Tuesday, August 6, 2019

It's Time for #Russiagate to End

Scientists say that Democrats have just 10 more months to talk about Russian collusion until they reach a tipping point where the damage becomes irreversible.

In a special televised event that felt longer than Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and 2, special counsel Robert Mueller drove what should have been the last nail into the coffin of the Democrat Party’s token conspiracy theory, #Russiagate. Wearing an expression that many interpreted as bewilderment but that could just as easily pass for boredom or impertinence, Mueller dodged questions from the House and Senate Judiciary committee for close to five hours on the findings of his novel-length report on “Trump, Russia, possible collusion”. Like many a potboiler, the Mueller report gives a bad name to airport reading, flying past by virtue of its titillating peeks behind the Washingtonian curtain, but leaving no lasting impression on the reader or even on the person who oversaw it.

It has been two years and eight months since the Democrats legitimately forfeited the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump. Not only did they choose to run a campaign based primarily on guilt trips and character assassination, but they also nominated the single least likeable, relatable, and confidence-inspiring career politician in their roster to go against a man who essentially signified a repudiation of “the swamp”. Instead of facing this glaring tactical misstep head-on and working to ensure it never happens again, Democrats thought leaders and talking heads have refused to accept culpability for their failure and obstinately chalked the outcome up to foreign actors, who they say leaked embarrassing e-mails, planted anti-Clinton memes on Facebook, and proliferated “fake news”, all somehow in concert with Donald Trump.

Disregarding that it’s not a crime to make, share, or be influenced by memes or fakenews (unless one could credibly paint such content as libel) and the odd incrimination of whistleblowers for damning comments in e-mails written by Clinton associates, the Democrats’ case for impeachment on collusion grounds has rested on the tenet that more voices, and more information at voters’ disposal, somehow weakens “democracy”. It doesn’t matter if disenfranchised Russian meme lords and click farms didn’t have a measurable, testable impact on voting turnout. By the very act of exercising their natural right to free speech and providing commentary on the U.S. presidential race, these sinister foreigners could participate in the election by proxy, hacking it by hacking into the very minds of citizens who did have a vote.

Russiagate proves once again that the Democrat Party is an oxymoron, privately holding more in common with the republican Founding Fathers than it cares to admit. Their theory is manifestly predicated on the vain belief that too much democracy can consume and defeat itself. A well-maintained democracy, they aver, should have a central, authoritative source of news/propaganda, skepticism of outsiders, and stringent regulation of the ideas that the governed are allowed to bandy about. Sometimes ostracism is necessary for the health of this democracy. If a certain group gets too loud and gains too much influence over the democratic process, it becomes the duty of a responsible, totally impartial department to step in and mediate how much free speech said group has, in fairness to the other members of the “democracy” whose ideas aren’t as persuasive.

With the Mueller subpoena, the Democrat Party’s leadership has reached levels of intellectual slothfulness that shouldn’t be possible. I had thought that they couldn’t get more lazy after their pathetic response to Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Russia investigation. Rather than rebutting Barr’s interpretation of the document—that it contained insufficient evidence for any further indictments of the Trump campaign—with relevant excerpts and evidentiary proofs, the House Judiciary Democrats courageously voted to hold Barr in contempt, pinning the onus on the attorney general, who works for the president, to indict the president for the conspiracy that they, via an opposition researcher for the Clinton campaign, made up. You see, it’s really Donald Trump’s fault that the Democrat House majority lacks the information and the temerity to impeach Donald Trump, let alone to come up with and present to voters compelling proof of “collusion” (not a legally actionable offense) and “obstruction”.

I’ve heard the argument from certain Republican thinkers, e.g. David French, that Trump could and well deserves to be impeached if he is found guilty of “process crime” by impeding the Mueller investigation. I find myself much more aligned with Mark Steyn, who writes, “Philosophically speaking, it is an interesting question whether one can obstruct justice in a matter for which there is no underlying crime.” Even if one supposes that Trump did drag his feet and propose sacking investigators during their laughably protracted pursuit of “justice”, the investigation wasn’t principally about obstruction but about whether a foreign government worked to “undermine our democracy” … whatever that means.

On the issue of obstruction, Trump has taken fire not for shielding a murderer or sexual abuser but for raining verbal scorn and talk of pink slips on establishment elites, who were grossly overpaid by taxpayers to pin the election not on Trump’s strategy but on Russian meme lords manipulating the idiocracy of America. He as may well be prosecuted for obstructing hurricane prevention, obstructing anti-fascism, or obstructing any other urban mythology. Democrats can talk about obstruction if they really want to die on the hill of stuff that doesn’t matter, but anyone who cherishes liberty should decry how casually impeachers shift the goalposts of their witch hunts, from orchestrated treason to process crime, or from gang rape to “bad temperament” and legal alcohol consumption.

Reluctant to articulate the obstruction argument themselves and hazard their own credibility in the process, the Democrats peevishly passed the Deep State baton of resistance from Barr to Mueller. Assuming that the average American voter who works 40 hours a week would have no interest in reading a bloated report on how Russia and Trump did not hack the election, the Democrats schemed to adapt the report into a theatrical production, built for digestible home entertainment. Mueller, much to the chagrin of the party’s lackeys at CNN, showed little interest in playing along with their affected hysteria, stumping most of his sycophantic questioners with a thoroughly non-cinematic “Not my purview” or “I cannot speculate.”

Not even this setback, however, could banish the shambling ghost of Russiagate. As recently as last week’s presidential debates, the party was still evaluating whether slapping Trump with impeachment would be preferable to defeating him at the ballot box. The central theme of the CNN debates seemed to be that a right-wing media (meaning, yes, Don “White Men Are The Biggest Terror Threat” Lemon) are sowing petty infighting between Democrats when a foreign subversive or serial phobe-ist is occupying the White House. Never mind that the candidates had shown up to a primary debate, the very purpose of which is to magnify the annoyingly minute differences of opinion between Democrat voters’ options.

In both debates so far and in statements outside, the Democrats have mostly ignored the competition standing right beside them to bask in Trump Derangement Syndrome, earnestly calling for impeachment on collusion or obstruction grounds. The rigor with which Warren, O’Rourke, Buttigieg, Harris, and Booker have clamored for the I-word is what makes the policy side of the debates so unforgivably boring. We’re more than halfway through the year before an election, and no layman who’s tuning into the debates can understand what separates one candidate’s “free” health care plan from the rest, let alone how the country can afford a college entitlement or how decriminalizing illegal border crossings is supposed to work.

What would have happened if mainline Republicans had continued to press Obama on his birth certificate instead of hammering him on the numerous promises he and his party failed to deliver with two years of absolute, unimpeded power? We may get a simulation of just such a strategy in 2020. It’s kind of miraculous that the Democrat Party of today has refrained so long from making a move on Russian collusion. In 2010, hundreds of representatives declined to read yet voted for 10,000 pages of regulations with systemic, life-altering ramifications on all Americans. In 2019, senior Democrats are too politically petrified to act on an 448-page smear document with ramifications on zero Americans.

As Emerson says, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. If Nancy Pelosi’s contingent of Dems have any waning common sense whatsoever, they’ll realize along with her that it’s time to let Russiagate die. Kill it, if they have to.

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