What is Obama's position on the newly passed FISA bill in the HOUSE? So far we're only getting silence. I contacted the campaign and I'm waiting for a quote. I believe that Nancy Pelosi is taking a hit for him. She's not telling anyone to support it, but explained why she voted for it. If she really believed in it---she would have urged her colleagues to vote for it, she did not. Here's the roll call.
If Obama is remaining quiet because he doesn't want to have to run against the Republican/FISA ads that would come out...well....that's wrong. He can't allow them to frame the debate and run the agenda in the general election. Americans are solidly against immunity for the Telecoms. It's his party now and he can easily lead on this issue against McCain by being the first one out of the gate against Telecom immunity, but stand strong for our national security. In the past Obama supported Chris Dodd's filibuster.
It's official: Obama will back a filibuster of any Senate FISA legislation containing telecom immunity, his campaign has just told Election Central. The Obama campaign has just sent over the following statement from spokesman Bill Burton:
"To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."
That was huge at the time. McJoan writes:
Senator Obama, spoil Bush's FISA Christmas celebration. Remind your colleagues that he is a lame duck with a sub 30 approval rating. Remind your colleagues that they are far more popular with Republicans than with their own party.
Remind your colleagues that, in your own words, "The stakes are too high and the challenges too great to play the same old Washington games with the same old Washington players." Reject this bill and lead your Senate colleagues in upholding the Constitution.
Marcy Wheeler writes a letter to Obama:
Senator Obama, you are asking voters to choose you to become the President of the United States. You had to as Senator--and will as President--swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution.
You cannot remain silent on this issue and at the same time fulfill your promise, the one you have made, and the one you will make, to defend the Constitution. Remaining silent rejects the separation of powers. Remaining silent presumes that the "political branches" can simply legislate the Courts into submission. And remaining silent communicates that you--the next President of the United States--believes checks on executive power like habeas corpus and the Fourth Amendment are mere niceties and not foundational principles of this great nation.
As the presumptive leader of the Democratic Party, you can lead your fellow Senators in rejecting this unconstitutional law. But without your leadership, the Constitution will suffer a dangerous blow.
UPDATED 1: Obama has come out with a statement via Glenn Greenwald:
Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. . . .
After months of negotiation, the House today passed a compromise that, while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year's Protect America Act. . . It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.
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.
He says he will work to remove amnesty from the bill, but once that fails, will vote for the "compromise." Obama has obviously calculated that sacrificing the rule of law and the Fourth Amendment is a worthwhile price to pay to bolster his standing a tiny bit in a couple of swing states. The full Obama statement is here.
UPDATED 2: Digby says:
Roy Blunt and Steny Hoyer are practically tongue kissing on the floor right now and congratulating each other on their mutual fabulousness in negotiating the rape of the constitution this morning. It's quite a love fest.
Capitulating to the most unpopular lame duck president in history because they are afraid of him. Makes you proud to be a Democrat doesn't it...read on
UPDATE 3: Atrios names Obama: "Wanker of the Day "