Opinion | Morgan Liddick: The Russia rap against Trump a desperate Democrat smear job
First it was racism. Then misogyny. Homophobia. Xenophobia. Stupidity. Finally, the heater: He’s a rich guy. The Democrats threw everything in the playbook at Donald Trump, and nothing worked. Then they had an epiphany: They’d call him a Russian stooge. He was already president-elect, but… maybe the argument would weaken him to a point he’d be tractable.
Think what one will about the party that made a fetish of Alger Hiss taking the role of Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon, the tale unwound. On Thursday last, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and his brother Wizards of Smart in Spyworld sat down to brief the Senate Intelligence Committee on Russian hacking in our recent presidential election. Democrats and their Republican allies waited with bated breath to hear of the treachery and treason wrought by the unholy alliance between Vlad the Terrible and our new Dark Overlord Donald Trump.
What a letdown.
Let’s get it out of the way, as Director Clapper did at the opening of his testimony: “First, we cannot say — they did not change any vote tallies or anything of that sort.” So no — the Russians did not “Hack the election,” at least in any generally-accepted sense.
What the Russians did hack — if that term even applies to accessing the emails of someone whose password was “password,” and who apparently had the habit of clicking on links with offers of money from Nigerian princes — was the motherlode of candid comments from Democrat party leaders about how they really felt about the American people they claimed to represent. About how the party worked against its own and flimflammed its membership. About how party leaders connived with the supposedly-independent press against its opponents. It was enough to make even a hardened cynic raise an eyebrow.
Was it enough to move the needle? Pressed by an apparently frustrated Senator McCain to draw clear lines between release of the stolen information and the November outcome, DNI Clapper demurred: “We have no way of gauging the impact that — certainly, the intelligence community can’t gauge the impact it had on choices the electorate made.”
Which isn’t to say that hacking should be ignored; cyber attacks are attacks, plain and simple, and they can pose deadly risks. But when Chinese hackers stole personal information from 23 million past and present government employees from the Office of Personnel Management in 2015, were there public hearings? When the Departments of State and Defense, and the White House itself were compromised by Russian hackers in 2014, was there public ballyhoo like this? No. Why ever not?
Because now we aren’t talking about the social security numbers and home addresses of government employees. Or White House working memos. Or geostrategic policies. We’re talking about a presidential election in which a rank amateur who did everything wrong whaled the whey out of the Insider Club’s favorite. There are scapegoats to be picked, excuses to be made and while we’re at it, an incoming president to cripple. The national interest be damned; there’s power to be hung onto.
The tragedy in this farce is that both the intent and the results of Russian interference are staring us in the face, and none will see them. Director Clapper mentioned, but did not dwell on them, and few in the media paid any attention thanks to the thirst for de-legitimizing dirt this inquiry has become.
First, this campaign had been ongoing for a year, long before Donald Trump became the Republican nominee. Second, the consensus was that it was meant to weaken Hillary, the Kremlin’s presumptive president — not to elect Trump, who Vlad preferred. Third, the overarching purpose of the campaign was to “undermine faith in the U.S. democratic process.” Oh, snap.
Both Democrats and Never-Trumper Republicans like Senators McCain and Lindsey Graham have two goals in investigating Russian hacking shenanigans. Superficially they want to assure that such hanky-panky ceases. But mostly they lust to wound Donald Trump, so he cannot threaten their cozy way of life.
It apparently hasn’t occurred to any of these that their actions, and the flimsy excuses in which they wrap themselves, simply advance the narrative that Vladimir Putin set out to establish: that our electoral system is corrupt and our Republic is rotten at its core. So perhaps we should revisit Director Clapper’s comment about impact. Contrary to his equivocation, Vlad’s plan seems to be working exactly as planned thanks to the useful fools in Congress and the press.
What a letdown.
Email Morgan Liddick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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