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« Muslim Women Accept Obama's Apology | Main | Hundreds Indicted for Mortgage Fraud »

June 20, 2008

Comments

Adam

Greenwald goes on to actually analyze the content:
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/06/19/telecom/index.html
Warning: it ain't pretty. A quick excerpt:

"So basically, one day in the near future, we're all going to learn that one of our federal courts dismissed all of the lawsuits against the telecoms. But we're never going to be able to know why the lawsuits were dismissed or what documents were given by the Government to force the court to dismiss the lawsuits."

I share Greenwald's deep disappointment that Obama didn't show leadership on this issue. I know he opposes this action, but he could have made a much better effort to stop it. As you know, I was planning on advocating that he do just that. It may be a moot point now.

It absolutely boggles my mind that the Democratic leadership has engineered this. It's beyond absurd, for so many reasons.

Deb

Adam,

I just read Glen's 2d piece (via your link). Thanks.

None of this surprises me, because Telecoms are well funded and tres influential. They did manage to get the Telecom Act of '96 passed (which did terrible things to media ownership).

That and they already have been mining data (and likely already have emails and phone calls belonging to politicians). If J. Edgar Hoover wasn't above it, I doubt that Telecom execs are above it.

On what, precisely, do you base your "knowledge" that Obama opposes Telecom Amnesty and expanded FISA powers?

As I've pointed out on various issues, Obama's words and actions have been known to conflict. When that happens, one must evaluate the actions, I think.

The only way to actually oppose FISA/T-Amnesty is to step up and and publicly say so (i.e., exercise leadership).

Silently waiting in a dark corner for fear of losing conservative votes is the opposite of leadership.

rawdawgbuffalo

and they still dont have it right, i mean from what they say the desire to do, but im just a serf

Adam

It's not that Obama's words and actions conflict. He stated his clear opposition to this bill the first time around in January, and I'm quite confident he'll vote against it if/when it comes to a vote. That's words and actions in concert, not in conflict. That said, he's not aggressively fighting this.

I can think of three or four explanations why:

1) He's a Trojan Horse candidate, an evil tool of the telecoms wearing the trappings of a progressive. His opposition to the bill is pure lip service.

2) He just doesn't think the issue of telecom immunity is very important.

3) He thinks this is a losing cause even with his best effort so he doesn't want to try and fail publicly.

4) He's triangulating for the general election and fears that opposing this bill loudly, and/or going into the fall without a new FISA bill on the books, will give the Republicans too much ammo.

Taking those one at a time:

I reject (1), as you could guess. For all the things you have talked about, I've seen a pretty darn consistent set of policies from Obama. There have been issues like NAFTA where the tone of the rhetoric has changed from month to month, but the core policies have been solid and unchanging. And civil liberties are certainly one of those core policies.

(2) seems pretty plainly absurd and I only include it for completeness. Basically everyone on both sides of this issue sees it as important, and Obama has issued press releases where he has clearly articulated WHY this issue matters.

(3) is certainly a possibility, and perhaps the simplest and most reasonable explanation. But damnit, I'd feel a lot better if he tried. And it would be really depressing to think that congressional Democrats are so hell-bent on this ridiculous policy that they would stand against their own nominee and the likely next POTUSA, in order to please the current administration. I guess I just explained why this issue makes me so depressed.

(4) is also a reasonable possibility, I suppose. It's not really his style, though. There aren't many issues where Obama has blatantly compromised principles in order to avoid a likely Republican attack; gay marriage is the only one that immediately springs to mind. We can quibble on this, but I think the majority of his centrist/moderate positions are sincere rather than a product of some sort of political focus group testing.

That said, and I want to emphasize this: rolling over on this issue is FUNDAMENTALLY INCONSISTENT with the way Obama has handled the majority of contentious foreign policy and national security issues.

Going back to 2002-2004, the majority of Democrats have been afraid to draw meaningful contrast between themselves and Bush on national security. Dean's primary campaign criticism of Kerry as "Bush lite" was spot-on in my opinion. This attitude was both terrible for Democrats and terrible for the country.

Obama has represented a break from this style of rhetoric. On issues from Iraq, to negotiating with Iran and Cuba, to surveillance and detention, Obama has been eager to draw a clear contrast between his policies and those of GWB. In doing so, he's shown that Democrats CAN stay principled and still win these issues. This is a large reason why, in my opinion, he has generated such a strong movement and sort of gotten the party out of the doldrums. He's shown that Americans actually do like peace and care about the Constitution.

So, with that in mind, choosing to avoid a fight here just strikes me as odd.

---

Basically, that was a very long way of saying that no matter the real reason, it's disappointing.

I suppose there's still hope for a last stand here, but I'm not holding my breath.

Deb

Adam,

You forgot a possible reason: Jay Rockefeller (who has made Telecom Amnesty his baby) endorsed Obama in February as a way of giving Obama a foreign-affairs and national-security vote of confidence. Perhaps a deal has been made.

About #1: You're euphamizing re: NAFTA (as are Obama's campaign spokespeople). The mere "tone of his rhetoric" hasn't changed. His ENTIRE MESSAGE changed from the one he spoke at the debate before Ohio.

In short, Obama just confirmed that Goolsbee accurately conveyed Obama's position to Canadian officials.

About #2, 3 and 4: I really don't know what's on Obama's mind, as he seems to say different things to different people (or at different times).

RE drawing a "clear distinction" between himself and Bush (or McCain): I don't think Obama did that re: Iraq.

He gave the IMPRESSION that his stance was different at some points, not at others. I ran a clip from a 2004 Chicago TV interview in which Obama says he didn't support troop withdrawal.

http://bucknakedpolitics.typepad.com/buck_naked_politics/2008/06/media-and-blogg.html

Video is on second page toward bottom.

Also, Obama is careful to NOT give the impression that he supports an occupation, but his own words (website) indicate that he does plan an occupation of Iraq. It's in the same post as the YouTube video (above).

I think Obama generated a "strong movement" by being vague (even disengenuous at times) about what he plans to do.

"Change you can believe in" is a great slogan, as all listeners can interpret it to mean changes that they want.

I'll give his campaign people snaps for brilliance.

billkav

I'm glad you are commenting on the FISA sell-out Congress is engaged in. We should all be sounding the alarm on this, however unlikely it is that Hoyer, Rockefeller, and Co can be stopped.

Clearly, the price the Democrats are willing to pay for not being called soft on terror is our Bill of Rights.

The more things change...

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