I was concerned. I don't expect the politicians I support to always agree with me 100% of the time, but I kind of thought he'd be against this, the same way he had voted against the ominously named Protect America Act. So I looked for the bright spot and tried to see where he was coming from. He did, after all, say he would fight the telecomm immunity part.
Not being entirely naive, I considered that there was a political calculation in agreeing with it. And also, looking at the larger picture, I get it. I don't have to like it. A news cycle of "Senator Obama doesn't want to keep us safe" whinging from McCain, his surrogates, and the right-wing talking heads is a thoroughly depressing prospect. And also, not being entirely cynical, I had to consider that this bill does look like there is more oversight (hell, it's better than when the Bush White House was just authorizing it, and no one knew about it, and there was no oversight, right?) I got it.
Still didn't entirely like it, and a lot of other people didn't like it either. So they went to his website and told him about it.
And this is why I like him: he responded, explaining his decision in more detail. He ends with this:
I learned long ago, when working as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago, that when citizens join their voices together, they can hold their leaders accountable. I'm not exempt from that. I'm certainly not perfect, and expect to be held accountable too. I cannot promise to agree with you on every issue. But I do promise to listen to your concerns, take them seriously, and seek to earn your ongoing support to change the country. That is why we have built the largest grassroots campaign in the history of presidential politics, and that is the kind of White House that I intend to run as President of the United States -- a White House that takes the Constitution seriously, conducts the peoples' business out in the open, welcomes and listens to dissenting views, and asks you to play your part in shaping our country’s destiny.(Emphasis mine.)
Democracy cannot exist without strong differences. And going forward, some of you may decide that my FISA position is a deal breaker. That's ok. But I think it is worth pointing out that our agreement on the vast majority of issues that matter outweighs the differences we may have. After all, the choice in this election could not be clearer. Whether it is the economy, foreign policy, or the Supreme Court, my opponent has embraced the failed course of the last eight years, while I want to take this country in a new direction. Make no mistake: if John McCain is elected, the fundamental direction of this country that we love will not change. But if we come together, we have an historic opportunity to chart a new course, a better course.
So I appreciate the feedback through my.barackobama.com, and I look forward to continuing the conversation in the months and years to come. Together, we have a lot of work to do.
He gets my support.