Friday, June 20, 2008

Everything Must Change

Change you can believe in?

Eviscerating the 4th Amendment is certainly one way to change things.

Following up on my earlier post, the House today approved the despicable FISA bill, showing yet again that Bush and his buddies may be unpopular and stupid, but they still have the power to command the Dumbocrats to accede to their demands.

Compromise means the Democrats give in, pure and simple. Bipartisan support is a euphemism for the spineless political hacks that make up the Democrat Party. As Glenn Greenwald observes, in What Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Fred Hiatt mean by "bipartisanship":

But this absurd praise underscores what the Washington power structure means when they speak of "bipartisanship" -- it means having the Republican Party demand something, and then having enough Democrats agree to it to ensure it passes in essentially undiluted form.

In January, I compiled a list of the Great Bipartisan Compromises of the Bush era and demonstrated that they are characterized by one common attribute: namely, they are supported by almost all Republicans and then enough Democrats from a split caucus to ensure its passage.
And Obama? Change is just another word for more of the same.

After listening to the crickets for way too long, his silence was finally broken with a statement saying that he would support the proposed FISA bill, Obama Backing FISA "Compromise". You can read his words here: Obama Statement on FISA Compromise, for what it's worth (not much).

Describing his acquiescence to the bill as "weasly", Michael Froomkin at states, Obama Acts Like a Coward:
Today he as good as sold out the fight against FISA’s immunity provisions. While the statement . . . might sound OK, it’s failure to say that the bill is unacceptable in its current form, or to say ‘filibuster’ amounts to a surrender to the fix put in by the leadership. (And, no, this bill is not in any noticeable way an improvement over its predecessor draft. The judicial review provisions are a sham — they don’t test for the legality of any wiretapping, they don’t test for the legality of any request by the administration to engage in wiretapping, they don’t test for whether the recipients of those requests thought or had reason to think that the requests were legal — no, all the court will test is whether the administration says that it made a request. Big deal.)
Paul Krugman of the NYTimes, who was never a big Obama fan to begin with, says in FISA:
My biggest concern about an Obama administration is that, in the end, he won’t make universal health care a priority. My second biggest concern is that “Unity” means never having to say you’re sorry: that in the name of putting past partisanship behind us, the next administration will sweep the abuses of the past 8 years under the rug, the same way Bill Clinton did in 1993; the result of that decision was that the very same people responsible for Iran-Contra showed up subverting our democracy all over again.

Obama’s support for the FISA bill intensifies my second worry. He did say some of the right things, promising to work to get rid of telecom immunity and hold people accountable. But caving on this bill is nonetheless not a good sign.
Jack Balkin suggests that Obama doesn't oppose having as broad powers as President as he can get, so why object to the surveillance authority that would be given to him as president. Why Obama Kinda Likes the FISA Bill (But He Won't Come Out and Say It). Certainly a cynical, but realistic way to put Obama's stance in perspective.

Perhaps his new slogan should be Hopeless.

(Poster part of a campaign from Blue America and Color of Change via Glenn Greenwald)

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