The Washington Post

Who does Obama listen to? Drones for all? Money in 2012 and more [AM Briefing]

AEI’s Michael Barone says Obama doesn’t listen to Republican leadership or Democratic leadership, but he does listen to rich liberals: “He recently attended his 150th fundraiser. That’s more than the number attended by the last four presidents put together.” (National Review)

“One of the most misleading ideas in commentary on modern weapons and warfare is that of the karmic theory of new weapons technology, particularly with regard to drones. Despite the many legitimate concerns about the legality, morality, and efficacy of targeted killing programs, commentators and analysts all too often engage in threatmongering about unmanned systems proliferation. We see it most often in articles like this one by Michael Ignatieff, or this by Steve Clemons asking ominous questions such as “What Happens When They Get Drones?” Adam has noted similar veins of commentary about cyberweapons. These arguments are doubly aggravating because they misunderstand both the nature of the platforms they discuss and the logic of strategic behavior in international relations, leading to a conclusion that cannot distinguish blowback or proliferation from karma, replacing what should be a debate centered on policy and empirical assessment with prophecy centered on instruments and unrealistic hypotheticals.” writes CNAS’ Andrew Exum. (CNAS)

Richwine and Biggs on the public sector “doing fine.” (National Review)

Politico’s Arena asks: Is SuperPAC influence overblown? Brookings’ Darrell West answers. So does CEPR’s Dean Baker.

“For those who believe money already has too much power in U.S. politics, 2012 will be a miserable year. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, lassitude at the Federal Election Commission and the growing audacity of very rich conservatives have created a new political system that will make the politics of the Gilded Age look like a clean government paradise,” writes Brookings’ E.J. Dionne. (Washington Post)

Room for Debate asks: Did Any good come of Watergate? (New York Times)

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He freelances and hosts a podcast at and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.


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