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An Excellent Question (The New Love for Assange)

Julian AssangeEmily Tamkin’s Foreign Policy post asks:  Um, Since When Does the Right Wing Like Julian Assange?

This is an excellent question. The simple answer appears to be that for the president-elect whomever agrees with him is, by definition, correct and worthy of boosting.  This is, to put it mildly, a troubling characteristic for a president to have.  The answer for others (such as Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin) seems to be that they are sycophants who clearly want to kiss-up to the incoming president (and, as a bonus, want to keep attacking Hillary Clinton).

Writes Tamkin:

Trump has a long history of favoring those when they favor him.

[…]

Assange is personally vindicating Trump (and, in a way, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, who believes Americans should listen to Assange).

[…]

Why would Hannity and Palin — individuals who have branded themselves as strongly believing in a certain vision and version of America — start promoting and championing someone who has, according to them, threatened American security?

Because their beliefs are not what matters most to them. Their belonging is.

“American partisan identity formation is the most powerful force in the universe,” Max Fisher, a writer and editor at the New York Times offered on Twitter, linking to the Palin post.

We are going to see a lot of interesting displays of partisanship in the coming years as some conservatives (both in government and in the media) will have to makes choices between ideology/philosophy and partisan loyalty.  Note that I am not saying only Republicans are partisan but, rather, that the Republican Party has created for itself a sort of experiment insofar as they have elected a president who deviates in many ways from the prevailing ideology of the party.  If ideology is what truly motivates actors, then there will be rifts in the party.  But, those actors primarily motivated by partisan identity will change (or ignore) previously held beliefs to adapt to Trump and the partisan power that emanates from the presidency.

The current love-fest for Julian Assange is quite bizarre to behold.  We have the president-elect of the US taking Assange’s word over the analysis if the FBI and CIA (and, really, based on what?  Assange’s public declarations?).  Then we have Sean Hannity treating him like a hero on his show and Sarah Palin took to Facebook this week to apologize to Assange. From the NYT piece on this story:

In 2010, Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and Republican vice-presidential candidate, called Mr. Assange “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands” and asked why he was not “pursued with the same urgency we pursue Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.” Her ire was all the greater because WikiLeaks had published her hacked emails.

But after hearing Mr. Assange’s latest Fox appearance, she wrote on Facebook, “Julian, I apologize,” and urged her fans to watch the interview.

Assange is, it should be remembered, currently a fugitive taking refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London.  He is wanted on charges of sexual assault and rape by the Swedish government and his Wikileaks site published classified documents stolen by Bradley Manning.  The US government has, in the past, considered charges against Assange for his publication of the Manning documents (although such a prosecution is unlikely).   It cannot be dismissed that the Ecuadoran government, and its President Rafeal Correa, is to stick a finger in the US’s eye.  As the NYT noted in a 2012 op-ed: “it is an attempt by Mr. Correa to settle old scores with the United States.”

Still, what we have here is the President-elect of the United States siding with a fugitive and someone who has sought to do damage to the US government.  As another Foreign Policy piece noted in August of 2012:

Since 2010, however, it has been pretty hard to make the case that WikiLeaks is a neutral transmission system. Nearly all its major operations have targeted the U.S. government or American corporations. When WikiLeaks released U.S. government cables, its stated purpose was to reveal “the contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors.”

[…]

The U.S. government might always have viewed Assange as a threat, but more Americans might have been willing to hear him out if he weren’t so easy to paint as a purely anti-American figure. Even Americans who are highly critical of their government’s foreign policy have a hard time getting on board with a man who promises to hasten “the total annihilation of the current U.S. regime.”

Assange could have combated the charge of double standards by leaking some material about a government hostile to the United States, such as China or Russia. In October 2010, he promised in an interview with the Russian paper Izvestia, “We have [compromising materials] about Russia, about your government and businessmen…. But not as much as we’d like…. We will publish these materials soon…. We are helped by the Americans, who pass on a lot of material about Russia.” But “Kremlingate” has never materialized, which suggests either that it wasn’t a major priority for WikiLeaks or that Assange was bluffing.

Regardless of what one thinks about the charges against Assange or what views one has of the information that has been published at Wikileaks, this is not the type of person that we should expect the President to extol.  And it is also damning of Hannity and Palin, supposedly of the uber-patriotic set, to so easily treat the man as a hero because they find such praise to be of partisan value.  I am not a big fan of counter-factuals, but if Obama had sided with Assanage against the CIA, one can readily imagine the charges of treason and calls for impeachment from Hannity and Palin.

