Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Wag the Blog Redux: FISA Problems for Obama?

Earlier this week, we asked readers to weigh in on Keith Olbermann's 11-minute "Special Comment" on the political dangers posed to Barack Obama by his reversal on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Many liberal activists view the bill as a violation of privacy rights.

We asked: "Does Obama's decision to support the FISA compromise help him moderate his image for the general election and keep a major GOP arrow in the quiver? Or does it simply alienate him from the very people he depended on to win the nomination while doing little to keep Republicans at bay on terror and national security?"

Below are some of the most insightful responses as culled by politics producer Sarah Lovenheim.

"I don't think the specifics of this issue particularly catch fire for your typical voter. In fact, as much as I oppose circumventing an already civil-liberties suspect FISA court, I don't think telecom companies should be held liable for the federal government pushing and pressuring them to break the law. This detail within a comprehensive bill will be left where it belongs, on the sidelines, once the national obsession with keeping the same position you held on every issue from the moment you entered electoral politics subsides." --Steimel

"This shows..Obama is the typical Washington politician engaging the politics of triangulation that he accused Hillary Clinton of engaging in. That 'new politics' stuff was just a campaign slogan. Let's hope that the hope and change stuff was not..."--Psychodrew

"Point 1 - FISA is not a voting issue. Point 2 - No one cares about FISA in the first place. Point 3 - FISA will be done with as soon as Bush is out, so now seriously no one cares." --Brian

"I'd have to say the FISA bill alienates him from his base. The whole reason that I supported him and was passionate was b/c I thought he was smart enough to realise he didn't have to cave to these GOP attacks. Instead of donating to him as I was planning to today, I'm going to give to the DCCC. If he continues this pattern, i think a lot of wind will be taken out of the sails of his supporters - like me."--gradstudent

"If there is one thing Barack Obama has shown in his time here in Illinois, it is that he is willing to solve problems via compromise. He clearly understands that there is a balance here between the needs of law enforcement and the issue of immunity. I am a lefty, but even I understand that this is not a perfect world, especially with a veto-happy executive and Congress that can't seem to get much done..." --Julia Kelly

"The problem is that "every other candidate" didn't run as an agent of change, a different kind of politician, one who doesn't play the cynical games that everyone else plays to get elected. Obama has run as a reformer, as something different, and he has reaped praise and adoration for his "principled" stands. Well, he's not principled. He's not different. He's no better or worse than any other politician..." --AK

"I would think that he could have voted against this and the voters outside the beltway would not miss a beat if McCain hit him on it. The lefties are going to vote for him anyway so no biggie here..." -- E from SC

By Washington Post editors  |  July 2, 2008; 6:16 PM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Shakeup in McCain Campaign
Next: The Case Against Mitt Romney


Know whats up, Obama supports Blackwater.... were screwed. I think we should all vote for the Republican just because it would be amazing to hear it echo on the Fox forty news channels down the block.. down town,.... and slowly across all of America. (considering that the election will even take place, Bush will probably consider himself Dictator at the precise moment.....)

Posted by: Scoz | July 10, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Blue Tidal Wave has a good post about FISA and the money. Obama has over 11 mil from telecoms.

Posted by: Mike | July 10, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm sick of hearing that Civil Liberties are not a "Voting Issue". I thought Obama would help to write some of the wrongs of the last 8 years. CRIMINAL actions were taken, and there has to be accountability, and yet Obama folds immediately after he has the nomination.

I'm going to vote for Ralph Nader, at least he has credibility (his message hasn't changed in 15 years) and is truly principled. Sure, it's not going to change the world but at least I can say I didn't vote for Obama, I think alot of people are going to be wishing they could say that a couple of years from now.

Posted by: John | July 9, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I was an enthusiastic supporter during the primary season because Senator Obama was against telecom immunity and a host of other issues. "Change we can believe in" or so it went. I'm doubtful I donate another penny to his campaign nor do I plan to independently campaign on his behalf. I'm tired of politicians doing this doublespeak. He said he'd back a filibuster if any legislation was put forth that included immunity.

