The lead up to Google's antitrust hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon feels like a little bit like the aftermath to a playground fist fight. Yelp, Expedia and Nextag have been yelling to the authority figures, the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, that Google is bullying them by demoting their listings in search results. Google chairman Eric Schmidt will testify under oath and defend his company's behavior. A preview of his statements suggests he'll say that Google plays fair by making a free market-friendly argument. With a new army of right-leaning lobbyists, the stereotypically leftwing company has been taking a Republican-friendly approach to defend themselves against the antitrust accusations--kind of like a bully sucking up not just to their favorite teachers but to all the teachers. Regardless of whether they get a slap on the wrist or a free pass in the antitrust hearing, Google's finally gone bipartisan in Washington.
Reports of Google scooping up high profile Republicans started popping up around the same time that the antitrust accusations started to pick up around the world. Following the announcement of a formal investigation in Europe in December 2010, reports started to surface that Google might have some trouble with the GOP for then-CEO Eric Schmidt's ties to the Obama administration. "The pro-free-market group National Legal and Policy Center, for example, has labeled the company the Halliburton of the Obama years," The Hill reported at the time.