Obama's FISA Fiasco

07/19/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Joan Z. Shore Paris columnist, author of 'Saging' and 'Red Burgundy'

I'm afraid it had to happen -- after inspiring us with promises of change, of honesty in government, of civil rights and respect for the law, Barack Obama has caved in.

His vote in favor of the new FISA law is not merely disappointing, it is shameful. Here is a man who would, audaciously, engage in open talks with our opponents, but who will permit spying and surveillance of his compatriots.

Here is a crusading lawyer who will fight for the underprivileged, but will grant immunity to corporations that broke the law.

Are we seeing the beginning of the dumbing-down of Obama?

John McCain circumvented the FISA vote just by staying away. That leaves him open, as usual, to flip-flop on the issue.

Ted Kennedy, bless him, rose from his sickbed to go to Washington and vote against it.

Hillary Clinton... where was she? No one has mentioned how she voted, if at all.

I will not be kind and say Obama's vote was merely a question of political expediency. It was much worse than that. It was a blatant denial of what he claims to stand for. His campaign managers are saying: No matter, once he's president he'll be able to change all that. Nonsense! If he can't stand up now as a voice for justice and freedom, how can we be sure he'll do it when the pressures of high office fall upon him?

How can we believe in his call for change, when he is aligning himself with the present corrupt administration?

If Obama continues to fluctuate, transmutate, and modify his principles in order to attract the masses of borderline voters, he will surely lose the formidable following he has acquired. He slipped on Iraq, suggesting a withdrawal might take longer than 16 months (even before visiting there). He has now stumbled badly on the FISA vote. He is, in a way, Swift-boating himself, not through direct attack but through reversal.

This is no way to run a campaign. More importantly, it is no way to demonstrate integrity and courage.


Barack Obama