Jul 07 2008

Can Barrack Obama Survive His FISA-NSA Flip-Flop?

Published by at 12:56 pm under 2008 Elections,All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

Barrack Obama is about to test the patience of his liberal base. Of his many flip-flops, none is generating more of a backlash than his surrender on the new FISA-NSA rules, which give Bush and the administration all they wanted, and more. This week the Senate is going to vote on the making the new FISA-NSA laws permanent for the next 6 years, and all indications are it will pass.

But Obama is facing an insurrection among is most ardent followers over this issue – and it could fracture his base:

The largest group on Obama’s own website now goes by the moniker: “Senator Obama–Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity—Get FISA Right.” The group comprises 18,000-plus Obama-ites. Its membership is mushrooming. Most who join do so in frustration with their candidate for switching positions on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act bill, or FISA. Senator Obama at first opposed the bill that grants sweeping powers to the federal government to surveil its own citizens. Now, he says he’ll support a compromise version.

Note this post on Obama’s website from a self-identified former supporter who writes under the name “Terra.” It’s headlined, “I’m out.”

Obama needed his supporters to win the election. We could have done it for him, with him. His position on the FISA bill—destroying the 4th amendment—could lose this election for him because he cannot get his excited supporters to happily share the good news. It’s over. We would have gladly shared our support with any undecided voter. Now, we’re left with 3 choices… 1-disappointment, 2-McBush, or 3-not voting. I haven’t made up my mind, but it’s a close tie between 1 and 3. Regardless, I won’t be the enthusiastic supporter I once was. Sad, sad day.

This is not an isolated report, but one of many covering the shock, disappointment and anger at Obama for turning his back on an issue held dear to many on the far left.  First here:

Are we experiencing a genuine shift in Obama’s issue positions and campaign strategy, or just a self-perpetuating media narrative? Obama’s position on FISA does appear to represent a real capitulation.

The man is not even elected and he is backing down. That can only demoralize his base and create the valid impression the man does not stand for anything, he just panders to his audiences and says what he thinks will get him to the next stage on his quest for power. Second example here:

Obama’s recent rightward moves—concerning BushCo’s faith-based programs, and the FISA bill—have both been loudly justified by commentators who would certainly deplore them if it weren’t Obama who had made them.

The thinking goes like this: “Obama’s our guy, and he’s really cool, the candidate of ‘change,’ so we should cut him all the slack he needs, so he can get elected president. In any case, this recent stuff is not so bad. So let’s all lighten up—or else. Because he has to make such moves, or he will lose; and those who criticize him now are only helping the Republicans.”

That view is wrong on every count. Obama’s moves are notmerely pragmatic gestures, like Bill Clinton’s “Sister Souljah moment” (to which they’ve been compared). While “standing up to Sister Souljah” (!) was purely a theatrical display, meant to “send a message” to particular voters, these shifts by Obama have serious consitutional implications, regardless of his good intentions or hisrare skill at finessing what he’s done.

Another example here:

What Obama has done here is not a “refinement” of a policy position like he recently suggested concerning Iraq. It is an about face. Imagine how different next week would play out if the presumptive Democratic nominee was joining a filibuster on the floor of the senate, standing up for the constitutional rights of all Americans. The contrast between what would happen if Obama followed through on his promise, and what will happen if he doesn’t, is night and day.

Obama is facing a test of confidence with his liberal base, a segment of voters he must have to win in November.  But as Obama moves to echo McCain’s positions on many issues (Iraq comes to mind), there becomes no reason for the liberal left to get out and vote. None. Will Obama survive turning on his base and dumping them on one of the deepest held convictions, one they have long demanded ‘no compromise’ on? Let’s look at one more article today and a key observation:

In announcing his support for the bill, Obama said the legislation is “not all that I would want” but added that “given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay.”

That decision by Obama, which was widely seen by political strategists as an attempt to move to the ideological center, represented his first major break with the liberal left, a group that sustained him financially and organizationally throughout the primary season.

