As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, June 06, 2008

McCain's Telecom Flip-Flop Breaks Into Big Media

McCain's flip-flop on radical executive power and illegal spying actually happened a few days ago, but I'm glad Charlie Savage elevated it by covering it in the New York Times.

A top adviser to Senator John McCain says Mr. McCain believes that President Bush’s program of wiretapping without warrants was lawful, a position that appears to bring him into closer alignment with the sweeping theories of executive authority pushed by the Bush administration legal team.

In a letter posted online by National Review this week, the adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said Mr. McCain believed that the Constitution gave Mr. Bush the power to authorize the National Security Agency to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and e-mail without warrants, despite a 1978 federal statute that required court oversight of surveillance.

Mr. McCain believes that “neither the administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the A.C.L.U. and trial lawyers, understand were constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001,” Mr. Holtz-Eakin wrote.

Those eeeeevil trial lawyers! And that darn ACLU, trying to protect the Bill of Rights and stand in the way of a President asserting the right to break the law and what-not...

I'm glad Savage got Sen. Obama to comment on McCain's position, too.

In an interview about his views on the limits of executive power with The Boston Globe six months ago, Mr. McCain strongly suggested that if he became the next commander in chief, he would consider himself obligated to obey a statute restricting what he did in national security matters [...]

Mr. McCain’s position, as outlined by Mr. Holtz-Eakin, was criticized by the campaign of his presumptive Democratic opponent in the presidential election, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. Greg Craig, an Obama campaign adviser, said Wednesday that anyone reading Mr. McCain’s answers to The Globe and the more recent statement would be “totally confused” about “what Senator McCain thinks about what the Constitution means and what President Bush did.”

“American voters deserve to know which side of this flip-flop he’s on today, and what he would do as president,” Mr. Craig said in a phone interview.

It's absolutely a flip-flop and it's good to see it described as such. Of course, Sen. Obama has the opportunity to do more than criticize his opponent - he can go to the Democratic leadership right now and get them to stop the giveaway of immunity for telecoms for lawbreaking and massive new spying powers for the federal government.

As for McCain, aside from cozying up to conservatives, it's obvious why he's changed his position - all that luscious telecom money.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has condemned the influence of "special interest lobbyists," yet dozens of lobbyists have political and financial ties to his presidential campaign — particularly from telecommunications companies, an industry he helps oversee in the Senate.

Of the 66 current or former lobbyists working for the Arizona senator or raising money for his presidential campaign, 23 have lobbied for telecommunications companies in the past decade, Senate lobbying disclosures show.

And they get what they pay for.

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