Friday, June 20, 2008

Obama Weighs In

on the revised FISA/Telecom Amnesty Bill:
It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives -– and the liberty –- of the American people.

Full text here.

Not downplaying the fact that this "compromise" is really a capitulation to Bush, but it will also give the next president the same power. And power corrupts.

Still, Greenwald softens up his vitriol for Obama:

We should continue to demand that amnesty is removed from the bill -- and fight it to the bitter end -- but this whole separate vote they'll have in the Senate on whether to remove amnesty is principally designed to enable Obama, once he votes to enact this bill, to say: "Well, I tried to get immunity out, and when I couldn't, I decided to support the compromise." It's almost certainly the case that Hoyer secured Obama's support for the bill before unveiling it.

Either way, Obama -- if amnesty isn't removed -- is going to vote for warrantless
eavesdropping and telecom amnesty, and his statement today all but sealed the fate of this bill. There is no point in sugarcoating that, though we ought to continue to fight its enactment with a focus on removing amnesty in the Senate.

Greenwald is organizing efforts to remove some supporters of this bill in the House, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Illinois, from office, so the above is actually tame in comparison.

Greg Sargent over at Talking Points Memo has a column about this too, expressing dismay that Obama, who has already made great strides in staring down Republican fear-mongering, did not choose this extremely important issue as a test to prove that Democrats can win arguments about National Security. But it's one of his readers posting a comment that made me smile:
Immunity is the part that really stings. We cannot afford to bicker in characteristic fashion while Republicans slaughter us and laugh afterwards. In an election where there is palpable GOP discontent towards McCain, we cannot outdo our opponents in fratricide.

Hear, hear! Now is not the time to turn on the nominee. Focus on beating down McCain, who is vulnerable but not to be underestimated.

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