The world has turned itself upside down. Only yesterday the liberals and the left (the “progressives,” as they want to be called) regarded the CIA as the locus of evil, the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, forever poisoning gentle minds with a diet of conspiracy and tall tale.
In those gloomy days of the Cold War, where every day was seasoned with a sharp wind and a cold rain, it was the Democratic intellectuals who were forever chiding the rest of us that the Soviet Union was not so bad, the Russians just wanted to be understood and maybe deserved an occasional cuddle. It was the Republicans and other conservatives who were mindless rubes who imagined there was a mad Russian under everybody’s bed.
Now the CIA, in the liberal/left’s fevered dreams, is the last bulwark of the republic, the last remaining hope to turn the 2016 election result on its head and deprive Donald Trump of the victory he won. The Russians, it now turns out, are just as bad as the conservatives said they were.
President Obama, who mocked Mitt Romney four years ago for suggesting that Russia and Vladimir Putin was America’s No. 1 enemy, now says it was Mr. Romney who was smart and got it right four years ago. The president himself, in his telling, is the man dumber than a cypress stump.
The president, at last awake and paying attention to Russian cyber warfare, wants answers, and by noon on Jan. 20. He can then only dine out on the answers, because he won’t have any more authority to do anything about them than the cat.
Desperation pursues despair, and the Democrats are stumbling from inanity to insanity in search of a way to block Donald Trump’s path to the White House. Hilary Clinton’s remnant of a campaign has endorsed an attempt by a handful of members of the Electoral College — 9 Democrats and a rogue Republican — to get the “intelligence briefing” they think might derail next Monday’s scheduled day for the members of the Electoral College to vote for president, 306 of whom are honor bound to vote for the Donald. That’s 36 votes more than he needs.
“The bipartisan electors’ letter raises very grave issues involving our national security,” John Podesta said Monday. “Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed.
“Each day our campaign decried the interference of Russia in our campaign and its evident goal of hurting our campaign to aid Donald Trump. Despite our protestations this matter did not receive the attention it deserved by the media in our campaign. We now know that the CIA has determined Russia’s interference in our elections was for the purpose of electing Donald Trump. This should distress every American.”
What should distress every American is the way the left, the liberals, the progressives and their handmaidens in the press have discarded reasonable conversation to try out every absurd alarm, one after the other, to see whether one could stick, to undermine and undercut the results of what everyone agrees was a free and fair election on Nov. 8. None has worked. More than a month later, the republic stands.
Hysteria now threatens to become insanity. Rep. Jim Hines of Connecticut, a Democrat, says it came to him in the night, as if Marley’s ghost was rattling his chains at the bedside, “that this man is not only unqualified to be president, he’s a danger to the republic. I do think the Electoral College should choose someone other than Donald Trump to be president. That will lead to a fascinating legal issue, but I would rather have a legal issue, a complicated legal problem, than to find out the White House was now the Kremlin’s chief ally.”
Accusing a president-elect of treason, of plotting with the enemy against his country, and with no evidence at all, is something that even a congressman from Connecticut should understand is beyond the limits of rational and decent political debate. Alas, it’s par for the course on the left this season.
The sudden deep concern by President Obama and the Democrats about Russia and cyber warfare, is a bit rich. The Washington Post, which continues so deep in denial that its side lost the election that it may never find the way to the next stage of grief, hangs its survival on the conclusion of the intelligence agencies — which, to put it charitably, have a dismal record of finding out what’s going on anywhere.
A competent president and a responsible “intelligence community” would have done something about the Russians and their hackers a long time ago. Whining doesn’t work.
• Wesley Pruden is the editor in chief emeritus of The Times.