I’m not leaning on the panic button yet, but I truly hope that there’s some grand strategy behind the Senator’s remarks yesterday about telecom immunity.
“The bill has changed. So I don’t think the security threats have changed, I think the security threats are similar. My view on FISA has always been that the issue of the phone companies per se is not one that overrides the security interests of the American people.”
I don’t know that this is confirmation of a ‘yea’ vote. He could still wiggle out of this. But here’s my issue at this point — and as someone who has enthusiastically and very publicly endorsed the Senator… I strongly object to his repeated use of the words “threats”.
Now I’m fully aware of why he has to talk like this. Naturally, it’s because a ridiculous number of Americans believe that he’s not just weak on terrorism — but that he actually IS a terrorist. And I understand that he needs a huge mandate in November in order to effectively roll back the crimes of the Bush years, and that includes winning over independents and Republicans who might be worried about the Senator’s anti-terror qualifications.
If his FISA posture helps him more effectively win a mandate to roll back the Bush atrocities, well then, maybe that’s the silver lining.
UPDATE: This might be the grand strategy: the Obama campaign is aiming to win down-ballot races in red congressional districts. In order to do achieve this, he needs to play more to the center on terrorism. I wish that wasn’t the case, but if it helps to secure stronger state- and federal level numbers, I think we can deal for the time being. Remember that the GOP’s most dangerous stronghold are some of these down-ballot offices. All the way down to school boards and municipal government offices. More from Benen at C&L.
UPDATE THE SECOND: To clarify the first UPDATE, I don’t believe that retroactive immunity or warrantless wiretaps are “centrist” positions. In fact, they’re right-wing positions. But when combined with Senator Obama’s more liberal positions, it manages to pull him more to the center, which was my point. Also, to be clear, I hate this bill and everything about it. I’m just giving the Senator some latitude here — so I’m holstering my dissatisfaction until this current chapter plays out.