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FISA: Hillary's choice?

vastleft's picture

Greg Sargent:

Tea leaf readers note that Hillary's New York colleague, Chuck Schumer, also announced today that he's voting against it. Will Hillary follow suit? It seems like a huge opening for her to repair relations with progressives angry with her over her treatment of Obama during primary. On the other hand, some Dems note a complicating factor: If Hillary votes against the bill, it could cast a bit of a shadow over the planned "unity" Hillary-Obama event on Friday.

I'll give Greg points for noticing the Sophie's Choice that Hillary is facing.

But "repair relations with progressives angry with her over her treatment of Obama during primary"!? That's like expecting a battered wife to apologize for wearing out her husband's fist.

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danps's picture
Submitted by danps on

I don't (and won't) buy any garbage about her needing to show Unity or not show up Obama. Her vote will show where she stands on the issue, nothing more and nothing less.

danps's picture
Submitted by danps on

Over here. How they vote is how they think, period. I won't bend over backwards to rationalize any politician's lousy vote.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"How they vote is how they think" is absurd. It's a new, dumb meme. I don't buy it by Bowers about Obama, either, BTW.

Sausage is made by weighing all sorts of effects and side-effects of a vote. To pretend that away is to eschew the complex truth in favor of the simple lie.

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

As VL says, "“How they vote is how they think” is absurd," because it means--Obama did or did not believe the ways he voted before? It means we listen to how Obama voted--or the opposite things he's saying now? What about his missed votes (cough MoveOn/First Amendment cough)?

What about Obama's touted anti-Roberts vote when he really wanted to vote FOR Roberts?

Now Obama says pro-choice women have nowhere else to go.

What about Obama's anti-environment vote (Obama voted FOR the 2005 Cheney energy bill)?

Now Obama says he'll be better than McCain (who noted no) for the environment.

Sometimes I think the press/punditry come up with this things as mental games for the reading public. Like fantasy baseball (not to malign any fans here)--like fantasy politics...if Obama's so clever as to convince people that his vote is NOT his real position and then convince the press/pundits that his vote MIGHT BE his real position, then he will get ALL the votes on BOTH sides of the issue!! AND Obama doesn't actually have to make any moves!

FlipYrWhig's picture
Submitted by FlipYrWhig on

if Obama’s so clever as to convince people that his vote is NOT his real position and then convince the press/pundits that his vote MIGHT BE his real position, then he will get ALL the votes on BOTH sides of the issue!!

Of course McCain has made a _career_ of this. You can tell by the way pundits praise his skill at pandering while seeming loath to pander, saying stupid things but doing so grudgingly. No one who tells the press bus dirty jokes could possibly be a conservative! Underneath it all, he's a Cool Dude, just like them, a bored cynic doing what he has to do to please the moron-Americans.

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

I like the "whig" part of your name.

"...McCain has made a _career_ of this."

Examples of what you're talking with McCain doing "this" please? Preferably from this election cycle?

And yes, yes, VL and Lambert, please add your links, aka linky goodness.

danps's picture
Submitted by danps on

Maybe what's dumb is "weighing all sorts of effects and side-effects of a vote" in an effort to excuse terrible decisions. They can blather all they want and try to BS us with all the "on the one hand/on the other hand" in the world, but all we really have to judge them on is their voting record. Don't let them off the hook.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

The fact is that votes in Congress are quite routinely exercises in triangulation.

Favor is curried, bad is taken with good, vanity votes are taken when you know a bill is or isn't going to pass, etc., etc.

On this vote, Hillary and Hillary alone is facing perhaps more peer pressure than anyone in our country ever has. She has to ask herself whether the critter whispering in her ear to vote the same as Obama is the angel or the devil.

You and I are convinced that the greater good is to shut down this bill. She may think that the greater good is to stand by her man to help him win the White House. Obviously, I don't concur with that, but I understand why it's not an easy choice.

Plus, I don't put Hillary on a pedestal and am not 100% sure she wouldn't vote for the bill on general principles. I sure hope she wouldn't, but I don't know. Certainly, a vote for it will be a stain on her reputation for people like you and me, but I'm not unaware of the trade-off she's facing and don't feel the need to pretend things like that away for fear of being called a rationalizer.

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

Of COURSE it's HILLARY'S fault!

Time to review:
Clinton rulz (inspired by VL):
"TCR 2.0. Every statement of any supporter or surrogate of Hillary Clinton is a reflection of Hillary Clinton's personal views or directives.

* COROLLARY to TCR 2.0: Statements by any supporter or surrogate of Hillary Clinton that might cast her in poor light are most definitely a reflection of Hillary Clinton's personal views or directives - regardless of whether she distances herself from those statements, supporters or surrogates."

Has Mr. Sargent finally gotten the memo? Perhaps being mysteriously "vanished" from TPM for a while "cleared" his head? Remember when he was gone for so long after posting this?

danps's picture
Submitted by danps on

TP, I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. He deserves sharp criticism for the (non-)votes you mention. Don't let him off the hook either - I deliberately said "them" because I include Obama, Clinton, Reid, Hoyer and the rest of the party in my criticism. Don't let them off the hook.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

She's been voted off the party leadership island.

