Green Room

Why didn’t news of Petraeus’s affair leak before the election?

posted at 1:41 pm on November 12, 2012 by

Michael Tomasky wonders, specifically vis-a-vis Eric Cantor’s silence. Didn’t the GOP have an electoral incentive in exposing a scandal involving Obama’s DCIA?

Answer: No, not really. For three reasons.

1. Obama’s DCIA wasn’t just any government apparatchik. It was David Petraeus, hero of the surge and the most admired military leader of his generation. Airing his dirty laundry for dubious political advantage would have seemed tawdry and carried a significant risk of backfiring.

2. Was there any political advantage to be had by leaking it? Remember, Republicans from Mitt Romney on down were convinced that he was going to win. They were already grumbling that the hurricane might have slowed his momentum by distracting from his message in the final week. It would have made no sense in that context to throw another all-consuming distraction into the media mix, especially when there’s no strong argument that the Petraeus business would have moved any votes from D to R.

3. Tomasky being Tomasky, he finds it hard to believe that Cantor and his confidants might have put national security concerns over electoral ones. I find it less hard to believe. What if the affair leaked before Petraeus was ready to reveal it, hypothetically while the CIA was planning an operation targeting Zawahiri, and the scandal headlines threw that operation out of whack? There are way too many sensitive unknowns when it comes to wading into CIA/FBI business. It’s like bursting into a pitch-black room full of delicate china and stumbling about.

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Cantor’s incompetent?

changer1701 on November 12, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Silly question. We all know why.

thebrokenrattle on November 12, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Because it would have hurt Obama.

Washington Nearsider on November 12, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Well when you put it that way, I guess I can understand why Cantor didn’t leak it. And that 2nd reason is dead on accurate. Remember, Mitt really didn’t go after Obama on Benghazi after that 2nd debate with the now infamous Crowley interference. Whether that was because he thought he had the election in the bag or he was terrified of the media providing cover for Obama, that was the stratgery he ran with and it seems like most members of the GOP followed suit.

Doughboy on November 12, 2012 at 1:57 PM

How about the right of voters to know?

Blake on November 12, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Cantor didn’t leak it because he has no spine. Seriously when are Republicans going to fight the left the way they fight us?

We are at war people. This is not a game.

Raquel Pinkbullet on November 12, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Sounds to me as if Cantor talked with a whistle blower and he reported it to the FBI…? No?

d1carter on November 12, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Republicans are a reactionary party.

portlandon on November 12, 2012 at 2:47 PM

The media is PRAVDA and the Republican leaders are imbeciles.

profitsbeard on November 12, 2012 at 3:16 PM

ToupObamasassky…

hillsoftx on November 12, 2012 at 6:57 PM