Saturday, June 21, 2008

FISA fallout

By Libby

I've been wrestling with my response to the FISA debacle, particularly as it relates to Obama's statement for over a day and posted my initial thoughts at Newshoggers so I won't repeat them here but I will expand on them a bit. I'm somewhere between our own beloved Capt Fogg and Glenn Greenwald.

I was going to flag the same quote as Fogg, and taken in context with Obama's larger statement it pissed me off. Obama fell down on reclaiming the narrative on terror from the GOP and effectively reinforced the false meme that we must allow the expansion of presidential power and sacrifice our civil rights for safety. His assurances that he will review it all when he's president is not comforting. It's unsurprising that this led to a fair amount of speculation that he wants these powers for himself.

The appropriate response came from Mo Udall.
The FISA bill we considered today would compromise the constitutionally guaranteed rights that make America a beacon of hope around the world.
But although that's a brave statement and deserves commendation, Udall doesn't have the same political cost to consider in taking that stance. As a presidential candidate Obama walks a fine line where every word is parsed by the media and one can see where they would make great hay with a "caving into the far left demands" narrative. It leaves him with a damned if you do, damned if you don't choice that I'm glad I don't have to make.

As I said at Newshoggers, I think the most practical approach to the pushback for progressives is to frame the critcism as a Democratic party failure and not overly focus on holding Obama personally responsible for it. I don't think he has the power, even as the presumptive nominee, to move this issue on his own. If he manages to lead a push to remove the telecom immunity, and succeeds, that will be a small victory and a sign of good faith. If he fails to do so, I think he will find that he will have lost, if not votes, a large chunk of enthusiam of the kind he needs to get into office with a mandate for change.

Meanwhile, Dan has the complete list of yes votes for the sellout disguised as a compromise in the House. If your Representative isn't on it, send them a thank you note. If your rep is Steny Hoyer, hate mail is encouraged but no threats of violence please.

[cross-posted to The Reaction]

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Blogger danps said...

Hi Libby. Thanks for the link. I think there's an emerging "all or nothing" narrative with Obama - people think the netroots want everything, whereas I think most would grudgingly accept the current bill with telecom amnesty stripped. THAT might be an actual compromise - the current bill is a capitulation. (More accurately it's probably appeasement.) You rightly point out it will dampen enthusiasm from the base if nothing happens to change it.

8:18:00 PM  
Blogger Carol Gee said...

Libby, I like your nuanced "take" on the Obama Dilemma. Good post, and thanks for the link to the list.

9:23:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Hey Dan. I think you're right that this is narrative that's developing and in fact the media has pushed for a long time. The demanding far left... blah, blah, blah. Unfortunately, the average Jake buys into it and I think it does put O in a bad place in trying to balance his response. I also agree that if we at least get telecom immunity out of the bill, it will be something.

Carol, thanks for the encouragement.

7:42:00 AM  

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