The revelations that the CIA has confirmed that the Russian Federation actively undertook measures to interfere in our elections and that congressional Republicans were aware of it the whole time should be one of the biggest stories of the decade. Instead, we find that our elected officials stood by and did nothing.
Republicans who howled and moaned that President Obama wasn’t standing up to Russia are now being exposed as hypocrites. “We need to be prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia with respect to this invasion!” complained Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) following the Russian annexation of the Crimea in 2014. “Putin has paid no price…there is just no push back!” whined Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN). But faced with the knowledge that America’s enemies interfered with our elections in order to tilt the scales in favor of Trump, we only hear silence from these false patriots.
Legendary journalist Dan Rather took to Facebook in a viral post to discuss the issue with his usual biting analysis. He calls out Republicans for their hypocrisy; for constantly wrapping themselves in the flag on every issue and then having nothing to say when the intelligence operations of a foreign dictator are caught orchestrating an elaborate pro-Trump propaganda campaign by hacking into Democratic Party servers:
Forget talking about the Trump Administration. The question now is whether this will be a Trump Putin Administration or a Putin Trump Administration.
Trump can publicly diss the findings of the CIA all he wants – itself a worrying development for a President-elect seemingly allergic to intelligence briefings. But the reality is that America’s intelligence community has found solid evidence that Russia favored electing a President Trump. Tweeting in a post-fact world doesn’t change that.
You may say, didn’t we already know this? But assessment is different from conjecture. Republican officials cannot be allowed to duck this issue. Yes some, like Lindsay Graham, are sounding the right notes on the dire need to protect our democratic institutions. We need a full and complete Congressional investigation. Damn partisan politics. Let the facts lead where they may. Let’s get to the truth, or as close to the truth as is humanly possible.
I am struck to the point of extreme disappointment by the complicit silence. Ronald Reagan is rolling over in his grave. This is Russia; a newly aggressive and assertive Russia. Yes, we The People need new thinking and fresh approaches for dealing with the Russia of today. And, yes—as my friend Professor Steve Cohen of New York University (one of the savviest experts on Russia in the English-speaking world) reminds me—demonizing the Russians and Putin can be carried to counter-productive extremes. And, yes, we have and have had all kinds of mutually beneficial dealings with other dictatorial regimes all over the world (leaders of the old Soviet Union, for example; or leaders past and present in China.) But this has to be weighed against the fact that Putin is a former KGB officer and has done things indicative of a demagogic strongman. Throw in the evidence of serious tampering with the recent U.S. Presidential election and what you have is the making of a global strategic showdown over American ideals.
The craven calculus of too many Republicans at this point seems to be that pursuing a reactionary policy portfolio that now includes gutting Medicare and Social Security is more important than the fact that a foreign power has meddled in an election decided in three states by a total vote total that, as somebody I read noted, could fit into a college football stadium.
The news on this front is now compounded by Trump’s choice for Secretary of State – Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson – who has close ties to Putin. This is on top of multiple other links to Russia from members of Trump’s inner circle.
The Founding Fathers worried about a demagogue rising to power backed by a foreign adversary. That notion seemed to diminish to the point of a quaint anachronism over the centuries as our democracy solidified and our strength as a world power grew. No longer.
Perhaps it is too strong to suggest that to countenance what Putin and Russia did in our presidential election with a shrug or a justification forfeits the right to call yourself a patriot, no matter how many flags lapel pins you own… that may be going too far. But maybe not.
He’s hit the nail right on the head. Now that the Republicans finally have the opportunity to carry out the nefarious corporatist agendas of their oligarchal overlords, they are perfectly willing to trample the flag in their rush to deprive millions of Americans of their healthcare, turn their retirement savings into casino chips for Wall Street to gamble with, and send millions into poverty and hunger by gutting the social safety net. They are despicable traitors who have long since stopped pretending to care about the well-being of the constituents they ostensibly represent.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.