June 22, 2008 · Lessig
As with many of my friends, the last couple weeks have brought decisions I would wish went the other way. Whether or not Obama can raise all the money he needs from small contributions, candidates for the House and Senate can’t. So I am worried about a decision that makes public funding for them less likely. I understand it. But I worry about it. Likewise, with the FISA compromise. Or at least, likewise in the sense that I don’t like the FISA compromise. Or at least, the telco immunity in the FISA compromise. I can’t begin to understand why in a war where soldiers go to jail for breaking the law, the US Congress is so keen to make sure telecom companies don’t have to fight a law suit about violating civil rights. Obama doesn’t support that immunity. He promises to get it removed. But he has signaled agreement with the compromise, which I assume means he will not filibuster immunity as he had indicated before he would. I wish he had decided differently.
But the key thing we need to keep in focus is what the objective here is. This is a hugely complex chess game. (Or I’m assuming it’s complex, since how else can you explain losing twice (ok once) to this President.) The objective of this chess game is to keep focus on the issues that show America why your candidate should win. Keeping focus (in this media environment, at least) is an insanely difficult task. But one tool in that game is picking the fights that resonate in ways that keep focus on the issues that show America why your candidate should win.
That doesn’t mean you (as a candidate) should change what you would do as President. Or change what you would fight for. But it does me that we (as strong supporters of a candidate) need to chill out a bit for about five months.
We (and I think that means all of us) can’t afford to lose this election. When we win, we will have elected a President who will deliver policy initiatives I remain certain will make us proud. If he doesn’t, then loud and clear opposition is our duty.
But that is then. This is now. And we need to remember now: you don’t sacrifice a pawn because you want to kill pawns.