candidates actually say and do. Decide who you think better appreciates the significance of our connected digital age. I think the choice is pretty clear.