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Think Obama and McCain really care about tech? Yeah, right

Silicon Valley is important but don't buy into the mistaken notion that it has become a political power in its own right. Not in this election, at least.

If you reside in Washington for any length of time, it's not long before you believe that the world revolves around the Beltway. The same can be said about Silicon Valley, where a similar fishbowl effect often fosters an exaggerated image of the high-technology industry's impact on the larger culture and society.

Even more so when it comes to gauging the political influence of the technology business on the fall presidential campaigns. You might think the Democrats and Republicans are eager to raise the banner on behalf of their friends in Silicon Valley. The assumption is that the two major parties will cater accordingly. After all, the industry has so much money to spend and all those political action committees, and they naturally want to get their rightful share. Right?

Not so fast.

Sure, the Democrats and Republicans are eager to court deep-pocketed donors. But the power broker image exists more in the minds of the people living between San Jose and San Francisco than it does with the movers and shakers guiding the Obama and McCain campaigns.

With the candidates hitting the road after the wrap-up of the political conventions, this much is certain: The resolution of policy issues like Net neutrality may be near and dear to folks from the likes of Cisco and Google. But neither Barack Obama nor John McCain plans to give impassioned speeches urging passage or rejection of this, or other pieces of, tech-related legislation over the next couple of months.

Earlier Monday, I spoke with my colleague Declan McCullagh on the CNET News Daily Debrief about where the tech agenda fits in with the two campaigns. Declan's back from covering the Democratic and Republican conventions for us where he had an extended opportunity to chat about technology policy with regulars from both parties. You can check out our conversation by clicking on the video link below.

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