July 2, 2008

The NYT notices that pro-Obama bloggers are mad at Obama over his flip on telecommunications immunity.

James Risen writes:
During the Democratic primary campaign, Mr. Obama vowed to fight such legislation to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. But he has switched positions, and now supports a compromise hammered out between the White House and the Democratic Congressional leadership....

“I don’t think there has been another instance where, in meaningful numbers, his supporters have opposed him like this,” said Glenn Greenwald, a Salon.com writer who opposes Mr. Obama’s new position. “For him to suddenly turn around and endorse this proposal is really a betrayal of what so many of his supporters believed he believed in.”

Jane Hamsher, a liberal blogger who also opposes immunity for the phone companies, said she had been flooded with messages from Obama supporters frustrated with his new stance.

“The opposition to Obama’s position among his supporters is very widespread,” said Ms. Hamsher, founder of the Web site firedoglake.com. “His promise to filibuster earlier in the year, and the decision to switch on that is seen as a real character problem. I know people who are really very big Obama supporters are very disillusioned.”...

“I will continue to support him,” [said Markos Moulitsas, a liberal blogger and founder of the Daily Kos.] “But I was going to write him a check, and I decided I would rather put that money with Democrats who will uphold the Constitution.”
You can't please everybody, and if you want to be President, you really can't please Greenwald, Hamsher, and Kos. Obama is taking the right position now, and he should defend it frankly.

32 comments:

MadisonMan said...

As someone who is curious to see how Obama would step on the toes of the far left segments of the Democratic Party if he is elected -- given that in all likelihood he'll have a majority in the House and Senate -- I'm watching this with interest. I have no wish to revisit unthinking one-party rule like that which we all suffered through from 2001 to 2007.

Simon said...

Ooh, the rotters! Quick, someone click their "report this" button so that the Ministry of Truth can reeducate them.

AllenS said...

I've got news for liberals, and pro-Obama bloggers, President Obama is not going to immediately withdraw troops from Iraq.

Simon said...

MM, you're forgetting the period when the Senate was in the custody of the other party. That rat Jeffords crossed the aisle in May '01, so not until January '03 did the CGOP control the Senate. None of which is to excuse their betrayal of Republican principles in the years that followed, of course.

Simon said...
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Simon said...

AllenS,
Oh, come on. His website says that "Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months." You think he's lying? That's part of the world of politics as usual. Obama doesn't believe in that stuff - and changing it was his announced raison d'ĂȘtre. I think we can trust him.

PatHMV said...

Nothing could help Obama more right now than to demonstrate his independence from the loony left.

Roger J. said...

Volokh has a similar article on Obama's straddle on Same Sex Marriage--I simply don't understand why people are surprised to find that --- GASP---he's a politician and will say anything that gets him votes. McCain, is, IMO, a bit better in this regard. The problem that Obama is going to have is that he has raised expectations among what appear to be the more idealistic (and perhaps more gullible) segments of the polity. These folks are going to be far more disappointed than I during the campaign, and if and when he takes the oath of office.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I think his devoted followers may be slowly coming to the realization that Obama's message of CHANGE is all about him changing his mind.

PatHMV said...

Oh, and Jane "Black Face" Hamsher would be an ideal first target for Sen. Obama's necessary "Sister Souljah" moments.

Simon said...

Roger, I'm not persuaded by the criticism of Obama's supposed flip flop on same-sex marriage. I don't disagree that he's been cagey and tried to play all sides, but I'm not convinced that he's actually flip flopped.

garage mahal said...

As someone who is curious to see how Obama would step on the toes of the far left segments of the Democratic Party if he is elected

Thing is, the 4th Amendment has nothing to do with the far left segment of the party. There was no "compromise", as there was nothing wrong with FISA to begin with. The only thing they thought was wrong about it was they got caught breaking it.

Roger J. said...

Simon: my take on BO (to avoid using the dreaded Middle Name/Initial): He will straddle first to avoid being pinned down, and flip flop as a last recourse. In short, he's a politician first and foremost. That must come as real shock to those who believed his "change" schtick. If this guy is elected, the left is going to be far more disappointed in him than the right.

AlphaLiberal said...

Obama is very disappointing here. Retroactive immunity for large corporations who knowingly broke the law is a terrible idea.

So much for the rule of law.

P. Rich said...

But he has switched positions

Well, duh. But apparently a "flip-flopper" label, which the media were so quick to trot out for Romney, would be racist, or something equally evil like appropos, and is to be avoided at all costs.

Meanwhile, from Glen Reynolds:

"As in other recent campaigns, lawyers account for the biggest chunk of Democratic donations." Nobody's more grassrootsy than us lawyers! We're the salt of the Earth. But it's not just lawyers: "When you break it out by individual companies, you find that employees of Goldman Sachs gave more to Obama than workers of any other employer. The Goldman Sachs geniuses are followed by employees of the University of California, UBS, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, National Amusements, Lehman Brothers, Harvard and Google."

Quotes are from the NYT. And then there's:

"They [lawyers] have donated about $18 million to Obama, compared with about $5 million to John McCain, according to data released on June 2 and available at OpenSecrets.org."

and

"Professors and other people who work in education have given Obama roughly $7 million, compared with $700,000 for McCain."

So I guess if one is a lawyer and a professor, the odds of being steeped in Obamaluv are pretty good.

Toby said...

You know what's most disturbing about this little dust up? It raises the possibility that Greenwald actually believes the ridiculous arguments he makes. I always thought he was a hack. But if he’s sincere…wow.

Richard said...

AllenS said: "I've got news for liberals, and pro-Obama bloggers, President Obama is not going to immediately withdraw troops from Iraq."

