Says Meade, just now. (Note to Althouse blog outsiders: Meade is my husband. He doesn't blog. He's a commenter. Sometimes he comments in the comments here, sometimes over at Isthmus, and sometimes not on the Internet at all, but on what we call the Neighborhoodnet, at least in the summer, when the windows are open and voices carry.)
We've been speculating about Obama's possible complicity in leaking the NSA story. To participate in this conspiracy theorizing — come on, you know you want to — you need to come up with reasons why Obama and his people would see a benefit to his political interests in releasing this story. We know that in the post-Benghazi period, the administration has dropped scandals on top of scandals. The IRS scandal was dumped on top of Benghazi, distractingly.
But letting out a national security secret? That's something that should never have come out, as opposed to something that was going to come out eventually (where the decision would be when — not whether — to let it out).
But the NSA program is also different in that — unlike Benghazi, IRS, etc. — it wasn't a screwup. It was quite intentional, and it's something they can and will defend. We're not going to hear the usual statements about doing a thorough investigation into how something like that could have happened and the need, going forward, to insure that it never happens again. It's an opportunity to talk about competence. This scandal/"scandal" requires us to focus on the most serious duty of government — national security — and a program that is carefully planned and implemented and (apparently) completely legal.
Now, libertarians and lefties are enraged, and we've been hearing a lot from them in the last few days. Consider whether this is just what Obama wants. Get Rand Paul over there with Glenn Greenwald and his crowd. Let them blow off steam. Meanwhile, the moderates, including many moderate conservatives, are gravitating toward Obama. The left and right extreme are peeling off together, going to their happy place where the fear of foreign terrorists goes numb when Our Own Government threatens Our Liberty.
But the vast middle is coalescing... around Obama... just as planned.