Not really, as it turns out. So therefore, I'll cast my vote in November for the democrat but that's all I'll do from this point on. This isn't the "change" I believed in.

Posted by: Eddie, NYC | July 6, 2008 2:40 AM | Report abuse

Activists may still vote for Obama, but they may stop volunteering and donating to the Obama campaign. There are plenty of good, progressive organizations to work with during the Presidential election, not to mention some US Senate races where the candidate hasn't sold out.
Yes, Obama, you still have our vote,s but if you want our money and our energy, you have to keep faith with us.

Posted by: california activist | July 5, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

If immunity is given to the telecoms it will reinfirce the huge Constitution-killing power-grab by the executive branch during the Cheney/Bush reign of terror.

If it really true that most people don't understand this issue and won't consider it when examining the issues of this campaign, then I'm afraid for America. It was ignorance, apathy and media manipulation (Karl Rove and co) that got Cheney/Bush into office in the first place.

If the electorate still hasn't woken up, after all the abuses of our Constitution, even to suspending the Great Writ, violating foreign treaties inc the Geneva Conventions, and the constant cover-ups of high crimes, misdemeanors, and failures, they never will, and America is doomed.

And what did we get for all that corruption and dictator-like abuse and expansion of power?
Osama is free.
Iraq was a disastrous flop that has, so far, cost 1.2 trillion to try and fix.
A.Q. Khan is free in Pakistan, along with Osama and gang.
Economy in recession.
Home and job losses not seen in 30 years.

That's what ignorance and propaganda got us. And it's not as if Cheney/Bush/Rove are master propagandists either; their tactics are old. The Soviet government and KGB used the same exact tactics; so did Japan, N.Korea, China, Pakistan, Nazis . . . on and on and on.

Posted by: LALA | July 4, 2008 1:48 AM | Report abuse

My first time to donate to a political campaign will be my last - Obama just lost his credibility by supporting the Telecom Industry - let them pay for his campaign from now on.

Posted by: Glen | July 3, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I am a Obama supported from Madison, WI. I set up an 'Event' on Obama's campaign website asking people to e-mail and call the campaign, asking Obama to fight against FISA bill. That was last Sunday. Today almost 500 people have signed up for my 'Event', 500 people who said they have called or contacted the campaign, many of them from the vital swing state of Wisconsin, many of them promising to withhold money and volunteer time if Obama goes through with his support. The campaign is hemorraghing volunteers and depleting the enthusiasm of its core supporters over this unprincipled and short-sighted move to the center.

Posted by: Richard | July 3, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Barry is a professional liar.. of the same ilk as Cheney.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Why have you based an article simply on the ravings of a sportscaster?

=Wm Tate,

Posted by: Wm Tate | July 3, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I don't think it is one issue with, Barry. Whether it is going back on his pledge for public financing of his campaign, to FISA reversal, to backing corn ethenol, all of these put together mean that Barry is an empty suit. From saying originally that he would filibuster immunity for the telecomm companies, to meekly signing the bill, this is just another example of "do what I say, not what I do."

I am a relapsed Clinton supporter, and therefore, am not suprised at all by Barry's reversals. The media has been all too quick to smooze this overrated Brooks Brothers' suit and jump in his SUV all the way to November. But, the voters will have the last say and I think just like New Hampshire and Nevada, the media will end up eating crow.

Barry's problem other than his obvious lack of experience, ethics and willingness to stand by his own words, is the fact that he has the most suspicious friends to boot. He announced his Senate run on the steps of Bill Ayers' house. As we all know, this is the same guy who blew up the Pentagon and a police station in New York. Add to that Rezko, and his affiliations with Rev. Wright, an avowed racist (like himself), and Father Pfleger, and you have a great group to present to the electorate.

In case that is enough, you have his wonderful wife, Michelle, who basically hates the country and is a racist herself.

So, it is not just Barry's backtracking on immunity for the telecomm companies, it is a series of associations, votes and reversals that in the end will begin his spiral down. And, now that McCain has some real campaign managers, I can tell you Barry is going to get away with less and less.

After he loses 40 states, it will be the DNC (aka Howard Dean) and the RBC (aka Donna Brazile and the left wing of the party) that will be put out and Clinton will come back in 2012 to win not only the nomination, but the White House as well.

