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Citizen Voices

Compromise

Over the holiday weekend, I did some catching up on recent public statements made by Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain. I read a little about Barack Obama's response to the unhappy left regarding his Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) vote for telecom immunity, and "refining" his message about Iraq troop withdrawals . I also read, for the first time, that John McCain admitted he does not know how to operate a computer and relies heavily on help from his wife for anything computer related. Assuming none of the above campaign messages were unintentional gaffes, I realized again that, inevitably, disappointment over compromise comes up during a presidential campaign.  

But how much compromise is too much?

The FISA vote stuck in my throat. I've written before about why I believe it's important to treat the Bush-era super-sized version of FISA with extreme care. Although the current policy voted on last week is more narrowly tailored, the idea that Senator Obama voted in FISA's favor frankly surprised me. Immediately, the skeptic in me jumped to the conclusion that the senator was already flip-flopping. 

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But then he did something beautiful: He responded. 

Matthew C. Scallon
July 10, 2008 at 07:05 PM
I don't know if I'd be so hard on a 70-year-old senator who doesn't use a computer, so long as he doesn't start describing the Internet as "a bunch of pipes." Now, that was embarassing for our Republic. You listed the different ways that Obama responded the outcry over his vote. You call that "beautiful," "capable," "insightful," & "visionary." I call it damage control. Then again I, like Obama, am from Chicago and have seen scores of politicians before him score the same press conferences he orchestrated. Perhaps, as a San Diegan, you haven't seen it before, but I have. Mind you, I'm not faulting him for it; I'm justing saying this is a well-worn path. So you asked the question of where to draw the line. The reality of politics, like it or not, is compromise. As I wrote in earlier comments, good compromises work when your side doesn't get what you want and the other doesn't get what they want but you both get what you need. So I'm not mad at him for voting for the bill anymore than I'd celebrate from him voting against it. He's a politician; he's just doing his job.

Andy from Greater Pittsburgh PA
July 21, 2008 at 06:56 PM
Nice writing Alma. I am already seeing both candidates maneuver in ways that are trying to reach those hard to get voters. I understand; I just don’t agree. The message(s) that brought the candidates into popularity should remain as ‘that’ message. If the message changes, then just who was this candidate to begin with? So, my line has been crossed already as I see the messages that perked my ears up is diluted with compromises this way and that to scoop up more voters. Again, understandable, but regrettable. By the way there is a very funny video on Youtube that shows John McCain taking computer lessons from John Sherer, the “video professor”. Andy