The issue put Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in a particularly precarious spot. After long opposing the idea of immunity for the phone companies in the wiretapping operation, he voted for the plan on Wednesday. His reversal last month angered many of his most ardent supporters, who organized an unsuccessful drive to get him to reverse his position once again. And it came to symbolize what civil liberties advocates saw as "capitulation" by Democratic leaders to political pressure from the White House in an election year.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who was Mr. Obama's rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted against the bill.
It's interesting to consider how Clinton would have voted were she the nominee, and there's no way to know now. Why did she vote properly this time? She doesn't have a strong incentive to vote either way this time. She's going to be a very powerful Senator going forward with a substantial PAC and web operation regardless. I wonder why she did this. It's possible she voted this way to embarrass Obama, though it's more likely she just believes that this is a bad bill. Maybe it's heralding a new Clinton who is less cautious and more willing to fight for liberal principles.
Eh, I don't know, but kudos to Clinton. It's ironic so far I suppose that Clinton is of late a more reliable ally than Obama, at least on this issue.