Before breaking his promise to filibuster the FISA Amendments Act by actually voting against a filibuster, then voting to pass the bill into law, Senator Barack Obama issued two statements on the matter. In those statements, Senator Obama declared:
It is not all that I would want.
This was not an easy call for me. I know that the FISA bill that passed the House is far from perfect. I wouldn’t have drafted the legislation like this…
Let’s assume Senator Obama was sincere when he made these statements. If he was sincere, then as a Senator he owes the nation complete answers to the following questions.
1. How would you have drafted the FISA Amendments Act? What are the ways in which the FISA Amendments Act, in your judgment, is far from perfect? What are the specific provisions that would be present and absent in a bill that actually is all you want?
2. As a United States Senator, what specific legislative actions do you intend to engage in to bring about the specific changes you identify as necessary?
3. As President of the United States, what specific steps would you take (including executive actions and the introduction of legislation) to bring about the specific changes you identify as necessary?
A mediocre legislator sighs, shrugs his shoulders, says that a bill gutting the 4th Amendment to the Constitution “is not all that I would want,” and then moves on.
An excellent legislator revisits the topic by authoring or coauthoring fresh legislation to rectify the law and bring it into alignment with the Constitution and with his understanding of the best interest of the nation.
A president worth his salt supports and defends the Constitution to the best of his ability, not just as much as he can get by with.