Why didn’t news of Petraeus’s affair leak before the election?
posted at 1:41 pm on November 12, 2012 by Allahpundit
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.