Sunday, July 13, 2008

Obama and the media

Lately, the press is going through one of its periodic bash Obama phases (to be fair, they are bashing McCain too). Here's my take:
  • Iraq. The media claim Obama is reversing course because he says he'll 'refine' his position based on the unfolding situation. This is exactly what I want my president to do -- respond to changing conditions. Obama has been crystal clear from the start that he wants out of Iraq. If anything, recent events (1) suggest that 'refinement' may well mean an earlier withdrawal.
  • FISA. Much is made of Obama's vote for the flawed FISA bill. For the life of me, I cannot find a simple list of all of FISA's provisions. While there are some obvious problems, Obama is a constitutional lawyer with a history of supporting the little guy. Furthermore, we face a real enemy, al Qaeda, using modern communication systems and new approaches are needed. Finally, even the telecom amnesty does not include amnesty from criminal prosecution. All in all, I trust Obama's judgement that these compromises are the best we can do right now. That said, I'll give money to the ACLU to fight the worst provisions.
  • Some media outlets say Obama and McCain are starting to look the same. This is ridiculous. It's true that McCain is closer to Obama's positions on the environment and stem-cell research than Bush; and McCain has even proposed a pull-out date for Iraq (2013). However, McCain is very conservative and Obama is fairly liberal. Just one example, if McCain becomes president, Roe v Wade is toast.

    (1) Obama has suggested a roughly 16 month withdrawal period, but that was when violence was much higher and before the Iraqi government started insisting on a timetable. It was also before a senior U.S. commander suggested that we could withdraw in 2009. Any refinement will probably mean a quicker redeployment.

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