And please note:  I do not have a problem with some healthy, informed (and that word is key) skepticism about US intelligence.  I also think that the hacking issue has risen to the level of hysteria in some quarters and that it needs to be dialed back a bit (although I think it deserves ongoing attention).  But I fear what we are seeing here is yet even more evidence that Trump will be a dangerous president who will act capriciously and irresponsibly, and who will value having his ego stroked over pursuing the national interests of the United States. Further, there will be plenty of sycophants out there who will gladly jettison previously held positions to try and get in Trump’s good graces (or, at a minimum, to profit off his supporters).

In conclusion, I would note that we here at OTB have noted Sarah Palin’s vacuity for years, and some readers often rebelled against those critiques. However, I would argue her actions in this case underscore that our critiques were fully warranted.

 

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. MBunge says:

    Uh…did you forget to include in your hypocrisy parade all the liberals who proclaimed Wikileaks the bestest thing ever and lectured others on how “information wants to be free” that now argue the Presidential election was stolen because the voters were exposed to, by all indications, completely accurate and honest information about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party?

    Anyone surprised at Hannity’s cravenness should immediately contact me because I have this bridge in New York City I’d like to sell them, but this kind of data terrorism didn’t just become a problem in 2016.

    Mike

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 46

  2. bill says:

    emily could have said “since when does the left ignore assange”? was he correct years ago but not now? is he embarrassing the msm by doing what “investigative journalists” used to do (when it fit their mantra)?
    a similar figure would be cindy sheehan- the msm loved her when she camped outside of “w’s” spread near waco and railed on about the “illegal iraq war” and such (although most democrats voted in favor of it- rarely mentioned). fast forward to her protesting at obama’s vacation and she’s ignored…..yes, that happened.
    the enemy of my enemy…….

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 26

  3. al-Alameda says:

    To me, the love for Julian Assange is a direct result of the fact that Assange only leaked information concerning Trump’s political opposition. It is both interesting and very revealing that Assange leaked no information damaging to the Republican campaign, clearly he wanted specifically to damage the Democratic Party, and Trump is, by his recent statements, very appreciative of Julian’s efforts to support the Trump campaign.

    It is not an accident that Trump wants to squash any investigation into the effect of the actions of Assange and Putin on our election process – it potentially calls into more question the legitimacy of this minority-elect president.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 3

  4. SenyorDave says:

    Will Trump give a posthumous pardon to the Rosenbergs? How about Aldridge Ames? The love fest of Assange is surreal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  5. michael reynolds says:

    1) I have been opposed to Assange – an accused rapist – from the start. I have never believed in Wikileaks. Nor have I bought the ‘information wants to be free,’ nonsense, because I understand a bit of how statecraft works, and the net result of this kind of hacking is the weakening of American diplomacy.

    2) This was not the Pentagon Papers, this was a deliberate, malicious attempt to destroy Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump. Trump is president because of Putin. That’s reality. Not solely because of Putin, but significantly because of Putin.

    3) Trump’s statements and actions since make it increasingly clear that he is not merely the accidental beneficiary of Russia’s hostile acts, but is determined to magnify Russian influence over the US government. In short, Trump is acting like a traitor. If he doesn’t want to be thought a traitor, he needs to face facts and stop lying.

    4) Trump apologists on this are really beneath contempt. If this were Obama you’d be screaming for impeachment and imprisonment. But you are perfectly willing to have a hostile foreign power illegally influence our electoral process, so long as you like the results. Simply disgusting, un-patriotic, and un-American.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 66 Thumb down 5

  6. CSK says:

    “The simple answer appears to be that for the president-elect, whoever agrees with him is, by definition, correct and worthy of boosting.” — Steven Taylor

    This, in a nutshell, is it. The simple answer is very often the correct one.

    The truly frightening aspect of the whole matter, to me, is that there are legions of hardcore Trumpkins who believe not only that Trump is always right, but that any contradiction of one of his positions, no matter how well-reasoned and how well-substantiated, is a malicious lie or, in the currently popular locution, “fake news.”

    And, speaking of the comparison of Trump to Palin, Trump is Palin, or certainly an even louder, crazier, and nastier iteration of her.

    Palin’s cultists were balked of their savior once before. They’re not going to let it happen again.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  7. @CSK: Actually, I think that Trump is a worse version of Palin–the next level of devolution.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 2

  8. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I agree; I just referred to Trump as a “louder, crazier, nastier iteration of her.” And here’s what’s worse: As abysmally ignorant of foreign and domestic policy as she is, he’s even more so.

    So Trump is Palin on steroids, God help us.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  9. Franklin says:

    MBunge and bill are close to making a point here, but I think it falters. Even on the left, the actions of Assange and Snowden are pretty controversial – we’ve had that debate here at OTB multiple times. Furthermore, while their defenders often hail the revelations in the released data and the resulting increase in transparency, I haven’t seen anybody ever say those guys are particularly trustworthy.

