The major element missing from the story is that some heavy-hitting Republican Senators and Representatives have
written to the Secretary of Commerce asking for special attention to ICANN matters. That ensures that at least some attention will be paid from on high. On the other hand, as the article notes, the Bush administration has yet to even nominate a person to run the NTIA, the part of the Commerce Department nominally in charge of ICANN matters (a lot also seems to happen in the General Counsel's office).
Currently the NTIA is being run by career civil servants, people who helped set up ICANN and who still, from what I can see, seem to who believe that ICANN can do little wrong. Yesterday, for example, at a meeting I attended in Washington DC, one of them told me that Louis Touton was doing a great job, and that there had already been full consultation on the gTLD contracts in Melbourne, so why was I saying they should have a duplicative comment period before the Department of Commerce makes a decision?
When I protested that large parts of the new gTLD contracts were not even agreed to, much less public, in Melbourne [and they still are not!], the reaction was frank disbelief -- I had become a crank, and the conversation was as good as over.
I forsee a rubber stamp in our future -- unless substantial outside pressure is brought to bear.
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