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July 10, 2008



I actually agree with the McCain camp rhetoric - the FISA switch doesn't help Obama. That's what makes this episode seem so strange to me - there wasn't even a real clear-cut strategic imperative. Obama has been winning hearts and minds by communicating a clear distinction on issues of Iraq and national security, not by offering process criticism and token resistance like Kerry did in 2004. It's an extremely risk-averse strategy, and I can only hope that the only fallout from it is the passage of a terrible piece of legislation.

I disagree with Taylor Marsh, though. The FISA switch is the exception, not the rule. Obama has stood up to Republicans on a variety of issues, including some (the Roberts nomination and the Kyl-Lieberman ammendment, to name two) that saw lots of other Democrats bow to the pressure. One capitulation, no matter how disappointing, does not make a pattern. None of the other supposed "shifts" of late (the non-change on Iraq, the revelation of support for faith-based initiatives, the strategic move to refuse public financing) reveal much of anything about Obama's willingness to stand up to Republican pressure.

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