Greenwald 1; Olbermann, Obama 0
As Jim Dempsey and Marty Lederman both note, not even the nation's most foremost FISA experts really know the full extent to which this bill allows new warrantless spying. Obviously, Jonathan Alter has no idea what he's saying, but nonetheless decrees that this bill -- now that Obama supports it -- restores the Fourth Amendment. Those are the Orwellian lengths to which people like Olbermann and Alter are apparently willing to go in order to offer their blind devotion to Barack Obama.
Moreover, Alter's own explanation is self-contradictory. In the course of praising Obama's FISA stance, he says that a politician looks "weak if you're flip-flopping" and "you look weak if you don't fight back against your political adversaries." But that's exactly what Obama is doing here -- completely reversing himself on telecom amnesty and warrantless eavesdropping, all in order to give the right-wing of the GOP everything it wants on national security issues in order to avoid a fight. By Alter's own reasoning, what Obama's doing is "weak" in the extreme, yet Alter bizarrely praises Obama for showing "strength."What Glenn said. And this as well, though right now definitely is a time for that extreme criticism:
What's much more notable is Olbermann's full-scale reversal on how he talks about these measures now that Obama -- rather than George Bush -- supports them. On an almost nightly basis, Olbermann mocks Congressional Democrats as being weak and complicit for failing to stand up to Bush lawbreaking; now that Obama does it, it's proof that Obama won't "cower." Grave warning on Olbermann's show that telecom amnesty and FISA revisions were hallmarks of Bush Fascism instantaneously transformed into a celebration that Obama, by supporting the same things, was leading a courageous, centrist crusade in defense of our Constitution.
It isn't that difficult to keep the following two thoughts in one's head at the same time -- though it seems to be for many people:
(1) What Barack Obama is doing on Issue X is wrong, indefensible and worthy of extreme criticism;
(2) I support Barack Obama for President because he's a better choice than John McCain.
Yes, he is. But let's not lose sight of the fact that he is not a savior, he's simply a politician, and politicians need to know that they are -- or should be -- accountable for their actions. Voting for the current FISA bill granting the telecoms immunity is simply inexcusable and indefensible.
**UPDATE** The Senate has just delayed voting on the FISA bill until after the July 4 recess. Thank you, Senators Fiengold and Dodd. There is still a slim chance that this assault on the Fourth Amendment can be killed.