In a press release issued yesterday, the Libertarian Party said Barack Obama had a chance to stand for liberty bud didn’t. “Civil liberties were violated, and only 28 senators cared to see justice served,” said Libertarian Party spokesperson Andrew Davis, “and Barack Obama was not one of them.”
The party is referring, of course, to Obama’s support of FISA and retroactive telecom immunity, which he originally said he would not support.
As Glenn Greenwald of Salon tells it:
Obama’s vote in favor of cloture, in particular, cemented the complete betrayal of the commitment he made back in October when seeking the Democratic nomination. Back then, Obama’s spokesman — in response to demands for a clear statement of Obama’s views on the spying controversy after he had previously given a vague and noncommittal statement — issued this emphatic vow: “To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”
But the bill today does include retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies. Nonetheless, Obama voted for cloture on the bill — the exact opposition of supporting a filibuster — and then voted for the bill itself. A more complete abandonment of an unambiguous campaign promise is difficult of imagine.
Libertarian for U.S. Senate in Michigan, Scotty Boman, is also making an issue out of FISA, but the target of his outrage is not Obama, but Boman’s Republican opponent Jack Hoogendyk — a so-called “Ron Paul Republican” — who earlier said a recent Supreme Court decision gave “terrorists the same rights as U.S. citizens.”
And Libertarians are not the only ones upset by FISA. The Constitution Party’s man for U.S. Senate in Oregon, Dave Brownlow, called FISA “unamerican” and added: “There are situations where wiretapping and other forms of electronic eavesdropping may be justified. However, the legal bar that allows such invasive forms of surveillance has been set rather high â€“ a bar which has been routinely ignored by the Bush administration. Passage of this FISA bill will only embolden them in their criminal behavior.”
Herbert Hoffman, an independent candidate for U.S. Senate in Maine, had this to say: “Today, the United States Senate will vote to suspend the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution when it approves the FISA bill. Not only will the passage of this bill nullify the ‘right of the people to be secure in their persons’ which is guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, it will simultaneously add to the nullification of the Constitutionally established balance of powers. I refer to the ‘immunity clause’ for the telecom industry by which over 40 legal suits will not be able to be heard before a court of law.”
Hoffman’s entire statement can be read here.