    That’s the difference in levels of hypocrisy here – the right has been pretty consistent in lambasting both the leaks and the characters involved. Now they love them both.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  10. @Franklin: There is always a lot of hypocrisy to identify in politics (and it is especially easy if one speaks vaguely, e.g., “the left.”).

    The problem here for our commenting friends is that they are comparing vague accusations (and yes, I agree, some “on the left” praised Assange) with specifics (Trump, Palin, Hannity)–and the first in that list is president-elect, which makes him far more important than a gaggle of left-wing pundits.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

  11. And, of course, Palin was the GOP veep nominee not that long ago. So, this is more than some random rightist being identified.

    If one wishes to dismiss Hannity, be my guest.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  12. Just nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @MBunge: Mr. Bunge,

    You’re going to need to be careful about claiming to have bridges to sell anywhere unless you are the agent for Trump’s infrastructure improvement program–coming to a Congress near you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  13. Franklin says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Good point about the relative standing of certain politicians here. Barack Obama (you might recognize the name as a significant leader on the left) has never ever been a fan of Assange or Snowden. And I believe his recent complaints about the Wikileaks maintain that consistency.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  14. Neil Hudelson says:

    @MBunge:

    all the liberals who proclaimed Wikileaks the bestest thing ever and lectured others on how “information wants to be free” that now argue the Presidential election was stolen because the voters were exposed to, by all indications, completely accurate and honest information about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party?

    I know of many people who may have ticked off one of the categories you list, but I’m hard pressed to think of anyone who ticks off all three.

    Can you provide a list?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  15. Moosebreath says:

    This strikes me as yet another example of Cleek’s Law, “Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.”

    In conservative eyes, since Assange is opposing what liberals want, he must be correct.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  16. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    I don’t think the phenomenon is particularly new (nor am I saying that you believe or said it was). I’ve been watching partisanship trump ideology and reason for roughly 30 or 40 years–even longer if I note that among the ‘Baptists with whom I grew up, cancer was considered a punishment from God for sins until their friends and loved ones started contracting it and that there was no particular opposition to abortion among the conservatives I grew up with until Rowe v. Wade in 1973–a decision which, ironically enough, set aside the liberalized abortion law that Washington State passed in 1970 by referendum to the people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  17. @Franklin: Indeed. Apart from any consideration of ideology, one would expect a POTUS to be in opposition to something like Wikileaks, and yet…

    (This is, above all else, what makes this situation so strange).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But that’s the point. Trump has,. literally, no idea of how a president is supposed to act, or what he or she should do in the best interests of the country.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  19. @CSK: Yup.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  20. SenyorDave says:

    One question is of the people who have “switched” from negative to positive opinions on Assange (and Putin) , how many are doing it for pure expediency, and how many are doing it because they actually now believe it (like some version of 1984, as in “we have always been at war with Eastasia”). It just seems hard to believe that so many Republicans now have a favorable opinion of Assange and Putin (although Putin is an authoritarian ruler who has solved that pesky bad press problem by murdering journalists, and that probably helps him with a lot of the GOP).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  21. Pch101 says:

    Republican identity revolves primarily around hating American liberals. The details don’t really matter.

    Some liberals wrongly presume that the logical inconsistencies of those details should undermine the right. A position that is anchored by irrationality will not be swayed when its irrationality is exposed, as the position was never driven by and will never be driven by facts: The right wingnuts address this with their own Big Lie media machine that tells them what they want to hear.

    On the plus side, the incoming president-not-quite-elect should be pleased to know that domestic production at Bunge’s strawman factory can be expected to skyrocket. (Its production capacity appears to be infinite, although it does little aside from bolstering aspirin sales.)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

  22. Hal_10000 says:

    Yeah, it’s bizarre. I’ve always had mixed feelings about Wikileaks (and always disliked Assange). He has never had our interests at heart. And I frankly think he’s lying abotu the lack of Russian involvement. Even what is openly known points to at least *some* degree of culpability.

    Note that the next four years will also be an experiment to see how well the Left clings to ideology over partisanship as Trump will doubtless do things the Democrats had previously supported or run afoul of groups they purport to dislike. For example, this article could easily be about the Left’s sudden love for the CIA. Just a few years ago, the CIA were the architects of the torture program who spied on Senators trying to investigate said torture program and destroyed evidence of it. And now the have a +39 approval rating among Democrats, which if equally bizarre.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 7

  23. Jen says:

    I have always thought Assange was a snake. Our next president seems to keep very curious company. Surrounds himself with conspiracy theorists, praises Putin and Assange, and has decided he wants to dismantle our intelligence apparatus.