For Olbermann, as well as many on the liberal end of the political spectrum, Obama has backed himself into a corner. Regardless of how the FISA vote shakes out next week, they argue, Republicans will continue to paint Obama as soft on terrorism and not sufficiently prepared to safeguard the country.

Forget what the GOP will do, what incentives are left for his far left base to organize, donate and fight the fight when Obama has already capitulated? My guess is Obama will not survive this turn on his base. My guess is he has removed all reasons for the far left to even go out and vote, now that he has flipped on so many key issues to that part of the base. This is the neophyte in Obama, the untested and inexperienced candidate who started to buy into his own inevitability. In his mind he cannot make a mistake – which is the first step towards making some really big ones.

37 responses so far

37 Responses to “Can Barrack Obama Survive His FISA-NSA Flip-Flop?”

  1. kathie says:

    Can you imagine how Hill fills. He beat her with absolutes on Iraq, NAFTA, FISA, abortion, guns and now he is moving to the center the position that Hill really had, and she lost. But if you listen to the explanation that everybody lies in the primaries and moves to the center, the dems do lies, and everybody says ok!!

  2. kathie says:

    Can you imagine how Hill feels. He beat her with absolutes on Iraq, NAFTA, FISA, abortion, guns and now he is moving to the center the position that Hill really had, and she lost. But if you listen to the explanation that everybody lies in the primaries and moves to the center, the dems do lies, and everybody says ok!!

  3. crosspatch says:

    Heres something to compare and contrast. From an Investors Business Daily poll on July 13, 2004:

    Kerry beats Bush 49%-44% in a two-way race and 47%-43% in a three-way race with Ralph Nader, who grabs 4%.

    So at that point, Kerry was up by five points.

    Now compare that with today’s tracking poll from Rasmussen:

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows a steady race with Barack Obama enjoying a five percentage point lead over John McCain. Obama attracts 46% of the vote while John McCain earns 41%. When “leaners” are included, Obama leads 49% to 44%

    So at about the same time in the election cycle, the polling is running about the same.

    To hear the media tell the story, you would think McCain is wildly unpopular but the fact is that the “Messiah” can only garner a 5 point lead. That has got to be getting some underwear in some serious knots over at the DNC. And the news out today that Pelosi was directing one Congressman McGovern (D-NY) in contacts with FARC while she was undermining trade agreements with Columbia isn’t going to play well either … IF the news of that gets out. Oh, and toss in Conyers’ wife’s bribery investigation announced today.

    The Democrats are really not in all that good of shape.

  4. Terrye says:


    The truth is McCain is one of the most popular politicians in the country. The media and the far right will do everything they can to dispel that notion, but it is true.

    In fact there are people on the right who say their principles will still not allow them to vote for McCain. And yet those same principles would let them sit back and allow a liberal Democrat to win. I just do not get that.

  5. crosspatch says:

    Any vote not cast for McCain is a vote cast for Obama. Anyone claiming to be “conservative” and sitting out the election is really facilitating the election of a far left candidate. Those wouldn’t be “conservatives” they would be passive-aggressive spoiled whining enablers of liberalism who quite likely could get a lot of people killed by not voting.

    Jimmy Carter’s acts as President are still killing people to this day. Obama would likely be as bad or worse.

  6. VinceP1974 says:

    McCain is a fool and his triangulations will leave the GOP worse than even Bush will leave it.

    The fact that the man believes in Global Warming is all you need to know about his smarts.

    That said… he must be voted for. For the sake of our military people.

  7. Terrye says:


    I happen to agree with crosspatch here and considering the fact that McCain did what a lot people said he could never do, get the nomination…it is obvious he is no fool.

    I have my doubts about global warming, but the majority of Americans do believe it is real. They also want to do drilling off shore. McCain may not be as far right as you want him to be on this issue, but he is way to the right of Obama.

    McCain won, in large part because the far right wore people out. And right now the far left is doing the same. I know you think I am full of it when I say the country is moving center, but it seems that both of the men running for president believe the same thing.

