Government & Technology Voices

The Courting of #SiliconValley (and its #money)

silicon valley politics

Funny Money

A funny thing happens when a place inside of America makes a lot of money. Politicians take notice.

With the 2014 midterm elections just around the corner, Silicon Valley is quickly becoming a goto place for political funding and not just from local and state politicians but big time headliners as well. Of course Obama has made his way here on numerous accounts. He has held multiple fundraising events along the peninsula with pricey dinners and high profile appearances at well known executives homes. But that’s the easy money for a Democrat in Silicon Valley. It bleeds blue through and through.

What we are learning, however, is that Republicans want a piece of the action too. Rand Paul, the GOP senator from Kentucky, made his way west to speak to a group of individuals who are seeking to connect the digital 21st century to the analog 20th century Republican party (let’s be honest, Republicans do not make for poster boy’s of the technology revolution that is taking place). Paul had some good things to say about the progress Silicon Valley is making, even if it was coated in Republican rhetoric:

“I have nothing but optimism when I’m out here because I see amazing potential for growth away from the disaster that is Washington. I don’t have to think there has to be a governmental solution for everything,” the Kentucky senator told hundreds of people gathered in a hotel ballroom here. “… Don’t be depressed with how bad government is. Use your ingenuity, use your big head to think of solutions the marketplace can figure out, that the idiots and trolls in Washington will never come up with.

Paul was speaking at the inaugural Lincoln Labs Reboot conference, a multi-day effort to link conservative and libertarian techies with GOP political operatives and help Republicans break their digital disadvantage in recent presidential campaigns.

Paul is the event’s most prominent speaker. On Friday, he spoke at Mozilla on a panel about privacy  and raised money for his 2016 Senate reelection fund and his political action committee at a fundraiser hosted by technology executives and venture capitalists. Attendees paid up to $10,000 each to attend the event at a swanky steakhouse on the Embarcadero with a view of the Bay Bridge.” – LA Times

rand paul courts silicon valley

So, keep up the good work, Washington sucks, and you’re making lots of money. Sounds like the typical Republican message. Not exactly one of hope but definitely one good enough to rally around defeatists and easy-way-out-ers. Agree or disagree, but Paul would not be in our small, “liberal elitist”, counter culture part of the United States if he didn’t think that he could make a buck.

It doesn’t really show well for the conservative crowd to be affiliating with Silicon Valley.

Trouble and Debate On The Way

six californiasAs you are probably aware, 2016 is going to bring a laughable idea to the table – a six-way split-up of California. Oh sure, Silicon Valley as a state doesn’t sound pretentious at all and since it would be so small and easy to regulate it makes it a Republican’s wet dream. There would be infinitely more opportunities to divide and subdivide districts to create more seized power from the dominating liberals ruling in California.

Again, the debate here is the government is standing in the way of innovation and it is “rusty” in the way we take care of our citizens. But does Silicon Valley feel misrepresented here? Are the people and industries of these “liberal elitists” somehow preventing Facebook, Apple, HP, Google, Oracle, Twitter, EA, et al from moving forward and changing the world for the better? Is Theranos, with a board consisting of high ranking members of the Federal Government and Military, moving to the cheap red states of the south?

The message is staying the same but the money is real and so are the Republican operatives taking notice of how we can build all electric cars (environment), open our arms wide for immigrants who want to come and build their American dream (immigration), disrupt the way we think about marriage (civil rights), and create an industry that has literally affected every single person on the face of the planet while building wealth for hundreds of millions of people (innovation and economy). And for good measure we don’t have guns and still have Planned Parenthood and don’t mind it, either.

It sure sounds like Democrat’s are standing in the way of a “rusty” befuddling (Republican) Congress.

It’s not that the Democratic party doesn’t have its faults. They DO! It’s the problem that it is the same story, told by the same men, looking to advance their political careers by explaining how their opposition sucks and they need our money to help them do…what?

Solution?

Many of Silicon Valley-ers are attempting to break into political careers at the Federal level but the problem is that so much of Washington is stuck in the old industries of the South (oil and energy) Midwest (agribusiness) and Northwest (financial) that there is little room for tech. That is until the lobbyists show up to start paying off the politicians who need to be re-elected for their umpteenth term.

So, maybe Paul coming to the Bay Area is the first in a long line of Dem-Ind-Rep politicians looking for the next pay day.

But what is the solution? What is the end game? Keep moving forward. Keep disrupting. Keep thinking different. Keep being Silicon Valley. Government will always be behind the times, and as soon as it stops being slower to adapt than the private sector is when we realize that true innovation is in trouble. That is America’s story. This is how we move forward, by being noble and taking the risk to find the reward of both the monetary and intrinsic kind.

What the solution is not is Rand Paul’s idea: “What’s going to happen, whether the government likes it or not, there’s going to be a revolution,” Paul said. “And there already is this revolution occurring and I think we’re seeing the tip of the iceberg.” The “revolution” Mr. Paul speaks of is inflationary rhetoric. We LOVE revolutions. Heck, the USA was founded on a Revolution. The Silicon Valley is a revolution of sorts. But the last thing we need is a revolt against our government and creating upset in the system. That would cause all out anarchy and leave us vulnerable from the top on down.

In a word our solution is: Hope

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