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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Online Mutiny Against Barack Obama On His Own Website Over FISA

[MAJOR UPDATE] The FISA bill with the immunity passes and Barack Obama did vote for it....Roll call and more at the following piece.

In what is being called "something of an online mutiny" Barack Obama supporters are registering dissent and leveling criticism at him and they are using his own website to do so.
Ardent Barack Obama supporters are registering disappointment, leveling criticism and expressing anger over what they perceive to be Obama's shift to the middle on a variety of issues in recent weeks.

There choice of venue to express their dissatisfaction is on Barack Obama's own official website,

Thousands of supporters are actively organizing against him, using his site, with anger being shown over his recent decision to back the FISA bill that is due to be voted on today, to which Obama is specifically flying in to register his vote in support of the bill that was passed by the house on June 20, 2008 and sent to the Senate for a vote.

The controversy centers on modifications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the government's quest to monitor suspected terrorists that civil libertarians worry could infringe on the privacy rights of others. Obama had pledged earlier this year to oppose—even filibuster—legislation that would immunize telecommunications companies against lawsuits that challenge cooperation with federal authorities in warrantless wiretapping.

Obama more recently stated that he would back the compromise bill and that very same day, members of the Obama site formed a group called "Senator Obama—Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity—Get FISA Right". this group has grown to over 22,000 members, making it the largest group on

The anger shown has seen members threatening to demand their campaign contributions be returned to them with others declaring they will not even vote in November but will instead just sit out the election and one man claiming he has removed his Barack Obama bumper sticker off his car, saying, "It's the first and only bumper sticker that I've ever put on a vehicle that I owned, so my disappointment felt personal and significant."

The group is eagerly waiting to see if Obama will speak from the Senate floor on the issue, something Pincus said could generate an "Obama moment," like those triggered by other passionate speeches he has given on such topics as race.

Still, that may not be enough for those who say they have lost trust in Obama's conviction on this and other matters.

"This just seems like a tremendous betrayal," said Tom Vincent, a Web designer from upstate New York. "It's a deal-breaker for me."

Not all Obama supporters are expressing this anger, some say they are disappointed but believe this is a "pragmatic" decision and say they will still support Obama and vote for him in November.

The group has caused such ripples that Barack Obama felt the need to issue a statement back on July 3, 2008, reiterating his stance and he even provided members of his staff which stayed online to respond to comments for over an hour-and-a-half.

The comments generated from that statement equaled 2, 517 to date, some supportive and understanding and others angry, bitter and demanding.

Obama has denied that he is shifting to the center, to which he stated in Georgia on Tuesday, that people who accuse him of moving to the middle, "haven't apparently been listening to me."

Today the Senate has rejected three separate amendments trying to either strip the immunity from the FISA bill or limit retroactive immunity, and they are expected to have a final vote on the bill by the end of the day, which President Bush has already indicated he will sign.

The first amendment rejected was from Senator Christopher Dodd, Amdt. No. 5064, to strike Title II (Protections For Electronic Communications Service Providers) from the FISA bill, and that was rejected with a 32 to 66 vote.

The second one was the Specter Amdt. No. 5059- To limit retroactive immunity and that was rejected with a vote of 37 to 61.

The third was the Bingaman Amdt. No. 5066- To stay pending cases against certain telecommunications companies and that was rejected as well with a vote of 42 to 56, not enough votes to bypass a filibuster, where 60 votes are needed.

Barack Obama did vote for these amendments, although he did say that if these and any other amendments fail to pass, he will vote for the actual FISA bill whether immunity has been stripped or not.

Barack Obama is in between a rock and a hard place here. His supporters want him to vote against the FISA bill as long as immunity is included, yet he understands that the GOP would use that as ammunition against him in the general election campaign.

He also could have stayed away and simply not been there for the vote, where he wouldn't actually have had to register a yeah vote for the bill, but he took a stand that many might say is brave by standing up to his base and not allowing himself to be pressured into changing his mind.

Then again, brave might not be the word because he knows that his supporters have no options but to vote for him....unless they want to sit out the election.

How this stand will play out with his base, only time will tell.