June 20, 2008

Obama Lames Out on Telco Immunity

The House Friday approved a compromise bill setting new electronic surveillance rules that shield telecommunications companies from lawsuits arising from the government's warrantless eavesdropping on phone and computer lines in this country. Barack Obama has in the past opposed the retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies. The House, which had seemed to grow the spine necessary to defeat this legislation, fought back against the administration for months, today caved like big dogs and gave Bush and friends an early Christmas present that effectively prevents the public from ever finding out the extent of their warrantless wire tap activities. What did Obama have to say about this today?

“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.”

Thats a bunch of crap and pablum. This marks my first major dissapointment with Obama and the first incident that causes me to really question if any of his rhetoric is worth squat. Columnist David Brooks commented in the NYT that Obama is "an idealistic, lakefront liberal fronting a sharp-elbowed machine operator"....He’s the most effectively political creature we’ve seen in decades."

Obama's lame and tepid response to the House's capitulation on FISA and the soon to come Senate cave which Obama intends to enable only serves to confirm this assessment.