Sadly when it came to the FISA bill which grants retroactive immunity to telecom corporations that illegally spied on Americans, many Senate Democrats, including presidential nominee, Barack Obama, folded when they should have held their ground.
And as a result of Senator Obama's recent stance, even his die hard supporters are disappointed and left wondering if this will come back to haunt him in November.
As reported in The Huffington Post, "Sen. Barack Obama is risking his brand as a political reformer, according to reports today in the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. In recent weeks, he has moderated or changed positions on a number of politically-charged issues, leading to criticism from demoralized Democratic activists and charges of "flip-flopping" from conservatives."
In the following video clip Senator Obama answers a question regarding his position on the new FISA bill.
Cenk Uygur of "The Young Turks" points out just how quick the Republicans have been to jump on Obama's change in position on the FISA bill.
Did anyone on Senator Obama's staff learn anything from the 2004 Presidential Election?
Even more disturbing than the fact that Senator Obama has opened the door to being labeled as a "flip-flopper" is the fact that there is reasonable evidence that the telecoms purchased their immunity.
As Donny Shaw reports for OpenCongress.org:
“On March 14 of this year the House passed an amendment that rejected retroactive immunity for phone carriers who helped the National Security Agency carry out the illegal wiretapping program without proper warrants. Ninety-four House Democrats voted in favor of this measure – rejecting immunity – on March 14, then ‘changed’ to vote in favor of the June 20 House bill – approving immunity.
“Why did these ninety-four House members have a change of heart?” asked Daniel Newman, executive director of MAPLight.org, “Their constituents deserve answers.”
MAPLight, which connects vote patterns with campaign contributions, sees evidence that it’s linked to telecom money. Their report shows that the 94 Democrats who changed their vote in the three months from opposing telecom immunity to supporting it received almost twice as much in contributions from Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint.
For me the issue of telecom immunity is non-negotiable. Not because, I have any interest in seeing decades of lawsuits resulting in insignificant punitive measures. But because granting any corporate entity immunity from being punished for illegally spying on American citizens sets and unacceptable precedent.
Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Senator's Russ Feingold (D-WI) eloquently and passionately summed up why so many of us feel so strongly about this issue.
Senators Dodd & Feingold, Thank you for holding your ground and standing up for The Constitution and the rights of all Americans