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The senator who stands for something

Tom Jackson • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:27 PM

There's a big controversy these days in the liberal blogosphere over Barack Obama's decision to back a new compromise version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. A key provision of the new FISA bill is that it gives immunity from lawsuits to telecommunications companies that allegedly broke the law by cooperating with the Bush administration's warrantless wiretaps after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The senator's stance represents an apparent change in his position from February, when he promised to fight hard against giving immunity to telecommunications companies. This has prompted criticism from civil liberties advocates in the blogosphere.

The Chicago Tribune reports that before the Senate takes up FISA, it will take up a separate bill to remove the lawsuit protection from the bill. The article says this will allow Obama to vote against telecom immunity before he votes for it.

I mention this to note a recent 80-15 vote in the U.S. Senate over FISA. The 15 "No" votes are the guys on the losing side who opposed the bill and tried to block it. They include U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH. Whatever you think of Brown, I've noticed he's not afraid to take a position and stick to it.

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