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We wrote last post about John McCain’s electoral vulnerability. In the spirit of equal time, we cannot overlook Barack Obama’s slips, slides and stumbles in the month since he triumphed over Hillary Clinton and became his party’s presumptive candidate.
McCain’s crippled party knew what they were getting, and settled. Obama, though, raised up by the multitude of starry-eyed idealists and their grass-roots web sites and donations, has run into an on-line buzz saw as his passionate fans observe him taking positions that seem disappointingly like politics as usual.
So, they’ve struck back.
Obama’s online muscle flexes against him
Fans use his Web site to rip shifts in policy
By John McCormick | Chicago Tribune reporter | 11:48 PM CDT, July 8, 2008
The same Internet-fueled power that led to historic gains in organizing and fundraising for Sen. Barack Obama‘s presidential campaign is now providing a platform for fiery dissent in a most unlikely place: his own Web site.
Amid criticism from the left that he has eased toward the center on a number of issues in recent weeks, the presumptive Democratic nominee has angered some of his most ardent supporters while triggering something of an online mutiny. Thousands are using MyBarackObama.com to angrily organize against him because of a changed position on terrorist wiretap legislation that awaits Senate action as early as Wednesday.
The dispute has forced Obama to respond in ways never before seen in a presidential campaign, demonstrating the Internet’s growing role in the democratic process and the live-by-the-click, die-by-the-click potential it holds for politicians.
The last straw was the vote in the Senate on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which threatens the privacy of millions of innocent citizens in an attempt to expand the government’s ability to monitor suspected terrorists, and indemnify communications carriers from the legal fallout.
While Obama promised to fight against the bill during the primary season, he has changed tack, and joined 68 of his colleagues approving it today.
For many, who bought into the hope for the end to politics as usual, at least from their candidate, this is shockingly disillusioning, and many are not taking it lying down.