  8. VinceP1974 says:

    This is what Rush Limbaugh says about Obama’s flip-flopping;

    Flip-Flop Label Won’t Stick to Obama as He Moves to the Right


    RUSH: We have Obama — and, by the way, folks, on this flip-flop business, let’s not use the word flip-flop. I don’t think it’s going to persuade anybody. It worked with Kerry because Kerry was such n idiot. I mean, his flip-flops were just funny. “I voted for it before I voted against it.” You gotta remember one thing about these flip-flops, and I’m going to stop using the term here in just a second. Most people are not really paying close attention right now to all this, despite what might be record levels of attention, those of us who are involved in this on a day-to-day basis, we are absorbed, and we are detail-oriented; we know Obama upwards and forwards and backwards and hindwards and all that.


    I don’t care how anti-America some of their fringe is, they, as a political party, are not going to saddle themselves with defeat. They might be happy to try to claim victory on this, because there’s a story in the BBC or UK Telegraph or something I have here in the stack — it’s all coming up — about the amazing success that is taking place over there. The word “victory” is being used consistently in much of the foreign media. But here’s what bugs me most about these so-called flip-flops. Every national election, every one of them the liberal Democrats know full well they cannot win. Can you imagine how Hillary Clinton feels today? Obama is now campaigning like Hillary was in the remaining primaries. After Texas, and after Ohio, Obama has now totally taken her campaign, just seized it. She was going after the white working class that was very much upset and disabused of the whole notion of Obama. So now he’s moving in that direction. They do this ’cause they know that far-left-wingism will not win national elections.

    They may lie to themselves and say that conservatism is cracking up. They may lie to themselves and say that the era of Reagan or the era of conservatism is over, and that we’re getting ready to usher in a new, far-left agenda. They’re gonna do that if they win, but they’re not going to campaign on it, because it loses. Here’s what’s frustrating. All of these people on our side of the aisle, our so-called media intelligentsia and a number of the country club blue-blood Republicans, the Rockefeller bunch, they think they can’t win as conservatives. They think the Republican Party cannot triumph with a conservative identity, so they go moving left. They move to the Democrats and they move to independents and they try to come up with all these policy shifts that deemphasize the Republican Party base, try to attract the Democrat Party base and get the favorable treatment from the media. In the meanwhile, what are the Democrats doing?

    The Democrats are moving in our direction. Obama is moving right. Now, they may say he’s stopped his move right in the middle and in the center, but when he starts flip-flopping on victory in Iraq, when he starts flip-flopping on abortion, when he starts doing a number of these things, gun control, you tell me conservatism — this is maddening. This is maddening. So what could happen here is that as we head into August, when we get to the Democrat National Convention, and Obama starts giving his speech, and if he keeps this stuff up, he may end up sounding just as, quote, unquote, conservative on many things as McCain does. You couple that with his mantra for change and so forth, it may be attractive. The Republican Party is going to have a big job to portray Obama as he really is. He is The Messiah, also known as Senator Obama. He’s not Senator Obama also known as The Messiah. He’s The Messiah also known as Obama.


  9. VinceP1974 says:


    I happen to agree with crosspatch here and considering the fact that McCain did what a lot people said he could never do, get the nomination

    Well it certainly isn’t to his credit that he has won. It’s the stupid open primary systems.

    Please tell me the top 3 ideas of McCain that excite you.

  10. Neo says:

    Obama realizes that most of these folks are “meatheads,” part of the “great unwashed” of the nation .. they should be ignored and they will quiet down eventually.

  11. kathie says:

    Vince, John McCain would never have been my choice. But it is what it is, and I will vote for him, reluctantly.

    Good……low taxes, finish Iraq, stay tough on terrorism, veto pork, maybe Supreme Court judges.

    Don’t like, degrading George W. Bush, global warming cap and trade, closing Gitmo.

