Friday, July 26, 2019

Not Even A Chirp


Feel free to blame Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Blame him exclusively if you wish because he deserves virtually all of the blame.... but not quite all. As ABC News reports

One day after former special counsel Robert Mueller issued a stark warning that the Russians are actively seeking to interfere once again in the U.S. elections and called for aggressive deterrence measures, Senate Democrats sought passage of multiple election security bills only to be stopped by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for a second time this week.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accused Republicans of "putting their heads in the sand."

"Mueller's testimony was a clarion call for election security," Schumer said. "Mueller's testimony should be a wake-up call to every American, Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, that the integrity of our elections is at stake."

Mueller told House members Wednesday, at a high-profile hearing delving into the special counsel's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election that the Putin-led government is still at it.

"It wasn't a single attempt. They are doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it in the next campaign," Mueller said Wednesday.

They will do it in the next campaign and the Senate Majority Leader wants to remain the Senate Majority Leader, which would be unlikely if elections are unencumbered by interference from the Kremlin, as well as voter suppression targeting Democratic constituencies. Additionally, President Trump would be irritated if legislation were enacted securing election systems, and he has in his cabinet one Elaine Chao, whose married name (were she to use it) would be "McConnell." Scratch my back....





Less consequential but also reprehensible was McConnell's jab in May to the jaw of both the Democratic Party and its last president when he mocked Democrats for only now "awakening to the dangers of Russian aggression" and commented  "maybe stronger leadership would have left the Kremlin less emboldened. Maybe tampering with our democracy wouldn't have seemed so very tempting. Instead the previous administration sent the Kremlin the signal they could get away with almost anything..."

Kayleigh McEnany, national press spokesperson for the Trump 2020 presidential campaign, on Thursday night tried to blame President Obama for the campaign interference by Russia, at 27:43 of the video below stating "and certainly more than Obama, who did nothing." After Chris Cuomo tried to pivot to the present, McEnany responded "and I don't think you can leave President Obama out of it."





In April, Donald Russia had tweeted "Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President. He was told about it and did nothing! Most importantly, the vote was not affected."

But the irony, as Vox points out

is that it is McConnell, not Democrats, who seems to be having an abrupt awakening about Russia’s election interference.

As the American intelligence community gathered evidence through the summer of 2016 that Russia was responsible for the hacks of Democratic targets that resulted in the WikiLeaks dumps, President Barack Obama’s administration briefed congressional leaders and sought to put out a bipartisan statement sounding the alarm about the Kremlin’s efforts.

But according to the Washington Post’s blockbuster 2017 report about how the Obama administration tried to handle the Russian effort, McConnell scuttled the White House’s plans, citing “skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims” and concerns the administration was just playing partisan politics.

A bipartisan statement urging states to take cybersecurity precautions was ultimately released ahead of the 2016 election, but it didn’t single out Russia specifically or mention that the Kremlin was partnering with WikiLeaks (and, indirectly, the Trump campaign) in an anti-Hillary Clinton influence operation. Last year, Denis McDonough, Obama’s last chief of staff, said on Meet the Press that McConnell “dramatically watered down” the statement.

The remarks from McEnany, McConnell, and Donald Russia were intended to be more than a diversion. They are part of a "it's not our fault, it's yours" or "it's not Trump's fault, it's Obama's fault" theme.

You wouldn't know it, however, by Barack Obama's reaction. We have heard only silence from the former President, secure in the knowledge that he is. what: the first black President? architect of a health care plan slightly superior to what preceded it? far better than his successor?

He is all that, of course. But he also is the last Democratic president, never criticized by a Democratic politician, and riding fairly high in post-presidential polls.  Yet, as Democrats everywhere try to convince the cynical that the USA faced an unprecedented attack upon its election systems, one encouraged in the past and present by Donald Trump, and likely to continue, Barack Obama is silent.

We refer to ex-Presidents as "President"- President Obama, President Bush, President Clinton, President Carter.  In return, something should be expected from an ex-president, especially one whose Party is criticized along with himself.  It's not asking a great deal, particularly when the other party is trying to shift responsibility for this scandal so it can avoid culpability.

Then-President Obama did not act decisively when he learned of the Russian activity. Nevertheless, he acted in a patriotic manner, a significant upgrade from the approach of his successor.  At this time, in this case, silence is not golden, and it is time for him to step up and speak out.




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