Monday, June 23, 2008


Congress has been trying to come up with a FISA bill that will be free of some of the short-comings of its predecessor legislation. The House has now overwhelmingly passed a bill that includes retroactive immunity to telecom companies that may otherwise be liable to lawsuits for helping the government eavesdrop on suspected terrorists.

The left is upset that the immunity provision was included. This puts Senator Obama in a sticky wicket since he supported the bill when it was in the House, but now that his base is aroused and angry he has reversed course and promises now to filibuster the bill that he previously supported.

In other words, as with public financing of his campaign, Obama was in favor of it before he was against it. The senator is sounding like a clone of John Kerry.

Ed Morrissey chronicles Senator Obama's political peregrinations on this issue at Hot Air.


Man from Nowhere

Michael Gerson spotlights the emptiness of Senator Obama's rhetoric about being "post-partisan" and willing to take political risks to reach across the aisle to work with members of the other party:

Jake Tapper of ABC News asked ... Barack Obama: "Have you ever worked across the aisle in such a way that entailed a political risk for yourself?" Obama's response is worth quoting in full: "Well, look, when I was doing ethics reform legislation, for example, that wasn't popular with Democrats or Republicans. So any time that you actually try to get something done in Washington, it entails some political risks. But I think the basic principle which you pointed out is that I have consistently said, when it comes to solving problems, like nuclear proliferation or reducing the influence of lobbyists in Washington, that I don't approach this from a partisan or ideological perspective."

For a candidate running as a centrist reformer, this is pretty weak tea. Ethics reform and nuclear proliferation are important issues, but they have hardly put Obama in the liberal doghouse. When I recently asked two U.S. senators who are personally favorable to Obama to name a legislative issue on which Obama has vocally bucked his own party, neither could cite a single instance.

Gerson goes on to contrast Obama's blank record of offending his fellow Democrats in order to work with Republicans to the maddeningly frequent instances of John McCain's hobnobbing with the Democrats. He finishes with this:

It is an odd thing when a presidential candidate bases his campaign on a manifest weakness. Rudy Giuliani ran on a platform of foreign policy experience while lacking it completely. Obama promises post-partisanship while doing little to demonstrate it in the Senate. And the independent voters so eagerly courted in this election may eventually ask about Obama the odd but appropriate question: What dogs has this man bitten?

Indeed, what indications are there that Obama has ever displayed any of the political talents and virtues his supporters believe he will bring to the White House? The Senator has come out of nowhere with nothing to commend him except beguiling speeches about hope and unity. He has no record of accomplishment and has never administrated anything much less a great nation. Yet for reasons that appear utterly non-rational, millions of people are prepared to put him in the White House. It's a little unnerving.