Posted by: Polcomm | July 3, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Thanks God Father:

We need a president who defends our Constitution. Obama is selling it for his own interest as he has done over all other issues. See how and what he said on death penalty and gun control and where he stands for now--same as NAFTA.

I do not think he knows anything about WTO.
Faith Initiative? He disowned his Church.

No surprise.

Posted by: peace4world | July 3, 2008 2:27 AM | Report abuse

Chris, Keith is still pro-Obama.

Images? You still do not get it.
Do you think Obama's "image" matters?

Obama does not have any principles. His supporters are already protesting.

Regarding FISA, he broke his promise to his supporters, so he has to own it.

Posted by: peace4world | July 3, 2008 2:18 AM | Report abuse

Since no one at the Washington Post since Redford and Hoffman have asked a tough question of a rat , maybe next time you are sharing a good leg tingle with that hump Matthews , why don't you both see if you know any reporters with enough courage to ask Obama why he did not register with the Selective Service ? Maybe Andrea Mitchell since she seems to be one of the few at MSNBC not wanting to have Obama's baby . Even that puss Matthews went in the Peace Corp . He mentions it more than John Kerry talks about his 4 whole months in Nam .

Posted by: nat turner | July 3, 2008 1:54 AM | Report abuse

If the FISA issue becomes a problem for Obama,it will be mainly the unbending lefties who will champion it. As i have read it, and no I didnt read all of it, its mainly a clarification of existing policy.I think it was a necessary move on our governments part to be sure we know who is watching whom , and why.Unfortunately, it lets Bush and his crew off the hook too, the only downfall of the changes to the law.Perhaps Kucinich should have squawked 'Impeachment" before he ran for the DN, but we'll never know.

Posted by: Bill | July 3, 2008 1:13 AM | Report abuse

I am now supporting Barak, though I didn't support him in the primaries because, as someone dedicated to left policies- I saw a lack of policy and a lot of rhetoric- when you firmly state policy, it is hard to play politics with
Death Penalty
Free trade/NAFTA
Windfall tax proposals
Gun Control
Negotiations with foriegn leaders

If he positioned himself just to get over HRC, by being "different" but in fact he is less progressive and his policies are less ambitious- I think he owes the Left an apology.

And "liberals" owe Clinton supporters an apology- I am far further to the left than most of the brats at Move-on- but street smarts let you tell who is all cart and no donkey. Now I have to vote for the naked emporer.


Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Many people have forgotten the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980's.Sadaam's army launched ferocious attacks including poisonous gas strikes against the Iranians and the Iranian mujas died by the thousands,but still they kept coming.The war ended in a "draw",but clearly,Sadaam lost and he remained worried about Iran till the beginning of the end of his regime.Iraq was coaxed and covertly assisted by the U.S. in that war that was fought over a small island at a time when Iran was much weaker than it is now and Iraq was much stronger than it was even at the time of Desert Storm.If the U.S. or Israel attack Iran,they can expect more of the same,in spades.

Posted by: MotorcycleMichael | July 2, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Campaign or Movement

Senator Obama to me now as a black man has an
obligation to win.

I don't want to hear any more stories of Al Gore's concession speech.

this is a Campaign and not a movement and he can't do anything if he doesn't win period!

for anyone to think the government hasn't been doing this since the start of the cold
war was smoking something.

I saw the special comment and it does allow
because of sloppy law writing to bring criminal charges and I assure as someone who deals with these type of people writing
a check even a big one is more preferable
then going to jail.

Those of you on the Left this election is not just about you. He has said from day one independents and republicans would be included that doesn't mean we are all down with liberal policies.

Remember any new law would be prosecuted by
an Obama or a more competent McCain administration.

He hasn't changed he has emphasized these other positions more in the general.

Faith based - he has talked about that

Fisa- compromised - we have had 16 years of
all or nothing and I am sick

so shut up and quit your whining

this is going to be very tough

he is not a banding you he is picking up those in the center.

Posted by: Michael Templer | July 2, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

The only thing that Obama is going to change in washington is that it will be working for him.

