Gail from Oldwick, N.J., was an ardent supporter of Barack Obama before his July 9 vote supporting legal immunity for telephone carriers that participated in President Bush’s domestic spying program. After the vote, she said she is “ashamed” she taught her parrot to squawk, “Obama Yes We Can!”
Ditto for Robert from Hampden, Maine, who wrote: “What comes next? From us, no more contributions, canvassing, phone banking or campaigning on your behalf … until we see what comes next from you. So far, the real change appears to be in you, not Washington.”
And those are comments from Obama’s official presidential campaign site, BarackObama.com. Opposition to Obama’s vote is so strong there, site bloggers who organized “Senator Obama-Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity-Get FISA Right” are almost 20,000 strong. It’s the largest blogger community on Obama’s site.
Outside the world of Obama’s site, criticism of his vote was also harsh. Elliottback.com ran a campaign photo of Obama with the caption: “Illegal Wiretaps We Can Believe In.” Kevin Hayden on American Street wrote, “I won’t vote for McCain. But I won’t vote for Obama either. I will vote for a third party candidate and if enough other progressives do, causing an Obama loss? Oh well, too bad, so sad that Obama lacks the spine or wisdom to defend the Constitution.”
The vote, though, does not appear to be a deal breaker between Obama and his true believers.
As Ian from Laurel, Md., wrote on the Obama site, “By all means, let’s get Obama in the White House, as disappointed as we are in his decision to turn on us on FISA. But let’s also send the only message that Congress will get through their thick skulls about how disappointed we are-throw the bums out.”
Mark Klieman at Samefacts.com called Obama’s vote “politically wise” and “substantively harmless.” He is, however, glad “lots of people are really, really outraged about unconstitutional spying, and about amnesty for lawbreaking. But this is not a life-or-death issue. All of the damage done by the passage of the bill will be undone by the election of Barack Obama as President.”
How? Klieman noted Obama “has no reason either to block internal investigation within the Executive Branch or to use the claim of ‘executive privilege’ to shut down Congressional investigation. So the goal of revealing the extent of the Bush/telco lawlessness is not defeated by the civil-immunity provision.”
Less noted in the blogosphere uproar over Obama’s vote is Hillary Clinton’s vote against immunity and John McCain’s ducking the whole thing by not showing up for the vote.
“Hillary Clinton is not worried about being called weak, because she isn’t,” wrote Taylor Marsh on TaylorMarsh.com. “Obama seemed to have to prove his strength by caving to wingnut talking points because he was afraid of being tagged ‘weak on national security.’ The difference between them today was starkly drawn.”
As for McCain, his campaign site made not a single note about skipping the vote. His senate site hasn’t been updated in days and bloggers, well, simply yawned.