Controlling the Debate
June 9, 2012
Here is an example of how the Democrats and Republicans control the political debate without directly colluding.
First, the Democrats leak information about Obama that he is actually in charge of our killer drones, deciding who lives and who dies, and how he was responsible for disrupting Iran’s nuclear energy development.
Second, the Republicans complain that these “leaks” undermine national security and call for investigations of them.
Third, after appropriate and righteous denials from the president and others, Attorney General Holder promises to find out who “leaked” this information and the Republicans in the House of Representatives promise to hold hearings on these “leaks.”
Now, take note of what has transpired and what is no longer at issue. No longer is the issue whether the president has the power to kill anyone he chooses to kill or whether he should have or exercise this power. In fact, these issues are decided in the affirmative without any debate over them. They are decided in absentia as it were.
The same process was visible in the recent debate over whether our drones were killing efficiently, that is, without too much “collateral damage” in the form of the killing of children. This debate displaced any debate over the use of drones to kill other human beings and any debate over whether these killings could ever actually decide or even influence the outcome in Afghanistan or Pakistan. It is just assumed that the use of drones is legitimate, not cowardly, and that their use will influence or even decide the war in Afghanistan.
This stuff goes on all the time. Example: How do we fix Social Security? Draws our attention away from the question: How did Social Security get “broken?” Or: Who broke Social Security? Perhaps those who broke it are those who are promising to fix it and I for one think that this is madness. Sort of like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.