Libertarians poke old-school GOPers
By: Anna Palmer and Jonathan Allen
January 18, 2012 11:31 PM EST
The hot fad on Capitol Hill Wednesday: Bash SOPA on your Twitter or Facebook account, even if you once supported it.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a co-sponsor of the Senate bill, posted on Facebook that he’s now a “no.” Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) tweeted he’s out. And Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) logged into both of his accounts to say he won’t support the legislation.
“Thank God twitter isn’t blocked today so I can tell you that I refuse to vote for #SOPA. #uncensored#StopSOPA,” Walsh wrote, using the acronym for the Stop Online Piracy Act to help keep his tweet under 140 characters.
The en masse digital defectors sided with tech titans against the longtime Chamber of Commerce-backed entertainment giants who make movies, music and TV shows, after a months-long, online pressure campaign from sites like Reddit, Google and Twitter.
The tsunami of opposition also highlights the fight between libertarians and more traditional Republicans as younger lawmakers and staff pay more attention to online grass-roots activism.
“There need to be some changes made,” Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) said of the bill. “It’s not in a place where it can or should pass.”
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a darling of the right, has come in for criticism before siding with the Web.
The social news site Reddit launched an online campaign, Operation Pull Ryan, to unseat him. The reason: They believed Ryan supported the bill. He released a statement on Monday firmly announcing his opposition, concluding that the bill could create “undue regulation, censorship and legal abuse.”
Redstate.com, an opinion mover in GOP circles, targeted Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in a post earlier this week. Blackburn didn’t flip under the pressure.
“I love Marsha Blackburn. She is a delightful and a solidly conservative member of Congress,” blogger Erik Erickson wrote. But “I am pledging right now that I will do everything in my power to defeat her in her 2012 reelection bid.”