We start with an AP story on a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday:
Opponents of the National Security Agency's collection of hundreds of millions of Americans' phone records insist they will press ahead with their challenge to the massive surveillance program after a narrow defeat in the House.
Furious lobbying and last-minute pleas to lawmakers ensured victory for the Obama administration as the House voted 217-205 Wednesday to spare the NSA program. Unbowed, the libertarian-leaning conservatives, tea partyers and liberal Democrats who led the fight said they will try to undo a program they called an unconstitutional intrusion on civil liberties.
To continue NSA spying: 134 Republicans and 83 Democrats
To stop NSA spying: 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats
We're waiting for the suggestion from the talk-radio right that President Obama is playing a long game on this one.
The conspiracy theory might go something like this: Obama is a foe is a strong national defense and thus would like to see the NSA spying program nixed. However, knowing he couldn't do it by a frontal assault he choose an alternative route. Allow excesses in the program to go forth and wait for that news to reach the public. Once Americans - or at least a sizable number of them are sufficiently outraged - then the program will be phased out without the president's fingerprints on it.
Outrageous? Not really in a world where many Americans hold several equally silly claims about Barack Obama.