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SquirrelEStuff's avatar

How come Obama didn't vote to filibuster the FISA bill?

Asked by SquirrelEStuff (10004points) June 26th, 2008

15 Senators are voting to maintain a filibuster of the FISA bill citing 4th amendment violations. Obama and Clinton are not among them. How come?

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9 Answers

reed's avatar

It was a political calculation. If he opposed the bill he would open himself up to attacks from the right that he isn’t serious about preventing terrorism. He will let his senate colleagues fight it as a proxy. I suspect Clinton made the same calculation.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Political calculation?!?!?!

Im sorry. Isnt Obama supposed to be the candidate about “change” and “hope?” If this man can not seriously debate or defend his position on voting to filibuster this, he does not deserve to be president.

How about this? Maybe, just maybe, he right in with this whole little scheme to completely dissolve our civil liberties. If he did speak of it, the main stream media would be forced to cover the bill as the story it really is.

Let his senate colleagues fight it out?!??! This bill is in danger of passing.

Obama needs to bring to the forefront the joke this whole war on terrorism is, and not play into the political games, and just speak the truth.

reed's avatar

@chris6137 – If you think Obama doesn’t or should not make any political calculations, then you are going to be sorely disappointed. He already made a risky political calculation by opting out of the public financing program. It opened him up to accusations of hypocrisy and flip-flopping, which already have been flying from the right, but after he discovered he could raise tons of money, he figured it was worth the risk and he may be right. His calculation was that his decision on this wouldn’t piss off Democrats, which has proven true since I’ve yet to see any in his own party criticize him over this issue.

lefteh's avatar

In the Senate, many top-tier senators work together very closely. Now that the Democratic primaries are over, the big-name Democrats are working together again. These include Reid, Feingold, Biden, Kennedy, Leahy, Byrd, Dodd, Harkin, Bayh, Boxer, Durbin, Kerry, Schumer, and of course, Obama and Clinton. They’ve talked, and so far, Dodd, Feingold, and Boxer are leading the filibuster effort. Obama isn’t in the position to lead anything controversial right now, nor is Clinton. For this one, the fight is up to their colleagues.

Zaku's avatar

I hate the fearmongering truthspeak that’s infected US politics for so long as much as anyone, but . . .

Vote to filibuster? Filibuster is a tactic where you keep talking about a bill so that it doesn’t come to a vote, no? So a vote to filibuster would be just part of an informal tactic rather than a vote, where you just need enough congressmen to keep the filibuster going, rather than for everyone in favor of it to vote, no?

Assuming I’m right, it seems pointless to critique Obama for not signing up to be a filibusterer. Who would want their presidential candidate spending time reading The Joy of Cooking into the congressional record, when there are enough others volunteering to do it?

charybdys's avatar

I think this clears it up a little:

I still have hope for him. The bill is bad, but its not the main problem.

chaosrob's avatar

It’s kind of naive to suggest that a Democrat running in this political environment wouldn’t have to bend over backward to protect himself from right-wing “national security” attacks. I think he did it to deny the right a talking point. I also think, overall, our civil liberties would be in far better shape under his administration than a McCain/Bush government.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

its a little fish, big fish thing. he doesnt want to stir up any controversy so he can make sure he gets the presidency, where he’ll be in a position to make more far reaching changes.

TaoSan's avatar


I beg to differ on the “change” issue. Filibustering is per definition an “obstruction” of due process. Unfortunately, it has become so common that it is now accepted. To this effect, him deciding not to do so is very much in sync with his message of change and abdicating from the “old ways” and not contraire.

Of course the bill itself will hopefully not pass, but that’s a different story.

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