    Lindsay Graham and John McCain, along with a few Republican House members like Adam Kinzinger are the ones I expect to hold the line against Trump’s nonsense. Trump has no clue what he’s doing and he now appears to be taking the advice of some of his flakiest advisers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  24. @Hal_10000: I take the point, but again there is the issue of very general claims about “the left” (or “the right”).

    While there has been a great deal or criticism (much warranted) of the CIA in the last X years, the bottom line remains that most people vaguely on “the left” see it as a legitimate institution of the US government (albeit one whose power can be abused). And to now see the choice between Assange and the CIA and choosing the CIA is not “love” for the CIA, however.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 0

  25. al-Alameda says:

    @Jen:

    Lindsay Graham and John McCain, along with a few Republican House members like Adam Kinzinger are the ones I expect to hold the line against Trump’s nonsense. Trump has no clue what he’s doing and he now appears to be taking the advice of some of his flakiest advisers.

    And let’s not forget, his new National Security Advisor will be retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the same guy who promoted the completely fabricated right wing rumor that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex slave operation out of a family pizza shop in Washington DC.

    This new administration is a Super Fund Site in the making.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  26. Pch101 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    For example, this article could easily be about the Left’s sudden love for the CIA.

    You should contact Bunge about joint venture opportunities in the strawman business.

    I would hope that most Americans would disapprove of CIA abuses while supporting the basic concept of maintaining a properly functioning foreign intelligence unit that protects the countries from external threats. If you’re inclined to refer to the need for national security as “love”, then you’re reaching desperately for false equivalency.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

  27. Gavrilo says:

    Democrats on November 7: “WikiLeaks revealed nothing! There’s no scandal in any of the DNC emails! These leaked emails are not damaging Hillary!”

    Democrats on November 9: “OMG, Russian hackers stole the election!”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 26

  28. @Gavrilo: To repeat myself:

    And please note: I do not have a problem with some healthy, informed (and that word is key) skepticism about US intelligence. I also think that the hacking issue has risen to the level of hysteria in some quarters and that it needs to be dialed back a bit (although I think it deserves ongoing attention). But I fear what we are seeing here is yet even more evidence that Trump will be a dangerous president who will act capriciously and irresponsibly, and who will value having his ego stroked over pursuing the national interests of the United States.

    Your post does not absolve (or even explain) the behavior of the president-elect, nor of his sycophantic supporters.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 1

  29. michael reynolds says:

    @Gavrilo:

    No, the story of Clinton’s emails, followed by Comey’s idiot move, are what caused the problem. It remains true that there was nothing interesting in Clinton’s emails. Your suggestion of hypocrisy is false.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 2

  30. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    Jen, the conspiracy theorists with whom Trump surrounds himself are some of his biggest boosters. They feed his ego in all sorts of ways: flattering him, constantly assuring him that he’s right about everything, and suggesting names to add to his enemies list. Trump is manipulated by his sycophants, and Trump in his turn manipulates his sycophants.

    He’s beginning to remind me of Ludwig II of Bavaria–only Ludwig built much nicer buildings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  31. Jeremy R says:

    From the article:

    Trump has a long history of favoring those when they favor him.

    Few times has he made that more clear than in this 2013 tweet about Snowden:

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/395683702757662721

    ObamaCare is a disaster and Snowden is a spy who should be executed-but if it and he could reveal Obama’s records,I might become a major fan

    Essentially, “steal from & leak about my adversaries and I’ll go from calling for your execution to being ‘a major fan’.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  32. Pch101 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    I keep waiting for you to make a decent point. I suspect that I’ll be waiting for a very long time.

    Julian Assange is Australian. Russian hackers are, well, Russian.

    (Having been to Australia, I can assure you personally that it is a different country from Russia. However, you may confirm this independently if you feel the need.)

    We know that there is a website called Wikileaks, and we know that there are also hackers in Russia. There may be some overlap, but they aren’t identical. You may be stunned to realize this, but there are actually many different hackers on this planet and not all of them collaborate.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  33. C. Clavin says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Just a few years ago, the CIA were the architects of the torture program who spied on Senators trying to investigate said torture program and destroyed evidence of it. And now the have a +39 approval rating among Democrats, which if equally bizarre.

