Mark Kleiman, who is a bright guy, says this about Obama & FISA:
But note that if Obama becomes President, he has no reason either to block internal investigation within the Executive Branch or to use the claim of "executive privilege" to shut down Congressional investigation. So the goal of revealing the extent of the Bush/telco lawlessness is not defeated by the civil-immunity provision.
Note also that the authority in the bill expires in 2012.
Obama's vote is politically wise (not giving McCain an attack line about Obama's not wanting to spy on foreign terrorists) and substantively harmless. But the right wing is devoted to creating an image of Obama as a flip-flopper, and for their own reasons parts of the Netroots are willing to play along.
I'm glad to see that the Obama campaign is allowing the debate to occur on the Obama website. And I'm glad lots of people are really, really outraged about unconstitutional spying, and about amnesty for lawbreaking. But this is not a life-or-death issue. All of the damage done by the passage of the bill will be undone by the election of Barack Obama as President.
While I'm not sure I completely agree with him in re: the FISA vote and subsequent options, I do agree that some in the Netroots are organizing a circular firing squad again.
What do I mean? John Cole explains:
Meanwhile, in matters political, the continued intransigence of left-wing bloggers and liberal Democratic interest groups that make up part of the Democratic voting block remains completely and totally mystifying to me. The utter unwillingness to allow Obama any latitude in framing his positions on issues so that they are more palatable to independent voters, demanding that he adhere to strict and rigid positions with no room for movement or nuance, appears to me to be an unwitting sabotage of a candidate who has always been a center-left pragmatist. Any slight deviation from orthodoxy, real or perceived as we saw last week with Iraq or today with abortion, is met with derision, assaults on his integrity, and charges of flip-flopping. It is particularly vexing given that Obama is not going to pursue policies that run counter to the general positions that these folks demand and that the alternative, McCain, is completely on the “wrong” side of the issues.
The sum total of this behavior is to validate GOP frames that Barack is a flip-flopper and can’t be trusted (aided, of course, by a media establishment that loves a “gotcha” and is wholly in the tank for McCain), and watching these various interest groups daily hamstring Obama is going to give me an ulcer or high blood pressure or both. I can’t decide what is driving it, but it is maddening. Whether it is a need to feel relevant, the naivete of single issue voters, an unwillingness to recognize the demands of a general election, spite from former Hillary supporters, complete ignorance regarding Obama’s stated position on an issue (see his “flip-flop” on Iraq in which he said the same thing he has been saying for over a year- he will continue to refine his withdrawal policy as he gets additional information), or a desire for accountability after eight years of Bush, the end result is to force Obama into a box on many issues and refuse to allow him the flexibility he needs to win in November.
As I said, it is maddening, and I don’t want an ulcer or high blood pressure, so I think I am going to do my best to ignore it. The GOP and the right-wing bloggers, however, will not, and they will be eager to join you as you vent your spleen attacking Obama on your pet issue. Thanks for being a dupe, and spare me the nonsense that you are, unlike Republicans, just demanding accountability from your candidate. Just to be clear, you aren’t demanding accountability- you are knee-capping him. I never noticed this trait among Democrats when I was a Republican, now, it is crystal clear why Democrats have so much problem electing a President. Trying to unite a bunch of self-serving whiners, even after eight years of disaster, is near impossible (and now watch ten people accusing me of trying to stifle dissent or being a Rethuglican in disguise who just likes a new “dear leader.”).
Bottom line is, the choice is Obama or McCain. That's a real difference. If you don't think so, you're either unconscious, or you haven't been paying attention.
The choice isn't Nader, or Gene McCarthy, or even Kucinich, it's Obama or McCain. That's a choice between Bush redux and someone who actually lives in reality. He may not support your personal single issue or be as pure as you'd like (see above YouTube), but he's not McCain.
Repeat for the hearing impaired: HE"S NOT JOHN MCCAIN. That's all that matters. Pragmatics really counts, sometimes more than purity. Let's elect him, them try to purify him. But if we don't elect him, it's McCain.
Think about that.