Friday, May 12, 2017

Put The Tin Foil Hat Down and Back Away Slowly

I was not intending to write quite so much about politics this month, but events keep embedding themselves in my brain and leading me to write things like this:

1. Comey should have been fired months ago. Sure, the timing was lousy, but holy hell- whether you're Democrat, Republican or Independent, I think we can all agree on this: dude tanked a Presidential election just because he could. I was betting that had Hillary won, he would have been first out the door and it doesn't surprise me that President Trump is showing him the door now. If he's willing to tank a Presidential election for the flimsiest of reasons, then what else is he willing to do? I wouldn't trust this dude any further than I could have thrown him. (Plus, the new acting FBI Director? Democrat. Very Democrat. So it's not like the President fired Comey to make way for a new buddy immediately. Getting a new FBI Director will take time.)

2. No, the Russia investigation isn't going away. In fact, it's intensifying. If you honestly believe that this move was because 'Comey was getting too close' then, as the wise man said, 'check yourself before you wreck yourself.' Michael Flynn has been subponead. The Senate Intelligence Committee wants Comey to testify now. If firing Comey was supposed to make this all go away, mission not accomplished.

3. The meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was probably scheduled for awhile now. The optics and the timing are bad, but Russia is kind of a big country and President Trump is the President of the United States,  so meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister kind of feels to me like NBD, you know? And holy shit- of course the Russian Foreign Minister is going to report back to his freakin' President. No shit, Vox. Way to state the obvious, dudes.

4. We need to define what people mean by 'influence' and 'interference' and 'hacking.' While I think it's important that we do our due diligence on this whole Russia thing and make sure there's nothing there (I doubt there will be, though I'm assuming the Left/Media will try and insist otherwise.) at a certain point, we risk making real, legitimate concerns about foreign influence on our elections into a self-fulfilling prophecy, you know? So let's break it down:

'Interference' and 'Hacking' to me, mean actual, verifiable evidence that there were shenanigans ongoing to change the results of the election in a way that was favorable to Russia (or whomever else.) I don't think we're going to get evidence of this... for a start, if I'm going to steal an election, I'm going to make sure the margins are more comfortable than they were in this election and probably going to have my guy (or lady) wins both the popular and electoral vote. If you just win the electoral vote, you're not really hobbled by it, but it's always going to hang over your head a little bit. If you want your choice of President to win and have power with all the trimmings and toppings that work for you, you'd want more of an emphatic win, I think.

Which is why I think there's more of a case to be made for 'influence.' If you're Russia and you want to undermine confidence in our democracy, this is exactly what you would do and circumstances have only helped you out even more. The (arguably) most qualified candidate for the Presidency of the United States lost to a reality television show star who's track record at business is mixed at best. People can't wrap their heads around that. DOES NOT COMPUTE in their brains. So obviously, there's got to be something else, some other explanation, right?

And that's why I worry all this is going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy in many ways. The way the media reports this (in the most dramatic way possible, because, well, ratings) and the general inexplicable confusion over how the Democrats managed to piss this election down their leg means that everyone is believing the statement: "Russia interfered in our elections" without having seen evidence as to what/how they did that. The allegation (and at this point, it's still an allegation) has been repeated so often that the media is reporting it as truth now- which both undermines trust in the media and our democracy all in one go.

In short, if Russia did pull some shenanigans, it probably cost them about $100 worth of shitty clickbait stories they planted on Facebook and the media did the rest for them and I'm sure much caviar and vodka has been consumed in great merriment at our national histrionics since.

5. Election night, I was expecting Hillary to win. I really was. I thought after the convention, after Trump went after the Gold Star Family, after the whole 'pussy-grabbing' thing surfaced, I thought "there's just no way. There's absolutely no way." I was wrong. And looking back on it, I think that's what everyone was thinking- the weeks before the election were filled with breathless stories about how Georgia might be in play. Texas might be in play. Omaha might be in play and I think people (and I'm assuming the Clinton campaign did as well) got caught up in that at precisely the wrong time. 2-3 weeks out, if I'm running a national campaign, I'm checking my six and making sure my base is actually going to come out where I need it too- expanding the map is a bonus at that point. The fact that Clinton didn't go to Wisconsin at all after the convention and barely went to Michigan goes a long way to explaining why it all went down the way it did.

6. Post-election, I had a fear. I still have that fear. "TRUMP BAD" and, "B-b-b-but hey man, Russia..." is not a platform that voters are going to give a shit about.

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