Posted by Rojas @ 6:10 pm on July 4th 2008

Obama’s FISA evolution

TPM charts the Obama campaign’s public statements. January 28…

No one should get a free pass to violate the basic civil liberties of the American people — not the President of the United States, and not the telecommunications companies that fell in line with his warrantless surveillance program. We have to make clear the lines that cannot be crossed.

…to July 3…

Well, the bill has changed. So, I don’t think the security threats have changed. I think the security threats are similar.
My view on FISA has always been that the issue of the phone companies per se is not one that overrides the security interests of the American people.

Obama’s current stance is that the telecom immunity should be removed from the bill, but if it isn’t, he’ll vote to enact it into law.

Really, the Iraq walkback matters a whole lot less than this. The situation in Iraq has changed over the last six months. The nature of civil liberties hasn’t. And Obama’s explanation–that the new bill is better than the old–is entirely unpersuasive given that he has changed his public stance regarding whether the un-altered portions of the bill are deal-breakers.

I suspect that the last bit is what’s really making his supporters angry. Obama’s “explanation” of his change on this issue, delivered directly to those who have been working hardest on his behalf, really could not be more disingenuous.


  1. It’s one of those situations where not only do I not know what he’s doing, I’m unclear on what he thinks he’s doing.

    Comment by Brad — 7/5/2008 @ 1:01 am

  2. I guess I sort of favor Krauthammer’s explanation on this one: Obama cleanly wins on other issues and on personality, so the less distance between himself and McCain on these matters, the better.

    Why make the election a referendum on civil liberties of terror suspects when you could, instead, be handing out candy?

    Comment by Rojas — 7/5/2008 @ 1:38 am

  3. Snake oil has an aftertaste.

    Comment by James — 7/5/2008 @ 6:08 am

  4. Actually, I think Krauthammer’s explanation was “Why make the election a referendum on civil liberties of terror suspects when you could, instead, make it about personality and charisma?”

    Comment by Brad — 7/5/2008 @ 4:46 pm

  5. Consider mine a variation on Krauthammer’s, then. I think it has to do both with what he finds strategically useful and with what he defines as the core of his candidacy.

    Comment by Rojas — 7/5/2008 @ 5:36 pm

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