Let’s just make clear that I agree with the point of this paragraph in its entirety:
It’s not about “making a difference” in a strict “the government shall never spy on its citizens without due process” sense. It’s about making a stand. It’s about the political optics of the vote. It’s about letting your opponent flail about with a bunch of vague claims as opposed to clear, quantifiable, and antithetical viewpoints from you and your campaign over the course of a very few months.
As for FISA, while in principle I think legally restricting government spying is a good thing, in practice I’m skeptical it makes much difference. As someone who has had a foot in the harder “left”, the one that gets spied on, the old FISA rules didn’t stop government infiltrators or all sorts of violations of privacy. […] I see FISA as a nice issue to huff and puff about, but it’s a pretty minor issue compared to just ending the war [and] shutting down torture…
Is this so hard to understand? Is there no Democratic policy adviser that can understand these simple facts? You are the Change Candidate and you choose to side with the least popular President in history? To hand the GOP a bill that they couldn’t pass when they held control of both houses of Congress? This is Change we can Belive In?
Let the illegal, warrantless wiretaps expire in August. Tell America why you did so. We still would have the secret FISA court, and plenty of low-barrier, almost-never-denied secret warrants out there avialable for when bin Laden makes that so-frequently-heralded call to somebody in this country. We already know these things were approved on the least scrap of probable cause. That bit of non-action accomplished, you set about prosecuting anyone and everyone who took part in these illegal wiretaps.
But don’t take my word for it. Check out this quote:
That would be Obama, back in 2007. I guess he thinks it’s better to wait until he’s President to live up to those words rather than to do so yesterday when it really mattered.
“This Administration has put forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand. When I am president, there will be no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens; no more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime; no more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. Our Constitution works, and so does the FISA court.”
9/11 didn’t happen because law enforcement couldn’t tap a phone. Broadly speaking, it happened because when presented with a memo titled “bin Laden determined to strike in US” Bush said “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now” Period.