Clinton Votes No as FISA Compromise Passes

Role reversal is quite apparent on the FISA vote. Over the last several years Hillary Clinton has moved to the right on many issues, including those related to civil liberties and the power of government. She has received plenty of criticism in the past for her weak opposition to the FISA bill. While she was hoping to run for president, she repeatedly pandered to fear of terrorism. Now that she is no longer a candidate, she has moved back to the left as Barack Obama has disappointed many of his supporters in voting for the bill to avoid right wing charges of being weak on terrorism.

As Matthew Yglesias wrote, “I don’t believe that if Clinton and Obama swapped roles that they’d be acting any differently.” Regardless of who the Democratic nominee was, I have little doubt they would be making the mistake Obama made and vote for the compromise. If Obama was not the nominee, he be sticking to his principles and voting no. Still, the fact remains that today Clinton was right and Obama was wrong. Clinton also had a good statement:

Congress must vigorously check and balance the president even in the face of dangerous enemies and at a time of war. That is what sets us apart. And that is what is vital to ensuring that any tool designed to protect us is used – and used within the law – for that purpose and that purpose alone. I believe my responsibility requires that I vote against this compromise, and I will continue to pursue reforms that will improve our ability to collect intelligence in our efforts to combat terror and to oversee that authority in Congress.

Clinton has long been on the wrong side with regards to supporting increased presidential power. She has corrected her position as her situation changed. I hope that Obama, regardless of what he felt he must do politically today, remembers his views on civil liberties once he takes office and is not tempted to allow increased Executive power when he is in the one in the White House.

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