    Is a 39% approval rating a ringing endorsement?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  34. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Hal_10000: I may be wrong on this, but I’m not sure that supporting groups for doing the things that they are supposed to do based on their charter is quite the same as suddenly supporting Wikileaks even though it is still doing the things you opposed before.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. Gavrilo says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Are you not aware that the emails on Hillary Clinton’s private server are not the same emails that were hacked by the Russians?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 17

  36. Gavrilo says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I have no need to absolve Donald Trump. I’m not a Trump supporter. But, if you think he’s (or his sycophants) going to participate in the blatant attempt to delegitimize his election, I think you’re sorely mistaken. That’s my point. The left wants it both ways. Before the election, they claimed the hacked emails released by WikiLeaks were a big nothingburger. Now, suddenly the election was “hacked” by Russia.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 20

  37. C. Clavin says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Your post does not absolve (or even explain) the behavior of the president-elect, nor of his sycophantic supporters.

    Of which Gavrillo is a member in good stead.

    Gavrillo’s argument is a red-herring. Propaganda, by definition, doesn’t have to be true.

    information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

    That’s the entire point of propaganda. The fact is that there was nothing in those emails…but the American electorate…Gavrillo and JKB and Guarneri and bill being prime examples…are fwcking idiots. There has been nothing to any of the Clinton charges for decades…outside an Oval Office BJ. But that hasn’t stop Republicans, even smart ones like James Joyner, from thinking the worse about them. And when all it took for Trump to win the EC was 5 counties…it’s pretty clear that the propaganda worked.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 3

  38. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I think “Gavrilo was trying for “both sides do it” but that his aim is off some–or, alternatively, that he can’t shoot straight to begin with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  39. Gavrilo says:

    @Pch101:

    I’m almost embarrassed for you.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15

  40. Hal_10000 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    +39. Not 39. +39 That’s the difference between approval and disapproval.

    And no, for all the comments above, this not liberal respect for necessary government institutions. It’s partisan. Here is the poll. Before this Trump business, the CIA had negative approval numbers from Democrats. And under Bush, it was about -20%. Now it’s +39%. This is almost entirely because the CIA is giving Democrats an excuse to believe the election was “stolen”. The only time the approval numbers were that high was immediately after bin Laden was killed.

    Moreover, agreeing that the CIA needs to exist and approving of the job it is doing are two different things. But you guys know that. When the CIA was spying on Senators, it had low approval numbers (deservedly so). But now that it’s claiming Russia stole the election, the approval numbers are high. That’s not respect for institutions, no matter how much you try to excuse it.

    (Not to excuse Republicans, whose approval for CIA has now crashed — albeit still positive — and are taking the word of a criminal over it. )

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  41. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Gavrilo: And it’s impossible for them to have discovered that they were wrong in their assumptions? I realize that people on the right cannot admit that they are wrong on anything, but I thought the left was different. You guys keep saying it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  42. Hal_10000 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    There has been nothing to any of the Clinton charges for decades

    Forty felony convictions of various Clinton cronies. Multiple lives ruined. Clinton having to give up law license. Hundreds of thousands in settlements. Multiple ethical problems. But sure, they’re as innocent and pure as wind-driven snow. Tell me, is the Clinton Kool-aide grape or raspberry?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

  43. C. Clavin says:

    @Hal_10000:

    But sure, they’re as innocent and pure as wind-driven snow.

    Didn’t say that.
    But Trump has already been more corrupt…and he isn’t even in office yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  44. Hal_10000 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I agree Trump is worse. As far as I can tell, he’ll be openly breaking the law the day he’s inaugurated. That’s why I voted Clinton. But I voted Clinton with my eyes open.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  45. Mikey says:

    @Hal_10000: Ethically speaking, perhaps Clinton smelled a bit–like a bag of trash left in the sun too long.

    Trump smells like the entire landfill, and his administration will be populated with an endless convoy of garbage trucks, dumping oversized loads of rotting dreck.

    In the immortal words of Hetfield:

    “We’re so fvcked
    Shit out of luck
    Hardwired to self-destruct.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  46. Mikey says:

    @Hal_10000: Eh…I can deal with the inevitable vacillations of support–we’re just people, after all, and none innocent of the sin of hypocrisy.

    What I can’t deal with is a President-elect of the United States and his supporters actively and openly cheerleading for a man who has overtly stated his purpose is to do harm to America.

    That’s the line they crossed that makes it different this time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  47. Jen says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Before the election, they claimed the hacked emails released by WikiLeaks were a big nothingburger. Now, suddenly the election was “hacked” by Russia.

    I’m not sure who you were talking to before the election but this is a silly statement. As a refresher, the emails released by WikiLeaks before the election were a combination of internal wrangling, some of which was very embarrassing, and some of it was, well, Podesta’s risotto recipes.

