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Friday, June 20, 2008

No, Senator Obama, the Constitution is NOT Negotiable
Posted by Jill | 6:37 PM
Sorry, Senator, but you are 100% wrong:

"Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. There is also little doubt that the Bush Administration, with the cooperation of major telecommunications companies, has abused that authority and undermined the Constitution by intercepting the communications of innocent Americans without their knowledge or the required court orders.

"That is why last year I opposed the so-called Protect America Act, which expanded the surveillance powers of the government without sufficient independent oversight to protect the privacy and civil liberties of innocent Americans. I have also opposed the granting of retroactive immunity to those who were allegedly complicit in acts of illegal spying in the past.

"After months of negotiation, the House today passed a compromise that, while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year's Protect America Act.

"Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance – making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It 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. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.

"It 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."

Not good enough, Senator. As clammyc points out, there is no guarantee that you are going to be the next president. And even if you were, don't think that the support you have means that we want to give YOU carte blanche to eviscerate the Constitution just because you have a "D" after your name. This bill is no compromise. This bill is a rubber stamp for George W. Bush -- and yes, you, if you should prevail in November, to flagrantly violate the 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights -- with no consequences.

We who decided to support you put our trust in the idea that you are not going to be just another sellout hack. I realize that you come from Chicago politics, but this is unacceptable.

If there is information about you, and about other Democrats who voted for this travesty in the House and who plan to vote for it in the Senate, that you have been told has been gathered as part of this operation, then you all should come clean now. Do not legislate based on blackmail.

On Monday, Steny Hoyer, who spearheaded this atrocity, came to New Jersey to appear with 5th District candidate Dennis Shulman -- and hand him a check for $2500. I want to know if Dr. Shulman supports amnesty for those who break the law and violate the very Constitution they swore to uphold. As you can see, there are those who think this is "no big deal" and shouldn't affect how we vote under the "Any Democrat is Better than a Republican" doctrine. And especially this year, when Justice John Paul Stevens is pushing 90 with a steamroller, this is true. To not vote, or to vote for John McCain, because of what the person with whom I'm arguing calls a "litmus test on one issue" is of course silly -- and not a viable option this year.

But is "We're not quite as bad as they are" the best we can do as Democrats? Has our party strayed so far from "We the people" that even those who talk about change are willing to sell out everything this nation stands for -- for a few pieces of silver?

You are supposed to be a different kind of politician, Mr. Obama. Act like one.

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Blogger Unknown said...
>We who decided to support you put our trust in the idea that you are not going to be just another sellout hack.

Lol. Truly, one born every minute.

Blogger Bob said...
My friend, we both knew he had this in him which is why we supported Edwards as long we could & weren't chanting "Yes we can." But I voted for Obama with my eyes open, knowing that on some issues I was closer to Hillary, knowing that Barack was promising a governing style that seemed to emphasize compromise before he had even staked out a hard position from which to negotiate.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
As a commenter on my blog wrote aptly: this is Obama's "Slick Willie" moment. Unfortunately, we are going to see more of those moments if Obama lets the Republicans frame the debate.