The far left is expressing disappointment today as their attempt to turn the use of drones into a huge scandal has fizzled and died, because nobody cared.
Many members of the media immediately jumped on the Obama administration for the leak of a white paper on their usage of drones. We were told how terrible it was. We were told that the far left had it correct the whole time. Obama had unlimited power to kill Americans. The implication was that he could launch drones anytime, and even you could be next.
Even Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart hopped aboard the drone outrage bandwagon.
(The media jumped on this story because leaked documents are always news, and the week before the State of the Union is usually a news dead zone.)
The truth is that the drone outrage was nothing more than new window dressing put on the far left’s NDAA paranoia. For a segment of the left the NDAA is their Benghazi, and they were trying to use the drone story as evidence that they were right about the NDAA. The problem with the left’s outrage was that it was based on incomplete information. As soon as the White House provided the confidential details on the drone program to Congress, the story died. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress expressed a complete lack of interest in the use of drones during John Brennan’s confirmation hearing, and instead correctly focused their concern on the leak itself.
Jon Stewart even corrected his previous outrage rant on last night’s program to reflect that the White House had provided the information to Congress. (Stewart’s point about the need for more transparency is never a bad one, but it goes back to an argument nearly as old as the republic centered around balance between secrecy and transparency on issues of national security.)
The big reason why the far left’s drone scandal never caught on is that the American people support Obama’s use of drones. A February 2012 ABC News/Washington Post poll found that the use of drones was supported by an 83%-11% margin.
The drone white paper presented the country with an opportunity to discuss the consequences of unlimited expansion of executive power. When Congress gave George W. Bush a blank check for the “war on terror,” they stopped acting as a check and expanded the power of the presidency. The executive power discussion should be happening every time any element of the “war on terror” comes up for debate. However, a debate of the expansion of the executive office power will have people changing the channel and a falling asleep in seconds, so the far left opts for the empty headed hysteria of Obama’s kill list and the president’s unlimited power to kill Americans.
Discussions about how executive branch power has been expanded by the war on terror aren’t good for hit counts, and the “professional left” make their living by creating emotion and outrage. Their problem is that nobody cares about the use of drones. Maybe they should, but overwhelmingly, the vast majority of Americans don’t. The far left could have contributed something meaningful to the discussion, but instead went for the cheap thrill and put their irrelevance on full display.
America has moved on to the Nemo Blizzard, and 80%+ of America still doesn’t give a f**k about drones.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association