Yesterday, Kathleen Abernathy– one of two current GOP members of the FCC–announced she would be leaving the Commission effective December 9. The announcement was no surprise–her term has already expired, and she had long made it clear that she would not seek re-appointment.
Still, she will be missed. Abernathy is one of a rare breed in Washington–a policymaker who never really sought the limelight, but consistently worked to do the right thing. Her style was in marked contrast to the flamboyant pyrotechnic style of others, such as former chair Michael Powell. Perhaps that was because of her long service as an FCC staffer, perhaps that is just her personality. But limelight or no, Abernathy’s opinions and votes always seemed well-reasoned, and grounded in common sense. And, while Powell and others got attention for being pro-market visionaries, Abernathy proved herself as the most consistent voice for markets at the Commission during her tenure.
As noted here previously, President Bush has yet to name her sucessor. Finding someone as good will be difficult. But he should try.