However she votes on this, she's not the head of the party, the head of either chamber of Congress, nor is she a champion for this bill. As far as this is concerned, she's just another Senator, and the one who will be most dumped upon if she bucks the party's standard-bearers.

As the Obama campaign has been glad to tell you, Hillary has baggage, and thanks to them, she has several steamer trunks' worth more -- her kitchen-sink attempts to destroy and even assassinate Obama, y'know. People who look to her potential yea vote as a potential fuggeddaboutit re: the weaseling leadership are copping out. I hope she does the right thing. But if she doesn't, she's just one more Senator who made a bad, compromised vote... with perhaps a bit more reason to have done so.

danps's picture
Submitted by danps on

My thinking goes roughly like this: A bill like FISA deserves at least to be modified (no telecom amnesty) and we need to fight to make that happen. That means letting our representatives & leaders know, contacting them and pressuring them. It means persuading them that the electorate has moved more to the left than they realize, and persuading our fellow citizens to be more liberal. Politicians are cautious by nature, and while they may have other factors to consider that is none of our concern. I'll leave the inside baseball to the Dana Milbanks of the world - part of the spirit of the blogosphere is the belief that we are better off not being at the cocktail parties, not having access, not having sources - and going strictly on the end result. Clinton or any other politician can plead extenuating circumstances all they want; I care about how their actions affect my world, not theirs.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... to request that she vote against the bill.

If I had any real influence, I'd use it. As I don't live in New York, and she's no longer a candidate for president, I'm not even a constituent of hers.

But, really, we should all be more worried about how our own Senators are going to vote.

That said, I will be loud and proud in support of HRC if she does stand up for the Fourth Amendment and disappointed (but not naive about the circumstances) if she doesn't.

danps's picture
Submitted by danps on

As a recently-departed candidate who came very close to getting the nomination (and spouse of a 2-term President) she's more than just the junior Senator from NY. She doesn't have any formal position in the leadership though, so you're right that she doesn't have the clout to force anything. If she had really and truly been stripped of all leadership, though, would Greg Sargent have devoted the space to her plight? I live in Ohio and I'm not aware of Sherrod Brown getting that kind of focus, but technically he's just a junior Senator too. He voted against cloture so he'll probably vote against the final bill. No one seems worried that he bucked the party's standard-bearers.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

it's the Heisenberg Media Principle? The mere fact that people are devoting coverage changes who her constituency is?

I can't deny that her actions are of national interest, but while we're busy not denying that, let's acknowledge that her most freighted national role is as booster (or assassin) of her party's presumptive nominee.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Sargent is bringing up Clinton, is because it is certain to engage CDS amongst Obama supporters, and deflect criticism of Obama for selling out his "base".

And yes, if she votes against the bill, she will be savaged amongst the selfsame Obama supporters, for making the candidate look bad.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

word of the day!

Er, this last post, VL--

"...let’s acknowledge that her most freighted national role is as booster (or assassin) of her party’s presumptive nominee..."

--how does it NOT fit what you wrote:

"If Obama gets the nomination and loses, it will be the fault of Hillary and her supporters."

And to add a little humor: I DO think Hillary should apologize to progressives angry with her--after all, she DID RUN. And, you know, she did not START every speech saying Obama should win the nomination.

I love the argument that Hillary should provide cover for Barack by voting badly too. Two wrongs making a right here?

jackyt's picture
Submitted by jackyt on

she is agreeing with Obama?

"if Obama’s so clever as to convince people that his vote is NOT his real position and then convince the press/pundits that his vote MIGHT BE his real position, then he will get ALL the votes on BOTH sides of the issue!!"

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I hope Clinton votes against this bill. She has a duty to protect the fourth amendment, like all the other Senators. Speaking only for myself, I am not going to excuse anyone from voting wrong on this one.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

And yes, if she votes against the bill, she will be savaged amongst the selfsame Obama supporters, for making the candidate look bad.

true, but she should vote against the FISA bill because to do otherwise violates her oath of office.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I'm just sick and tired of people dragging Clinton into it, to excuse Obama in this mess.

I realize you aren't doing this, but others are.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

Submitted by lambert on

As Krugman more or less says....

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by brucedixon on

It wouldn't really be a surprise. After all, he has, along with Reid and Pelosi and the Blue Dogs ensured its passage by a filibuster-proof majority. He can afford now to appear to reconsider and cast a lone "courageous" vote against what is in part his own handiwork.

No phone companies will be harmed in the process. The telecoms still know who their daddy is. The onerous and unconstitutional legislation will still pass, and the new administration will still have all these new & illegitimate powers. And Obama can appear to redeem himself.

Expedient? Sure. Cynical? Of course. Possible? I wouldn't rule it out. A hypocritical last minute vote against the FISA bill on his part would be a real stroke. If I wasn't so broke, I'd bet $50 or $100 on it.

Bruce Dixon
www.blackagendareport.com

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

he promised repeatedly to fight it, and to stand with Dodd.

Just voting against it now when they already have more than enough votes is nonsense--i bet he'll do that tho and try to make it seem like he took a stand--ugh.