    The fact that they were stolen emails, selectively leaked by WikiLeaks was always a problem. Separately, the fact that the hacking was one sided and likely financed/expedited/enabled in some way by Russia is also a problem. You seem to be falling into an either/or trap, when actually the situation calls for more thought than that.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  48. Rick Zhang says:

    @Hal_10000:
    It doesn’t excuse Democrats. But the reality in politics is that politicians and voters alike all have short memories. Approval is based on the what have you done for me lately question?

    Think about it like this:
    1) Democrats hate the CIA for the case against Iraq, until they suddenly don’t for convenience
    2) Republicans hate Assange and Russia, until they hack the DNC to help them out in the last election. They’ll go back to hating Russia if Putin tires of Trump and launches hacks against him. Look at http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/gop-russia-putin-support-232714
    3) Republicans like Romneycare, up until the moment the left appropriates it. If they succed and repeal Obamacare, only to create the same thing afterwards and label it Trumpcare, it will have 80% approval among Republicans and 20% approval among Democrats
    4) NAFTA and the concept of free trade had bipartisan support, until Republicans found it convenient to heap all the country’s blame upon it for political gain. Look at https://twitter.com/ClareMalone/status/816743082951589889

    Lindsay Graham and John McCain are the only adults in the Republican party. Paul Ryan tries to be, but he lacks guts. Mitch McConnell is just a blatant opportunist without true personal values or a political vision.

    The big problem is not hypocrisy, but rather partisanship. We are less interested in the substance of policy than who can claim credit for something and how we can blame the other party for failures. The enemy of my enemy is preferable to bipartisan compromise for the country. It’s an escalating arms race. When Republicans ask Russia to hack the Democrats, what if Democrats retaliate by asking e.g. China to hack Republicans to get rid of Trump?

    The stakes are too high. Both parties are wiling to sacrifice all principle for a chance at power. It’s rule or die, baby!

    See my previous posts: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/paul-ryan-breaks-with-trump-in-international-trade-policies/#comment-2157870 and http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/paul-ryan-breaks-with-trump-in-international-trade-policies/#comment-2157871 for supplemental reading.

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  49. dxq says:

    Putin pisses liberals off, so putin is good. Assange’s anti-hillary bullshit pisses liberals off, so assange is good. Go read some right-wing comment sections. They’d punch their mamaw in the face if it would piss off liberals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  50. reid says:

    @Rick Zhang: As has been pointed out, this is not a “both sides do it” situation. Certainly not in scale. I’m not sure the “left” hated the CIA, which is your one example in that direction. Did they criticize torture? Of course. Did they criticize the intelligence abuses leading up to the Iraq war? Sure, but I think most of the criticism was for the administration, not the CIA.

    I think the bulk of the “left”, certainly most Democrats in higher office and including myself, are pragmatic, serious, and honestly trying to do good. We also do nuance, which allows us to question the CIA without “hating” them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  51. bandit says:

    [Comment deleted due to violation of the terms of service]

    Remember that the people under discussion are human beings. Comments that contain personal attacks about the post author or other commenters will be deleted. Repeated violators will be banned. Challenge the ideas of those with whom you disagree, not their patriotism, decency, or integrity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  52. Tyrell says:

    Assange looks out for one person: Assange

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  53. michael reynolds says:

    Breaking News: Now Trump loves the CIA and doesn’t trust Assange. Trumpkins prepare your mid-air flips.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  54. Gustopher says:

    I’m not appalled by the Russians — they are acting in their best interests, sort of, and we have long done similar things (or much worse things) to affect governments around the world.

    I’m not appalled by Wikileaks — until such a time as we discover that they also had access to Republican emails, etc. (Assange is a scumbag, but Wikileaks is more defensible)

    I am appalled by the Republicans — if we have a foreign power attempting to influence our elections, and the President Elect has a crapload of connections to that foreign party that we know of (and many that we do not), it’s a matter of national security to investigate, not a moment for partisanship and circling the wagons.

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  55. SenyorDave says:

    After the election, Trump said he would have won the popular vote if not for voter fraud. He ended up losing by over 2.8 million votes. Aside from the obvious “Maybe voter fraud gave him the election, since no one knows who the fraudulent voters are”, one would think that one of the biggest issues on Trump’s agenda is to have an investigation into voter fraud. I mean, its not possible that the president-elect would make stuff up, is it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  56. Guarneri says:

    Let’s see. The Russians have been conducting cyber espionage as long as its been around, including the past 8 years in which Obama, McCain etc have done basically nothing. Bupcus.

    Hillary commits the mother of all invitations to cyber espionage.

    “But it’s an election!!” We are told. Sort of like the Netanyahu election….

    Clapper is a certified liar.

    As for Hannity. He’s an editorialist. But what is the essential question he asks? “Show us the proof.”