  12. Terrye says:


    It was not an open primary system. I do not know where you get that. Look at the number of people voting in the Democratic primaries, they could not vote in both. In Michigan {where the Democrats were not counting delegates} Kos was joking around and telling his people to vote for Romney for heavens sake. And it was Florida that put McCain ahead the most and they were all Republicans.

    No, most of the votes cast for McCain were cast by Republicans. And if they had someone else they supported they could have gotten him in there. Bush was a product of that same system.

    Refusing to accept this is just part of the denial of conservatives. Rank and file Republicans voted for McCAin because they thought he had the best chance of winning.

  13. Terrye says:


    I don’t think McCain is degrading Bush. But he is trying to run as a different candidate, they are not the same men. They never have been. But the other day I got a letter from the Bush White House asking me to contribute to McCain. They understand what McCain is doing here.

    I like Bush, I would vote for him again, but even he is starting to talk about the need to cut emissions. The other day he was saying India and China need to clean up their acts and make some attempt to produce cleaner fuels. I think this is just the direction things are going in. We can go there with someone who will show some common sense, or we can go there with Obama and his new Global Climate Change Czar Gore.

  14. kathie says:

    Terrye…before McCain ran for President he was a bur in Bushes craw. He was furious that Bush won, and I thought very unattractive. Think back about cutting taxes, his answer was lowering taxes was a gift to the rich, and voted against it. He was public with his criticism to boot.

  15. AJStrata says:

    CP, you got a link to those Bush-Kerry numbers?

    Cheers, AJStrata

  16. Terrye says:


    McCain supports Bush’s tax cuts. Originally he did not because he wanted to see spending cuts as well. But he has changed on this issue, just like he did off shore drilling.

    I don’t doubt he was upset that he lost the primary. It was a bruising campaign after all. But McCain supported Bush on immigration and the war. He also supported his veto of the recent bloated farm bill. {which has still not been made into law} And a lot of people were upset about that. On the issues that took courage to stand by, McCain stood up for Bush.

    There were a lot of other Republicans who failed to do that. The left wanted to lose the war and the right thought immigration reform was treason. And everyone wanted something in that farm bill.

    But the truth is I have heard a lot of high profile bloggers and pundits and politicians on the right say worse things about Bush than McCain ever did..

    Newt Gingrich has not been kind to Bush. Peggy Noonan accused Bush of destroying the party. Blogs like polipundit were absolutely vicious over immigration. Bill Kristol and Krauthammer went off the deep end on Miers. Malkin went stupid over Katrina. Duncan Hunter went stupid over Dubai.and the list goes on.

    In fact if I remember correctly I have been called an ass kissing something or other because I stood by Bush. A lot of the conservatives who do not like McCAin, did not like Bush either.

    So yeah, I think McCain can be cranky and all that. But the man is tough and in the end he has been a better Republican than a lot of the people passing judgment on him.

  17. Terrye says:

    In fact there were people who were critical of Bush in that campaign with McCain in 2000 because they blamed Bush’s people for leaking stuff about Cindy McCain’s health problems. I hope that was not true, but things like that really did upset some McCain people.

  18. crosspatch says:

    I would like to see every state adopt the same electoral vote law:

    1 Electoral Vote for each congressional district won.
    2 Electoral Votes for the winner of the state overall.

    At that point it would be practically impossible for the winner in Electoral Votes to not be the winner in popular vote and the urban centers will only carry an electoral vote weight equal to their population not carry the entire state. For example, the winner of Chicago can have enough to carry the popular vote in the entire state even if they lose every single other congressional district.

    Take a look at Illinois on this map and you will see that the Democrats took only a very few counties but they were enough to carry the entire state because they carried the cities. Doing it the original way, instead of Winner Take All and Illinois would have been mostly allotted to the Republicans.

  19. ivehadit says:

    Completely off subject (sortof)…my friend has a newspaper from 1938. Guess what the headline is:
    Oil shortage! Subtitle says: 150,000 more barrels are needed per day.

    The more things “change”, the more they stay the same.

    And, yes, my vote will go to McCain. And everyone I know. Polls are skewed by whom is questioned and how they are questioned.