Our elected leaders used to set the tone of political discourse. Today, politicians take cues from their tribe, gleaning their talking points from whatever’s trending on social media that day. And because legislation can’t be written in 140 characters, there’s a huge disconnect between the soundbites that voters want to hear and the substantive policies the country actually needs. That disconnect is particularly pervasive in technology policy — or the extreme lack thereof. The tech industry moves so fast and the nuances are so complex, Congress can’t keep up.
Today on The Dumbest Guy in the Room, host John Dick welcomes Congressman Mike Doyle, who’s retiring after this term following 28 years in the House of Representatives. Congressman Doyle holds a seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and he chairs the subcommittee on communications and technology, where the most important debates on tech policy are happening. The two talk about the changes the congressman has seen over three decades in Washington; how the new breed of politicians is more interested in being social media stars than passing laws; and why tech remains largely unregulated.