Could President Obama’s drone campaign against Islamist terror networks be his undoing? Perhaps:
Quite apart from likely future blowback, Obama’s drone wars are alienating his natural supporters. He may revel in his role as Imperial dispenser of justice, ticking off names like Octavian after the Ides of March, but Terror Tuesdays have played badly with liberals. His highest profile critic is former President Carter who attacked the ‘administration’s cruel and unusual record’ and ‘top officials targeting people to be assassinated, including American citizens.’
The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen was a turning point. The militant cleric, a US citizen born in New Mexico, had condemned the 9/11 attacks but later preached jihad against the US. The administration claimed he was also involved in planning AQAP operations. In early 2010, Obama ordered his assassination, describing it as an ‘easy decision’.
Al-Alawki’s father and the American Civil Liberties Union applied for an injunction to stop the killing but in July 2010 the court ruled it had no jurisdiction over ‘matters of policy.’ Al-Alawki was killed by a Predator drone on September 30, 2011. A second strike two weeks later killed his 16-year-old son, also a US citizen.
For many former supporters Obama had crossed a line, effectively abrogating the constitutional rights to due process and habeas corpus.
As I’ve argued before, the this year’s electorate will likely look more like 2010’s than 2008’s. Yes, the big presidential election years draw more marginally-involved voters to the polls, but a lot of conservatives sat out 2008 — and won’t make that mistake again. And Obama doesn’t generate the kind of enthusiasm he once did.
On the other hand, the drone campaign remains wildly popular with most Americans, and isn’t much more than a minor sticking point, even with the vile progressive left.