Posted by: ZarDotZ | July 2, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

The key issue here is the so called FISA compromise is in fact a brutal violation of the constitution, the exact Constitution that Obama claims he has been teaching. This is about principles, about how much one can bend the basic human rights to get political gain. This is about back bone again, democrats. Try to get one of those and then to expect respect!

Posted by: God Father | July 2, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about FISA, we have a canidate that is going to change Washington like know other!! I get really peeved when the media acts like every move Obama makes is a flip-flop! We know how is the Flif-Flopper! I will vote for Obama under any circumstances, as I know he is going to change the way Washington works!! This man is one of the most honest men I have ever supported!! If everyone wants to change their vote because he moves to the center for the independent and Christian vote ---Go ahead and cut your own throat!! I honestly think this country can't make it with another 4 years of the same ole Washington politics! Wake up !!!!

Posted by: Judy | July 2, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse




Why hasn't the mainstream media "connected the dots"? A frightening mosaic of unconstitutional abuses has nullified the rule of law and the right of due process under the law. Human rights violations are taking place in cities and towns across America.

People are being targeted for ruin -- financially, socially and physically -- by an organized campaign of vigilantism that some victims believe is funded and supported by multiple levels of government, perhaps using citizen "watch" and volunteer programs as a front for extra-legal harassment and persecution.

The phenomenon, which is starting to break through to the mainstream media, is commonly known as "gang stalking" and "community stalking." But that nomenclature tends to trivialize the issue.

This is a re-emergence of the KKK, the Stazi and the Gestapo. It is mob rule seemingly coordinated and condoned by rogue elements within the power structure.

This link explains it, and contains sublinks to additional information:

Those who raise this issue find that their telecom connections are subject to surveillance, interruption and tampering. Their ability to freely communicate is severely circumscribed. Careers are ruined, reputations are slandered, and the physical well-being of targeted individuals is placed in serious jeopardy. Here is another link that explains how this is happening:

I am an investigative/business reporter/producer who has worked for major newspapers, TV stations and magazines. I had my own TV show in the metro New York market for six years. Perhaps not coincidentally, the show ended just as I began to realize that I was being methodically and destructively gang-stalked. It's been going on for more than four years. I have tried to seek redress by going through official channels, to no avail. I'm a Phi Beta Kappa, but it wasn't until I read and researched the many web sites on the subject that I began to realize what was happening --- and that others are being similarly afflicted.

I have contacted media outlets, but I find that there is a concerted effort to destroy my credibility, and I believe that has affected my ability to get this story told. I was part of "major media" for many years, and I can now report that the mainstream media is highly vulnerable to intimidation, manipulation and rumor-mongering. I post this message at some personal risk to myself and to my family; but I cannot remain silent and solely rely on "the system" any longer. The system isn't working.

My name is Victor Livingston and I live in Bucks County, PA. My telephone number is (215) 295-0852, and my email address is But my email is erratic and I can't rely on the privacy or even the veracity of electronic communications. I fear that my identity has been stolen and that I have been set up by the rogue elements that have tolerated this extra-legal conduct.

Federal law enforcement is aware of my situation; I hold out hope that officials under the authority of the Justice Department are working behind the scenes to curb the abuses. I have officially requested a civil rights investigation into what has been happening to me, but to no avail. I have tried to contact my Congressman, Patrick Murphy, but those efforts have been unsuccessful.

If you are a fellow journalist, please investigate this under-the-radar abuse of power in your own community; odds are, it's going on in your own backyard.

And if you know or work with Sy Hersh or Bob Woodward, please send them this post. In the words of John Dean, it's worse than Watergate.

Posted by: scrivener | July 2, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

This is a classicly timid statement from a mainstream journalist in a company town:

"Many liberal activists consider the act a violation of privacy rights."

While the statement is true on its face, it's like saying: "Many liberal activists consider rape a violation of one's personal space."

I'm not a "liberal activist," just an ordinary American with the ability to read. But it couldn't be more obvious that the FISA act is an atrocious violation of our Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure, whether the Supreme Court upholds it or not. While privacy is a salutary byproduct of that clearcut restraint on government power, the purpose of the amendment is to prevent trumped-up cases based on political rivalries and intimidation of public speech and other liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, including the right of peacable assembly and association.