    But now…… Trump! Trump !!! How dare he not play this obvious political game. This is beyond the pale!!!! Yeah, OK, he should have deferred. But who is throwing out diplomats – now. And massing troops……….without clear evidence or explanation? Harvey Milktoast.

    Please, get back to us when you’ve got something worthy of talking about and not just cheap shot partisanship.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 27

  57. Gavrilo says:

    @Jen:

    As a refresher, the emails released by WikiLeaks before the election were a combination of internal wrangling, some of which was very embarrassing, and some of it was, well, Podesta’s risotto recipes.

    I provided several links to prominent news organizations that concluded before the election that the emails released by WikiLeaks were not scandalous or damaging to the Clinton campaign. Furthermore, the Clinton campaign did everything it could to downplay the emails including intimating that they weren’t authentic.

    Also, the only mention of WikiLeaks on this blog, was a post by the illustrious Dr. Taylor dismissing the criticism Podesta for a particular email that some claimed was anti-Catholic. If the WikiLeaks emails were so earth-shattering, why were they never discussed around here?

    It’s disingenuous to claim before the election that the WikiLeaks emails were much ado about nothing, then claim after that they swung the election, and, on top of that, be outraged that others don’t share your newfound opinion.

    I still recall the glee that the commentariat displayed around here when Mitt Romney’s 47% speech was leaked. I recall the assertions that Trump was finished when the Access Hollywood tape was leaked. I recall the high dudgeon that was on full display when Trump’s tax return was leaked. That’s politics.

    Now, you’ll say, “But this was a foreign government trying to influence our election!” To that, I will tell you that I care just as much as Democrats cared when the People’s Republic of China tried to influence the 1996 Presidential Election by illegally funneling hundreds of thousands to the Clinton/Gore campaign. That is, I don’t give a fwck!

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  58. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:

    I provided several links to prominent news organizations that concluded before the election that the emails released by WikiLeaks were not scandalous or damaging to the Clinton campaign. Furthermore, the Clinton campaign did everything it could to downplay the emails including intimating that they weren’t authentic.

    Right…but that doesn’t mean the release of meaningless drivel to boneheads like you had no negative effect….which was the intention. I know complex ideas are hard for you to grasp. You could at least make a pretense of trying to understand. Or you can continue to show your inability to grasp reality.

    prop·a·gan·da
    ˌpräpəˈɡandə/
    noun
    1.
    derogatory
    information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  59. Matt says:

    @MBunge:

    because the voters were exposed to, by all indications, completely accurate and honest information about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party?

    You would have a point if the media had actually relayed the emails accurately. Instead we got second hand descriptions of the emails framed in a manner to make Clinton and the DNC look as bad as possible because DRAMA SELLS BRAW!!!. The average voter never got close to being exposed to the actual emails in full. The closest they got were snippets taken out of context and re-arranged to suit the right wing agenda.

    I have read the actual emails ranging from the ones related to Sanders to the ones from Podesta involving his Catholic faith. Every single one of those emails were heavily distorted when presented in the news. Even so called liberal news stations were running with the distorted talking points. I ended up reading the emails because I had to expose a good number of people on facebook to what was really said in the emails. The so called attack on Catholicism being the clearest example of the emails being reported on in a very heavily distorted manner. What the right wingers were saying and what the actually emails said were nowhere near each other. I was able to turn some Catholics away from rage once I gave them the actual emails and they realized they had been played. Then there’s the Sanders bullshit where the majority of the emails were sent AFTER Sanders had no real path to victory.

    It’s quite amazing how effective they were at in turning routine boring emails into OMG SCANDALZ!!!!! How that came about would be something we should be studying.

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  60. Mr. Bluster says:

    Hillary commits the mother of all invitations to cyber espionage.
    You mean like this:

    “I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,”

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  61. Rick Zhang says:

    @Matt:

    “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” – Voltaire
    “If drama does not exist in today’s edition, it would be necessary to invent some.” – News Media

    Little do they know that they possess awesome power to shape public opinion and perception of people and events through the way they cover and present news. Anyone remember yellow journalism?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  62. Rick Zhang says:

    @reid:

    There are thoughtful people on the “Right” as well. I’m sure there are many well-intentioned Republican middle managers who are so disgusted with the direction of their party that they’d rather quit and become independents than continue to support the populist shift.

    Max Boot, Eliot Cohen, James Woolsey, and Greg Mankiw are some examples of the brain trust behind conservatism who are not supporting Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  63. C. Clavin says:

    Trump is now saying that American Taxpayers should pay for his wet-dream of a wall.
    I think he has reversed himself on almost everything he campaigned on…and he hasn’t even taken office yet.
    SAD!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  64. Mikey says:

    @C. Clavin: He’s saying we need to pay for it to get started building it right away and we’ll get the money back from Mexico somehow at some undetermined point in the future. Yeah, right. We’re paying and we’re never seeing the money again.

