The FISA flip-flop just keeps getting better and better for Barack Obama. After reversing himself and signaling his support for the FISA compromise that passed the House — which included a provision for court-supervised immunity for telecoms — Obama’s base went ballistic. Obama did a half-flop backwards, promising to try to strip immunity from the bill in the Senate:
“[The bill] does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.”
Obama’s base wants another flip-flop from Obama. MoveOn has sent out a letter to its members asking them to press Obama to fulfill a campaign pledge not just to oppose FISA reform and telecom immunity, but to filibuster any such bill that comes before the Senate. The pledge came in October 2007, when Dodd had made a mini-run at Obama’s hard-Left constituency with his activism against FISA reform:
It’s official: Obama will back a filibuster of any Senate FISA legislation containing telecom immunity, his campaign has just told Election Central. The Obama campaign has just sent over the following statement from spokesman Bill Burton:
“To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”
So let’s recap Obama’s positions on this issue:
- He opposed the FISA reform bill when it included non-supervised immunity for the telecoms.
- He pledged to filibuster any bill that contained retroactive immunity.
- When the bill passed the Senate in February with non-supervised immunity, he was glad to stand with Russ Feingold, Chris Dodd, and the “grassroots movement of Americans” opposed to it.
- After spending the next three months avoiding the subject, he declares support for the House compromise bill that contains court-supervised retroactive immunity.
- But then he says he wants to strip out the immunity in the bill he supports, which would force everyone to start over again from scratch.
- And he also stops far short of the filibuster pledge he made when he needed to keep Dodd from stealing his support last fall.
So which is it? Does Obama support this FISA reform bill or not? Will he try filibustering a bill that won a large majority in the House and which is even more of a compromise than the bill that won 68 votes in the Senate in February? Will Obama try to do yet another flip-flop and still convince people that he has any principles at all?