Saturday, June 21, 2008

The walls still have ears

By Capt. Fogg

β€œIt is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives – and the liberty – of the American people,” said Barack Obama yesterday.

Obviously he is less of a polemicist than I am. I would have hoped for his utter objection and opposition to the FISA bill that passed the House of Representatives yesterday, but in his calm fashion, he seems to be far less dogmatic and more practical and dare I say more conservative than I am by saying in essence that this is an improvement because it restores oversight and so he will support it with the pledge that further improvements are to be expected.

A good compromise fully satisfies no one and perhaps, although I loathe the actions of the Bush administration and it's swashbuckling lawlessness, it may be necessary to allow domestic surveillance but subject to legal guidelines: perhaps it may be a good compromise.

Perhaps what Obama shows here is leadership. It takes a stronger man to recognize the objections of people he does not agree with and to accept what practically can be achieved at any given moment rather than to play up to hard core supporters by chest pounding and foot stomping obstinacy that divides and does not achieve much. Sometimes a grudging admiration leads to more respect than unrestrained approbation.

(Cross-posted from
Human Voices.)

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  • Well said, Capt. Fogg. Though right now I'm still in the stomping foot stage.

    By Blogger creature, at 10:35 AM  

  • It is a sign of leadership, I agree, and I do hope Obama stands form in the Senate against telecom immunity. The problem, though, is that he seems to be too trusting of Bush (and others who would abuse surveillance). He says what he would do as president, and that's fine, but this isn't just about a possible Obama presidency. It's about what's left of the Bush presidency and about future non-Obama presidencies, specifically all future Republican presidencies. And there's just too much wiggle room here, too much of what Bush wanted all along. It's clear that what the administration was doing was illegal, but now he or a future president would be able to authorize surveillance legally without much in the way of oversight and with all sorts of loopholes.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 4:44 PM  

  • I'm not entirely pleased either and of course I can't remember a president who did anything similar to what he promised to do as a candidate.

    Maybe I'm just too sick of the bravado and macho posturing that it takes me aback when it doesn't happen.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 9:11 AM  

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