    He’s also calling it the “Great Wall,” apparently so pig-ignorant of history that he doesn’t know the original Great Wall was a huge and expensive failure.

    Gawd, we’re so screwed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  65. Pch101 says:

    @Mikey:

    Perhaps Trump could borrow the money from Mexico, then default on the loan.

    (Trump has a considerable amount of experience with not repaying his debts, so this should come naturally to him.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  66. Mikey says:

    @Pch101: Seen on Twitter:

    Mexicos that may pay for the wall:
    Mexico, Maine
    Mexico, N.Y.
    Mexico, Pa.
    Mexico, Ind.
    Mexico, Mo.
    Mexico Beach, Fla.
    New Mexico

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  67. CSK says:

    @Mikey:

    Gee, back last march Donnyboy said he was going to get the money by halting the wire transfer of money to Mexico. He–or someone on his behalf–even wrote a two page memo about it to the Washington Post.

    But if there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that the Trumpkins don’t care if he breaks this or any promise. They voted for him precisely because he’s a loudmouthed, vindictive, racist, misogynist churl ignoramus–a real American!!! Anything else–promises about jobs, walls, healthcare, etc.–was just gilding on the lily.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  68. C. Clavin says:

    I’m no big fan of James Woolsey…but he was the sanest of Trumps band of insane Foreign Policy advisors…and the most qualified by far. Former CIA director, veteran of four presidential administrations, and arguably (I wouldn’t, but you could) one of America’s leading intelligence experts.
    He has resigned already. Note that Trump has not even taken office yet.
    This would be really entertaining…if it didn’t have the potential to be so fwcking disastrous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  69. wr says:

    @Mikey: “He’s also calling it the “Great Wall,” apparently so pig-ignorant of history that he doesn’t know the original Great Wall was a huge and expensive failure.”

    Only if you’re unaware that it was built to keep out monsters with the help of Matt Damon. How ignorant can you be?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  70. Mikey says:

    @wr: The outlook isn’t great for that Great Wall, either…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  71. Lit3Bolt says:

    This is how Trump’s chief psychological flaw, a pathological need to be loved/respected/praised, will get the USA into some deep shit.

    EVERYONE is taking note of this. The quickest way to Trump’s good side is tell him he’s great, super, a billionaire, whatever. If you PRAISE Trump, he will crawl over broken glass for you. If you’re a foreign power who consistently helps him, though, it’s even better: Trump will literally roll over and piddle his belly in every interaction with Putin.

    And conservatives are besides themselves with glee because their God-Emperor shitting the bed and smearing it on the walls makes liberals upset.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  72. Terrye Cravens says:

    Assange put the lives of American servicemen in danger by releasing classified information during the war in Iraq. And a lot of people on the right thought he should be in jail for that. Now people like Hannity are kissing his ass. Just goes to show you how partisan politics can make people stupid. And crazy. And unprincipled.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  73. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: This is something new. I am old enough to remember the Republicans turning on Nixon and he was not siding with a foreign hostile power. People are more partisan today. By far.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  74. Barry says:

    @Lit3Bolt: “If you PRAISE Trump, he will crawl over broken glass for you.”

    No, he’ll probably help you steal some money, but never actually take a hit. And this only lasts until the next hit of meth flattery from another flatterer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  75. bill says:

    @Franklin: the hypocrisy is there, i have no love for snowden/assange as their initial hacks put lives in danger. wiki-leaks “may have” hurt hillary by just exposing the level of sleaze that her and her crew operate under. nobody has questioned the facts that came out from the leaks and assange said they were “internal”. the gov’.t will do it’s best to make “the russians” look like they’re the culprits but we’ll never really know as most of that stuff is classified.
    that amal clooney stopped representing assange is more of said- as they supported hillary and that trumps her “job”! pun intended.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  76. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Terrye Cravens: While the behaviors being praised are different by some significant degree, the partisanship that fosters the approval is not. What we are seeing now is how little character both the leaders and their followers have. What sometimes looks like a bridge too far is simply the degree to which the country’s moral center has collapsed.

    It’s basically, to me at least, the same as when we ask “what kind of a monster would do that” only to realize on reflection that whatever “that” is doesn’t require a monster; an ordinary run-of-the-mill human is perfectly up to the task.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  77. Matt says:

    @bill: The “facts” as they were spun were questioned plenty and the source material contradicts 99% of the crap out there including what you’ve been spewing.

    Then again that requires people to actually download and read the emails themselves which takes effort. Better off listening to what you’re supposed to think of them from radio right?…

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