Obama is facing a mutiny over his shift right toward the center. The Democrats’ nominee to be, has offended his extremist left wing base with his “shift,” some would say flip flop, on the terrorism surveillance bill:
Thousands are using MyBarackObma.com to angrily organize against him because of a changed position on terrorist wiretap legislation that awaits Senate action as early as Wednesday.
[. . .]
The controversy centers on modifications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the government’s quest to monitor suspected terrorists that civil libertarians worry could infringe on the privacy rights of others. Obama had pledged earlier this year to oppose—even filibuster—legislation that would immunize telecommunications companies against lawsuits that challenge cooperation with federal authorities in warrantless wiretapping.
After Obama shifted, or flip flopped, and decided to vote for the terrorism surveillance bill a new online group named “Senator Obama—Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity—Get FISA Right” formed on his campaign’s social networking Website. Now with more than 22,000 members, it is the largest group on MyBarackObama.com:
The online group is flooded with messages of disappointment and disillusionment. Some threaten to ask that their campaign contributions be returned, while others suggest they will simply stay home this fall.
One man even said he had removed his Obama bumper sticker from his car. “It’s the first and only bumper sticker that I’ve ever put on a vehicle that I owned, so my disappointment felt personal and significant,” he wrote.
Watch the following video:
Live by the internet, die by the internet.
At Reuters, Daniel Trotta writes that by opening his campaign to so many surrogates on the internet, Obama is in danger losing control of his message:
The Internet also has provided a forum for whisper campaigns such as one promoting the false assertion he is Muslim. White supremacist groups, too, have intensified their online rhetoric coinciding with the political ascent of a man who if elected in November would be America’s first black president. Obama, an Illinois senator, will face Republican Sen. John McCain in the general election.
“A basic fundamental of any campaign is to control the message. And when you open yourself up this much via the Internet, you cannot control your message because the Internet can take a life of its own,” said Ravi Singh, CEO of ElectionMall Technologies, a technology consultant to political campaigns.
Some of Obama’s own liberal supporters have used the my.barackobama.com Web site to criticize him as moving to the political center, particularly for his changed position on legislation overhauling U.S. spy laws.
After running a primary campaign from the far left, Obama’s record again impedes his shift right toward the center.
In October, the Obama campaign pledged Obama would filibuster “any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies:”
Obama Spokesman Bill Burton: “To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.” (Greg Sargent, “Obama Camp Says It: He’ll Support Filibuster Of Any Bill Containing Telecom Immunity,” Talking Points Memo’s “Election Central” Blog, tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com, 10/24/07.)
In December, Obama’s office said Obama “unequivocally opposes giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies:”
“Senator Obama unequivocally opposes giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies and has cosponsored Senator’s efforts to remove that provision from the FISA bill. … Senator Obama supports a filibuster of this bill, and strongly urges others to do the same.” (Sen. Barack Obama, “Statement From Senator Obama’s Office On The FISA Bill,” Press Release, 12/17/07.)
In February, Obama voted against FISA legislation that contained retroactive immunity:
“Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the bill that would amend the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to authorize warrantless surveillance of foreign targets, even if they are communicating with someone in the United States. It would give the FISA court authority to approve several aspects of how such surveillance is conducted. It also would grant retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies alleged to have participated in the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Statement From Senator Obama’s Office On The FISA Bill, Press Release,2/12/08.)
Obama’s FISA shift was noted in the media as “politically expedient:”
“His support for a government surveillance bill that offers retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies — a bill that he vowed last year to filibuster — angered liberal Internet activists who felt betrayed by what they saw as a politically expedient move designed to inoculate himself against GOP charges that he’s weak on national security.” (Kenneth P. Vogel , “Obama: Change Agent Goes Conventional,” The Politico, 6/27/08.)
“‘To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.’– Obama spokesman Bill Burton, Oct. 24, 2007. That was then: Democratic primaries to be won, netroot lefties to be seduced. With all that (and Hillary Clinton) out of the way, Obama now says he’ll vote in favor of the new FISA bill that gives the telecom companies blanket immunity for post-Sept. 11 eavesdropping.” (Charles Krauthammer, Op-Ed, “The Ever-Malleable Mr. Obama,” The Washington Post, 6/27/08.)
“Senator Barack Obama Vowed In January (When He Was Still Fighting For The Democratic Nomination) That He Would Filibuster Against Immunity. Now He Says He Will Vote For An ‘Imperfect’ Bill And Fix It If He Wins. Sound Familiar?” (Editorial, “Compromising The Constitution,” The New York Times, 7/8/08)
Obama denies he is shifting right and claims those that say he is aren’t listening:
“Look, let me talk about the broader issue, this whole notion that I am shifting to the center,” he told a crowd gathered at a town hall-style meeting in this Atlanta suburb. “The people who say this apparently haven’t been listening to me.”
Obama is wrong, as the online mutiny demonstrates, people are listening carefully. More carefully than Obama’s sudden lurch to the right can withstand.