True. To understand why President Obama won't withdraw troops, you need only understand why the King of France won't withdraw troops.

Doyle said...

If you like the FISA "compromise" legislation than why don't you say so. Or are you so unbelievably shallow and stupid that you really do just like it because it makes Glenn Greenwald angry?

Doyle said...

Nothing could help Obama more right now than to demonstrate his independence from the loony left.

With their insistence that government surveillance of Americans be conducted "legally" and that those who did so illegally should be "charged". What kooks!

Clearly the laws are to be made up as we go along.

Doyle said...
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knoxwhirled said...

Obama is taking the right position now, and he should defend it frankly.

That's how a lot of people feel about Bush a lot of the time.

Dan Collins said...

Obama made his decision when he accepted Dodd's endorsement. It's not a coincidence that the FISA conflict got fixed at the same time Congress was debating bailing out the big mortgage lenders.

Rocker 419 said...

Obama gets the Democratic nomination and begins to shift, moving towards the center. It's called "getting elected." It also means (surprise) ambition over ideals.

Mister Snitch! said...

"I've got news for liberals, and pro-Obama bloggers, President Obama is not going to immediately withdraw troops from Iraq."

I am preparing to blame Bush.

Bruce Hayden said...

With their insistence that government surveillance of Americans be conducted "legally" and that those who did so illegally should be "charged". What kooks!

Define "Americans" here. Do you have any proof that a U.S. citizen in the U.S. had his electronic communications illegally surveilled? Or is this just accepted common wisdom on the left? And, how do you know that there was illegal surveillance going on anyway? Was there a court case supporting this contention (that was not reversed upon appeal)? If so, please provide us with a cite for the case. Otherwise, I will assume that you are making all this up as you go along.

Two interrelated things were going on with this. The big thing to remember here is that the NSA programs couldn't be shut down in court. ACLU, et al. had tried and failed on numerous occasions. But the telcoms providing the NSA the access didn't have as much legal protection. So, one the one hand, litigation against them would provide another avenue for vindication that the programs were illegal. And, secondly, litigation could force them to terminate that access.

Of course, that would leave the Democrats vulnerable to the charge that they were effectively shutting down a valuable intelligence tool in the face of international terrorism in an election year. Of course, that only affects Democrats with insecure seats, but those are precisely the seats that may give them a working majority in the next Congress. Obama's Senate seat is probably safe enough that he could have voted against the bill - except that he will be trying to win purple districts across the country in order to win the presidency. So, he flopped.

Simon said...

Bruce, advocatus diaboli, how would you prove that you'd been surveilled if you can't get into discovery because the government asserts state secrets? You suspect it, and maybe with good reason - but how do you prove it?

Montagne Mointaigne said...

It's called compromise. It's what people do when they want to get things done.

p.s. Allens: Obama has always been for "being as careful getting out as we were careless going in." At least he wants to withdraw! McCain wants to stay in Iraq until there are no casualties, at which point we can stay forever. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

Republicans want permanent military occupation of Iraq. Democrats don't want that, and neither do Iraqis. It's a clear, simple choice.

Dave said...

Simon: "how would you prove that you'd been surveilled if you can't get into discovery because the government asserts state secrets? You suspect it, and maybe with good reason - but how do you prove it?"

Great questions. Great. Perhaps it should lead one to question big government with lots of power *EVEN IF* said big, powerful government is being run by Democrats with only the purest of motives. I mean its not like the Clintons or anybody illegally possessed FBI files or anything like that. (And besides, just like all Leftist, if the did, and if it was against the law it's okay *because* they're Democrats and their hearts are pure. It was all for the good of those sheeple who are too busy clinging to their guns and their Bibles. Same with Waco.)

jmatt said...

Another poster said: I've got news for liberals, and pro-Obama bloggers, President Obama is not going to immediately withdraw troops from Iraq.

I've been saying that since the moment he became a contender. Obama's not gonna throw away the Bush war victory. He's gonna claim it for himself.

But from the moment he's elected, I am simply going to ask everyone that voted for him:

Are the troops home yet?
Are the troops home yet?
Are the troops home yet?
Are the troops home yet?

ChrisLee said...

Imagine you run a gym. The FBI bursts through the doors and tells you they have reason to suspect a bomb may be in one of the lockers of one of your members. They tell you that they are pretty sure they bomb will not be used to blow up your gym, but that it probably be moved and used to blow up a government building in the next 4 hours and if they can’t check it out, people may die.

Now tell me, if you are the owner of the gym are you going to demand a warrant and tell the FBI to take a hike if they don’t have one? Maybe you would, but it is easy to imagine many good people deciding that searching the locker then and there would be the right thing to do. Now imagine this is all taking place 6 months after 9/11.

What I am describing analogous to the situation the telecoms found themselves in after 9/11. Just like the FBI would have been accountable for searching without a warrant, the executive branch is accountable for the illegal wiretapping. Punishing telecoms for whom the question of right and wrong in this particular situation was probably ambiguous (those being actively monitored were non-US citizens living outside the US who sometimes made calls into the US) is just a spiteful stunt because the democrats couldn’t nail the president himself.

ted said...

O please, is this really a serious thread? Obama is an out and out far lefty. If he was to run on the platform that won the Dem nomination, he would win MA and DC, period.

He has no intention of governing on his new platform. The one he is running on right now would still have won him the nomination- just the Republican one.

Once elected Obama will proceed to enact his radicla far left agenda, the way Jimmy Carter did. Which we are still paying for today.

Montagne Mointaigne said...

jmatt, if that's really what you're going to do, then you're a child. A bratty, ignorant child.