Now, thanks to Democrats’ ineptitude, there are claims that Russia “hacked” the presidential election, however one is supposed to be able to hack paper ballots and voting machines that aren’t on the Internet.
Which Andrew C. McCarthy observes …
I feel entitled to be amused, having maintained, through a decade of bipartisan idiocy, that Putin’s thug-ocracy is an enemy of the United States: from the Bush-administration howler that Russia is our “strategic partner,” through eight years of the Obama-Hillary “reset”; from Obama’s mumbling as Putin annexed Crimea and other swathes of Ukraine (after Obama, as a senator, joined with senior Republicans to disarm Ukraine), through Bush’s mumbling as Putin annexed swathes of Georgia. I saw Russia as a major problem long before it began violating the “new START” treaty that Obama signed and Republicans approved; before Secretary Clinton helped Putin cronies acquire a major slice of American uranium stock; and before Obama’s promise to Vlad (communicated through Putin-puppet Medvedev) that he’d have “more flexibility” to cut deals after the 2012 election.
Suffice it to say that if the American political class is suddenly worried about Russian aggression, deceit, cyber-espionage, and collaboration with Iran (in order to — get this! — fight terrorism), I welcome it to the club. And if the gray beards are fretting over Donald Trump’s potential coziness with our enemies, that’s good to hear . . . although it would have been nice to have a fraction of that fretting when it came to the Obama-Clinton operational coziness with our enemies.
All that said, the Democrats’ Chicken Little routine can’t be serious, nor is the chattering class that pretends to take it seriously.
To begin with, it would be shocking if the Russians had not attempted to meddle in our election. Historically, they’ve done it countless times (I assume, every time). That’s what hostiles do, they make mischief when and where they can. Democrats, moreover, conveniently forget that they’ve historically welcomed such mischief-making — such as when Jimmy Carter pleaded with Leonid Brezhnev for Soviet help in the futile effort to defeat Ronald Reagan in 1980 and when Ted Kennedy pleaded with Yuri Andropov for Soviet help in the futile effort to defeat Reagan in 1984.
If the American intelligence community (IC), after considered chin stroking, had concluded that there had been no Russian attempts to meddle in the presidential election, I imagine most taxpayers would say we want our $50 billion per annum back — a reaction that may be warranted in any event given the IC’s propensity to politicize its reports and to miss major developments from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, and from the rise of jihadist Iran to the collapse of the Soviet Union. …
In point of fact, though, they don’t even have proof that pins hacking on Putin’s regime. The main heavy breathing comes from the Washington Post. If you invest the time it takes to read through the first 26 paragraphs of its explosive report, you are finally told that the Post’s sources — anonymous “intelligence officials” — admit that the “actors” who came into possession of hacked files are “‘one step’ removed from the Russian government.” They may have “affiliations” to Russian intelligence services, but what exactly that means the sources can’t say. No wonder that the FBI, which is expected to be able to prove the allegations it makes, disagrees with the Post’s unidentified leakers. No wonder that other intelligence sources tell the Wall Street Journal’s editors that the leakers’ evidence is “thin.” (Since this column was written, the New York Times has published a lengthy report to undergird the “Russia Hacked the Election” narrative; I had a brief reaction to it on the Corner this morning.) …
It is worth remembering that in March 2014, when 50,000 Russian troops were marshaled on the Ukrainian border (shortly after Putin had annexed Crimea, and six years after he took parts of Georgia), Obama-administration officials told the Wall Street Journal, “What matters is [Putin’s] intent, and we don’t have a sense of that.” Now, however, despite a comparative dearth of evidence, the CIA suddenly has ESP. Based on what? Evidently, the Post’s anonymous leakers are inferring a Russian rooting interest from the appearance — they can’t say it’s a fact — that greater effort was made to hack the Democrats than the Republicans.
This claim belongs in the Chutzpah Hall of Fame.
Remember how bonkers the Democrat-media complex went toward the end of the campaign when Trump said the election was “rigged”? The media immediately demanded hard proof that the voting process was corrupted — that there had been tampering of the polling machines or a flood of ineligible voters casting ballots. Unable to produce such probative evidence, Trump moved the goal post: What he’d meant by “rigged,” his camp now said, was not really vote fraud but blatantly biased news coverage — Trump’s indiscretions were magnified while Hillary’s were barely covered.
This prompted great Democrat-media ridicule: Trump had to climb down, they scoffed, because he’d made an absurd “rigging the election” allegation that he couldn’t back up. It was said that Trump was reduced to squawking about one-sided coverage because he couldn’t show that what the press was reporting about him was untrue.
