While we still have yet to learn all the facts about the Chinese observation balloon that was shot down over the coast of North Carolina last weekend, the spin of it quickly went out of the GOP’s control. Republicans love to portray Democrats as being cowardly and reluctant to fight, and sometimes this stretches to portraying them as outright disloyal to the US – being traitorous in addition to lacking patriotism. Therefore, they thought they had an opportunity to fire up their base by saying President Biden was reluctant to act on reports of the observation balloon and demanded that he shoot it down immediately with no regard for the civilians below who could have been injured as a result.
However, after riling up an angry mob for a few days, everything is now going wrong for the GOP on this non-scandal. Any derision on the scandal largely went away after the Pentagon determined it was safe enough to shoot down the balloon on Saturday after it had crossed the continental United States. Republicans tried to use the rather weak argument that it wasn’t soon enough – even though the balloon’s signaling capabilities were jammed. Shortly after, it was revealed that there were three weather balloons from China under Donald Trump’s presidency and none of them were shot down.
Now, right-wing pundits are going on the defensive about this inconvenient truth bomb – so the Biden administration is now trolling them in a rather embarrassing way – offering to brief former Trump officials about the three balloon incidents since they claim to have forgotten. Yet again, President Biden has beaten the right at their usual game of framing the issues – as he can use the story as a clear message for how his administration is not only standing up to China – but gathering significant intelligence on the country’s own military capabilities due to the wreckage retrieved.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making