Monday, November 12, 2012


It's somewhat baffling that the David Petraeus scandal was kept under wraps until after the election, given this:
... the F.B.I. agent who had helped get a preliminary inquiry started, and learned of Mr. Petraeus's affair and the initial concerns about security breaches, became frustrated.... the agent alerted the office of Representative Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, the House majority leader, about the inquiry in late October. Mr. Cantor passed on the agent's concerns to Mr. Mueller.
Why didn't Cantor leak this before the election to try to embarrass President Obama?

I wonder if it's because he and his allies weren't sure that it was Obama who would be harmed the most.

If you're a Republican, I think you genuinely believe that Obama is not a patriot and doesn't really want to fight America's enemies. If he appointed Petraeus -- an American hero! -- it was to conceal his true anti-American, anti-colonialist agenda ... y'know, kind of the way his failure to impose any gun restrictions conceals his true desire to disarm America. I think, to a Republican, Petraeus didn't really count as an Obama appointee.

I think Republicans see Petraeus as their guy, even though Obama appointed him. I'll remind you, in case you forgot, that last August Matt Drudge floated a rumor that Mitt Romney might pick Petraeus as his running mate.

Now, granted, Drudge said his source was an Obama fundraiser, and, ultimately, Obama himself:
President Obama whispered to a top fundraiser this week that he believes GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney wants to name Gen. David Petraeus to the VP slot!

"The president wasn't joking," the insider explains to the DRUDGE REPORT.
But why would an Obama fundraiser leak to Drudge? It seems much more likely that this was a trial balloon from the Romney camp, which (via campaign aide Matt Rhoades) regularly leaked to Drudge.

Maybe Romney actually did consider Petraeus; maybe he didn't. Maybe Romney just wanted voters to believe he had considered Petraeus, a guy seen by a lot of people as transcending politics. Maybe he'd had a "secret meeting" with Petraeus in New Hampshire, as Drudge claimed; maybe he hadn't.

Maybe that made a Petraeus scandal seem, to Cantor, like a potential liability for the Romney ticket. Maybe Petraeus's links to the Bush administration made a Petraeus scandal seem like a potential liability for the GOP. Maybe just the fact that Petraeus had been a general made a scandal involving him seem like a potential liability for the GOP. (Democrats are all war-hating hippies, don't you know -- even the Democrat who had bin Laden killed and fires off all those drones.)

I'm not sure I'm right about this, but I can't think of a better explanation.

Sure, as Michael Tomasky says, it seems reasonable to imagine that the Republicans would "have speculated with no evidence that people don't resign over affairs anymore, and this was really all about Benghazi, and they'd have concocted some lurid fantasy of Chicago thug politics, that Obama and Axelrod were bouncing Petraeus because he was ready to blow the whistle on 'the truth' about what happened." But the sex scandal might well have drowned out the political scandal. And the leak would clearly have come from the GOP. And then it would be the GOP taking down a hero general, just to try to win an election. That wouldn't have worked out well for the Republicans.


Victor said...

Yup, Steve - I can see your scenario!

Over at C&L, they think they've spotted what might be some evidence that this is another Rove rat-f*cking operation:

I'm still waiting for Newt to call Issa and ask him to start to impeach President Obama for a BJ that Petreaus got.

ploeg said...

Yer probably overthinking this. A sex scandal would have sucked all the oxygen out of the race and distracted from the points that the Republicans wanted to make about the economy, Benghazi, etc. If the President himself wasn't involved, very few people would care about it.

BH said...

I start with the assumption that Cantor looks out for Cantor, 1st & foremost (and I bet you Boehner would privately agree) - the GOP comes 2nd, the country, meh. I think EC calculated that whatever a leak might or might not do for Mitty & the GOP as a whole, a leak could boomerang on the leaker, so why put himself at any risk at all?