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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Stories to Watch: 5/23/12

Drone aircraft
Ed Kilgore writes, "The president’s speech today at the National Defense University on counter-terrorism policy (advance-billed as a 'drone policy' speech or a 'Gitmo' speech by many) was a much more wide-reaching and complex address than most observers, friendly or hostile, seem to have expected. And that is why a lot of the media coverage you’ll soon see will focus on one or another narrow 'news' item while ignoring the bigger picture."

It strikes me that this sort of thing is where Pres. Obama gets in trouble. The well-worn rule of KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) often seems to be lost on him -- perhaps because of his background in higher ed.. He makes these broad and wide-ranging policy speeches, which allows critics to cherrypick what they want the speech to be about. In this case, it may be drone policy and the targeting of Americans, it may be a formal announcement of the end of Bush's Global War on Terror (as Kilgore himself sees it), or it may -- and will -- be seen as a distraction from the super-serious "scandals" going on in DC (although the exact opposite would be truer -- the scandal-mongering is a distraction from important policy decisions). In any case, by not sticking to one narrow subject, the President just made a speech that's about whatever his critics want it to be about. And that's a mistake.
Reuters has pretty good summary of the speech. Steve Benen calls it "arguably a key moment in marking a possible end of the 9/11 era." Benen's is also a very instructive take.

Lindsey Graham's not taking "The War on Terror's over. We won." very well at all. He has to have his little neocon tantrum.

The IRS' Lois Lerner is put on administrative leave.

A new poll shows that gun control will probably become a significant wedge in the 2014 senate elections. A Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that 67% say they believe the senate "did the wrong thing" in blocking expanded background check legislation and that 55% say they "would not vote for a candidate who voted against background checks even if they agreed with the candidate on other issues." I've said it before and it's becoming more and more obvious that I'm right; Republicans can't survive many more of these "victories" over majority opinion.

Finally, RIP local Madison rock musician Phil Buerstatte -- one of the few, one of the blood brothers.

[photo via Dept. of Defense]

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