Now that we spend so much of our time and money online it’s hard and probably unrealistic to separate the product from the politics. By the time you get to be as big and powerful as Google you can expect to trip over issues on a regular basis. Today is no exception. I honestly don’t know why Google backed the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) which appears to be a right wing-nut lobby group pushing back on multiple government oversight issues…but apparently they are ending their support because the group is one of the many on the right practicing active climate change denial.
I have to imagine that Google is hoping that the military moves against ISIS (or is it now ISIL) will keep this story to a very short news cycle. Google is a huge player in the DC lobby ecosystem and it has undeniably paid off. Although they are assailed on many fronts in the EU and Asia the US remains a very safe harbor. This kind of tin-eared support of anti oversight groups makes sense on an “enemy of my enemy is my friend” basis…but you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas. Google has been wildly successful in cultivating their reputation as cool guys…albeit with a market cap twice the GDP of Scotland. Getting caught making nice with the folks who fervently supported Florida’s Stand Your Ground legislation won’t sit well with many.
The trick here is to lobby ferociously but do it from a moral high ground…you stand in danger of losing that high ground when you share it with folks who are spending a lot of time and money trying to convince the world that the crazy climate change we are enjoying isn’t man influenced. Indeed Google itself is based in the same California which is currently in massive drought and in danger of burning down and blowing away. Let’s see if this story has legs.