Well what have we here? …
At most, what happened here is: The Russians did to Democrats exactly what the media does to Republicans — they subjected one side to intense scrutiny while giving the other side a pass.
As we saw with Trump, when Republicans complain about one-sided coverage, the usual media retort is to ask whether anything that has been reported about them is untrue. With the shoe now on the other foot, though, Democrats duck this question. Why? Because they know the hacked e-mails are authentic — Debbie Wasserman Shultz really did skew the nomination process to help Clinton stave off Bernie Sanders; Donna Brazile really did leak the debate questions to the Clinton camp; the Democrats really do look at journalists as members of the team; top Clinton aides really did mock Catholics; Clinton advisers really did worry about Obama’s e-mails to Clinton’s private account — and about the fact that the president was lying when he claimed to have learned about Clinton’s use of private e-mail through news reports. Clinton and her top staffers really did stonewall the public on her private e-mails because “they wanted to get away with it.”
This is all interesting, because of what The Federalist writes about a celebrated Democrat:
Earlier this week, 47 Republican senators published an open letter informing the leaders of Iran that any nuclear deal with the United States that failed to be approved by the Senate would likely expire in 2017, once President Barack Obama’s term ended. You can read the full letter here.
The letter enraged progressives, who immediately began accusing the senators of treason for having the audacity to publish basic constitutional facts about how treaties work. …
If these progressives want to know what actual treason looks like, they should consult liberal lion Ted Kennedy, who not only allegedly sent secret messages to the Soviets in the midst of the cold war, he also begged them to intervene in a U.S. presidential election in order to unseat President Ronald Reagan. That’s no exaggeration.
According to Soviet documents unearthed in the early 1990’s, Kennedy literally asked the Soviets, avowed enemies of the U.S., to intervene on behalf of the Democratic party in the 1984 elections. Kennedy’s communist communique was so secret that it was not discovered until 1991, eight years after Kennedy had initiated his Soviet gambit:
Picking his way through the Soviet archives that Boris Yeltsin had just thrown open, in 1991 Tim Sebastian, a reporter for the London Times, came across an arresting memorandum. Composed in 1983 by Victor Chebrikov, the top man at the KGB, the memorandum was addressed to Yuri Andropov, the top man in the entire USSR. The subject: Sen. Edward Kennedy.
“On 9-10 May of this year,” the May 14 memorandum explained, “Sen. Edward Kennedy’s close friend and trusted confidant [John] Tunney was in Moscow.” (Tunney was Kennedy’s law school roommate and a former Democratic senator from California.) “The senator charged Tunney to convey the following message, through confidential contacts, to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Y. Andropov.”
Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. “The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. “These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.”
Kennedy made Andropov a couple of specific offers.
First he offered to visit Moscow. “The main purpose of the meeting, according to the senator, would be to arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA.” Kennedy would help the Soviets deal with Reagan by telling them how to brush up their propaganda.
Then he offered to make it possible for Andropov to sit down for a few interviews on American television. “A direct appeal … to the American people will, without a doubt, attract a great deal of attention and interest in the country. … If the proposal is recognized as worthy, then Kennedy and his friends will bring about suitable steps to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews. … The senator underlined the importance that this initiative should be seen as coming from the American side.”
Kennedy would make certain the networks gave Andropov air time–and that they rigged the arrangement to look like honest journalism.
You can read the full KGB memo detailing Kennedy’s secret letter and request for electoral intervention here.
I suspect Kennedy’s explanation for this, had this been exposed in 1984, would have been as clear as his explanation for Chappaquiddick.
Of course, Kennedy was only following in the footsteps of the man he failed to beat for the Democratic nomination in 1980, Jimmy Carter, as Steven F. Hayward wrote:
The industrialist billionaire Armand Hammer, whose longtime good relations with leaders of the Kremlin going back to Lenin were a source of deep suspicion in the American intelligence community, approached Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin on Carter’s behalf in early October. Hammer suggested that a Soviet move to ease Jewish emigration would help Carter’s election prospects. Hammer allegedly assured Dobrynin, “Carter won’t forget that service if he is reelected.” Moscow, fed up with Carter, did not respond. Then, two weeks before the election, National Security Advisor Brzezinski tried again with Dobrynin, dangling the promise of several key concessions to the Soviets on Afghanistan, arms control, and Central America — concessions they would never get from Reagan — if Carter was reelected. … Dobrynin concluded, “his message was clear: Moscow should not do anything to diminish Carter’s chances in the election race and might even help a bit.”