Did Barack Obama sell us out by endorsing the new version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and not showing up to support a filibuster of that bad bill last week?
Are too many Obama supporters in the netroots making up excuses to cover for him?
Or are the bloggers criticizing Obama being way too tough on a guy whose overriding concern has to be to get elected?
Is it right for some activists to say they no longer plan to volunteer for Obama's campaign because he has failed to stand up for us on FISA?
Here are some links to good diaries exploring those questions.
Nathaniel Ament Stone is sure that Obama's actions on FISA are better than they appear at first glance: Obama's Outsmarted Us Again.
Big Tent Democrat argues that Obama is just like any politician and contrasts Obama's previous statements on retroactive immunity for telecoms with his recent actions.
JedReport thinks the activists vowing not to lift a finger to help Obama (beyond voting for him) are making a big mistake: President McCain Just Got Elected, But That's Okay.
Mike Lux seems to think the criticism of Obama over FISA is a waste of time, since "there is literally no acceptable way of holding a Democratic Presidential candidate accountable in the last few months before a general election."
Chris Bowers counters, I Thought I Was Helping Obama. His point is:
First, we lefties are repeatedly told that it is necessary for Democrats to distance themselves from us in order to win elections. However, we are then we are told that we should be quiet in our criticism of Democrats, even though such criticism overtly distances Democrats from us.
I don't get it. Aren't we helping Democrats out by distancing them from us? Won't Obama be helped by news stories about how he has angered the left? Won't it make him look like he has Sista Soulhaj-ed us, or something? Why is our criticism a negative? Either Obama will be helped by distancing himself from the left, or he won't. And, if he will be helped by distancing himself from the left, then our criticism should actually help him, especially when it starts to appear in news stories like these:
--National Journal: The Netroots Push Back
--Newsweek: Netroots Angry At Obama
--CBS: Netroots Feel Jilted By Obama Over FISA
Through our criticism of Obama, aren't the netroots providing exactly the distance from lefties that we have always been told Democrats need to win? And, as such, aren't we really helping Obama?
Attorney NCrissieB, who has experience with legal arguments surrounding the Fourth Amendment, offers A pragmatist's view on FISA.
Wmtriallawyer, a vocal supporter of Obama this past year, has a warning: Barack, Take Note: FISA Demonstrates What's Wrong with Washington. Key excerpt:
Sen. Obama, are you getting to see the problem now? As much as you talk about the partisan rancor that usually stalemates Washington (and I agree with you believe me), you've got to watch out for the so-called bipartisan compromises that actually serve noone but a few entrenched interests.
THIS has been the problem in Washington for years now. The partisan fights occur over issues that actually matter and can benefit the people, and the bipartisan stuff compromises are over insidious stuff that benefits noone but the entrenched few.
Chris Bowers makes a strong case for taking Obama at his word instead of constructing theories about how he secretly agrees with FISA opponents, even as he fails to help stop the bill.
David Sirota notes that Obama has explicitly said, "You should always assume that when I cast a vote or make a statement it is because it is what I believe in."
The exchange between Salon's Glenn Greenwald and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is worth your time. Here is Greenwald's original post, which contrasted Olbermann's scathing commentary about President Bush's support for FISA a few months ago with Olbermann's cheering as Barack Obama goes along with the same bill.
Olbermann posted a response that shot to the top of the Daily Kos recommended list, even though he admitted not to have read Greenwald's entire post.
Greenwald's next shot was wonderful: Keith Olbermann's reply and Obama's secret plan to protect the rule of law.
Then Olbermann changes the subject with a crowd-pleasing diary about Grover Norquist saying Obama is "John Kerry with a tan." Nice try!
The final vote on FISA will take place after the Senate's July 4 recess, but efforts to remove the provision granting retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies appear unlikely to succeed.