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August 5, 2008

Obama's FISA Screwup - Costing Us The Election?

-- by Dave Johnson

Obama's campaign began to falter when he announced he support the new FISA bill that gave away immunity to telecom companies that had assisted the Republican Party in spying on their opposition. (Until I know different I will call it this. And without warrants there is no way to know different.) He previously had said that giving immunity to these companies was wrong.

Now the chickens are home to roost. McCain is tied or a bit ahead in almost every new tracking poll. And it started when Obama popped the bubble of enthusiasm -- people thinking this was a different candidate, one who stuck by principles. Of course it continued with things like attacking General Clark for defending him, and similar strategery. It set the ground for the Republican smear campaign to take hold.

New poll shows Obama losing support among young, women,

-Among voters aged 18-29, Obama lost 16 percent and McCain gained 20. Obama still leads, 49-38;

-Among women, McCain gained 10 percentage points. Obama now leads 43-38;

Alex Castellanos words it well,
With a commercial Mike Huckabee could have run in a Republican primary, Obama now emphasizes his commitment to strong families and heartland values, "Accountability and self-reliance. Love of country. Working hard without making excuses." In this yet unwritten chapter of his next autobiography, Obama tells us he is the candidate of "welfare to work" who supports our troops and "cut taxes for working families." The shift in his political personae has been startling. Obama has moved right so far and so fast, he could end up McCain's Vice-Presidential pick.

General-election Obama now billboards his doubts about affirmative action. He has embraced the Bush Doctrine of pre-emption saying, "I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon...everything." He tells his party "Democrats are not for a bigger government." Oil drilling is a consideration. His FISA vote and abandonment of public campaign finance introduce us to an Obama of recent invention. And as he abandons his old identity for the new, breeding disenchantment among his formerly passionate left-of-center supporters and, equally, doubts among the center he courts, he risks becoming nothing at all, a candidate who is everything and nothing in the same moment.

As the saying goes, when you have a Republican running agaist a Republican, the voters figure they might as well vote for the Republican.

Posted by Dave Johnson at August 5, 2008 9:37 AM

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