Wednesday, February 06, 2013


I don't know if there's a prevailing theory on how the drone memo became public, but it seems to me that the leak has actually worked in the White House's favor. Think about where the White House stands on foreign policy right now: Benghazi became a big deal in the past few months. Syria and Egypt and Mali are trouble spots, and a lot of people are finding it hard to believe that Al Qaeda is "on the run." Iran is still rattling sabers, as is North Korea. Obama's incredibly popular first secretary of state is gone. Obama's nominee for defense secretary is in trouble, accused of a multitude of sins against American foreign policy muscularity. Oh, and the sequester cuts may very well go through, with Republicans gearing up to blame the defense portion of the cuts on Obama.

But now the drone memo has leaked, and lots of people on the left are furious at the president, while, on the other side, you've got the likes of this:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will offer a resolution next week commending President Barack Obama's use of drones and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.

"Every member of Congress needs to get on board," Graham said....
"Hippie-punching" is what lefties have called Obama administration rejections of progressive ideas and insults to progressives. This seems like reverse hippie-punching: taking a foreign-policy hit from the left at just the moment when right-wingers might be starting to land a few blows that will allow them to portray the White House as weak. And to be cynical about it, why not get yourself hippie-punched on drones when (as I said in the last post) the American public approves of the drone program by a 62%-28% margin?

So no, I don't know who leaked the memo. But I know who's helped politically by the leak.


Victor said...

Thanks, Steve - makes sense.
I never looked at it that way.

But what's next?
A waterboarding leak? ;-)

PS: I'm tired of getting punched.
Doesn't it worry some people that we Liberals are probably suffering from far more traumatic head injuries, than NFL and Hockey players?

Yeah, I know - SATSQ:

aimai said...

Well, its clearly already working. I don't think it quite falls into the hippie punched category--I think its a quite deliberate Bre'r rabbit style tar baby moment. Basically the memo says "we're doing this stuff" and its stuff that the Republican party in fact likes a lot and wants to keep doing. Already TPM has a link up to a top House Republican saying that the House committees, in effect, have oversight and agree to these killings and there's nothing to see here.

If that is true--and why not--Obama now has cover for himself, his administration, and Brennan. He's basically forced the Republicans to take ownership of the program.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Interesting thought. Very.

And it only hurts him, really, with the "professional left" and some on the libertarian-ish right.

Not just most Americans but most Democrats and even most self-identified liberals support him on this, I suspect.