I know that most journalists would score average to slightly above average in IQ tests, but you don't have to be a genius, a lawyer or constitutional expert to be able to cite any of the 10 amendments that make up the Bill of Rights.

Those who support the FISA act support tyranny, clear and simple. That includes Obama, whose campaign I have supported and funded. Moreover, the merger of government and corporate power in a police state ruled by an extreme, right-wing strongman (even a dimwit like The Decider)is the definition of fascism.

Can't you see that? Wake up!

Posted by: Anderton T. Middleton | July 2, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama now supports corn ethanol, which is a Repuke position and a HUGE mistake, since corn ethanol starves third world people to fill our gas tanks.
Posted by: Tom3 | July 2, 2008 7:22 PM

I'm against corn ethanol, but I think Obama's always been for it. He represents Illinois you know.

Posted by: aleks | July 2, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Now that McCain is hiring many of Karl Rove's cohorts that engineered the Bush 2004 election, the "Third Bush Term" takes on new meaning.
Even more important to consider is the likelihood that McCain would probably keep many or most of the political appointees in the executive branch that have made bad decisions by allowing their and Bush Whitehouse politics to overrule the expert staff advice.
It looks like McCain is not longer on his original maverick platform, but is becoming a conformist pandering to the Republican base. He is going to have a hard time to convince independents like myself of anything centrist or his old positions now.

Posted by: Gunther St | July 2, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Just add fisa to the list of changes that Obama will make in his first hundred days. One by one, the Bush Administration's dirty laundry will be hung out for all to see how evil they were.

Posted by: thebob.bob | July 2, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama has been doing a lot of disturbing things lately. He is becoming more and more of a crass politician and less and less of a populist progressive.

Lately, he's been getting discount flights on private jets owned by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) the huge agribusiness.

ADM are corporate welfare wh0res. They get back more money from the government than they pay in taxes.

Obama now supports corn ethanol, which is a Repuke position and a HUGE mistake, since corn ethanol starves third world people to fill our gas tanks.

Maybe Obama is unaware that food prices have doubled and there are food shortages partly due to the massive federal subsidies on corn ethanol, which removes corn from the food chain.

I'm still voting for Obama, but I am wondering if, by November, he will be any different from McLame.

And that scares the hell out of me.

Posted by: Tom3 | July 2, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

denverite, you're a racist pig. Go back to your trailer and screw your sister, you inbred Repuke moron.

I'm disgusted to have to share Colorado with fascist traitors like you.

Yeah, she sang a different song instead of the National Anthem, which is an old British drinking song BTW.

That doesn't mean she hates America.

It is you Repukes who hate America. You hate the Constitution, you hate the Bill of Rights, you hate anybody who isn't white trash like yourselves, you hate anybody who isn't fake Christian like yourselves, and you support torture and treason.

YOU hate America, denverite. Scumbag.

Posted by: Tom3 | July 2, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little disappointed with Obama on this issue, but hey...he's a politician and I don't and won't agree with him on everything. Oh well. He's still a gazillion times better than McSame and I am excited to support him. It was a safe play for Obama considering liberals are mostly angry about this, and of course they won't vote for McCain who also supports telecom amnesty.

That's politics. Go Obama!

Posted by: dAVE | July 2, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Singer Opts for 'Black National Anthem' Over 'Star-Spangled Banner',2933,375164,00.html

pure hatred of America

Posted by: denverite | July 2, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I deeply regret supporting Obama but now I truly believe there is no difference between Obama and McCain so while I will not vote for McCain, I will NOT vote for Obama either.

What's the difference? If the fundamentals of our constitution are ignored for political expediency, why should I vote for Obama.

He backed off universal health care. He backed off immediate troop withdrawal. He now backs off of FISA. He is now McCain lite.

It is another sad day but Obama does not care about my one vote so be it. He can have his right wing democratic views/left winf republican view. He is no different from the spineless Pelosi or Reid. He is simply a politician.

Posted by: SceinceNerd | July 2, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company