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August 18th, 2017

Insight

The Russians Have Come

Bob Tyrrell

By Bob Tyrrell

Published May 16, 2017

The Russians Have Come
While contemplating the Democrats' agitated preoccupation with the allegations of Russia's intrusion into our 2016 presidential election, many thoughts occur. However, the salient thought for me, engendered by our Democratic friends' anti-Russian rhetoric, is that many years ago during the early stages of the Cold War, The John Birch Society tried to warn us. It was raising the alarm as the Democrats are today. How did we greet them? What did the Birchers get for raising the specter of Russian imperialism and world domination?

They were dismissed as political fanatics. Could it be that at some point in the present controversy about the Russians' supposed hacking of the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Democratic Party — led by such lights as Sen. Charles Schumer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, former Rep. Anthony Weiner and Clinton — will go too far?

Could it be that the once-proud party, the party of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, will be dismissed as a Birch-like fever of fanatics and consigned to history's dust heap along with such other curiosities as the Birchers and in the 19th-century the Know-Nothings?

No more Jefferson-Jackson Day speeches.

No more Al Smith Dinners.

Mark my words. This could be the party's fate. The great Democratic Party may someday be replaced by the American Green Party or the America Nudist Party, whose campaigners would presumably be restricted to college campuses and specialized beaches.

Stranger things have happened. Moreover, the angry denunciation of the Russians by leading Democrats could have serious consequences. What if Russian President Vladimir Putin — a former officer of the KGB, if I am not mistaken — is no longer amused by the Democrats' excesses? What if he takes their charges against him seriously and things escalate? The Russian arsenal includes nuclear weaponry. There may come a day when only President Donald Trump and his emollient tweets stand between Democratic extremism and nuclear holocaust. Remember yesteryear and the vaunted fears of nuclear winter.

If we take the Democrats seriously, the thing is not unthinkable. Yet, of course, no one takes the Democrats seriously. In early March, a 2003 photograph was circulated of Sen. Schumer and Putin eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts together and yucking it up. There may come a day when Schumer will be as jovial with President Trump, but I am not holding my breath. I wonder what Schumer and Putin were laughing about over their dougnuts...

Yet all this apprehension about the Russians, which to some degree I share with my Democratic friends, and certainly with The John Birch Society, does not mean that President Trump should not have fired FBI Director James Comey. We still adhere to the rule of law in these United States, and last July, Comey ignored it at least twice in his press conference. Then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch ignored it when she entertained Bill Clinton on the tarmac at the Phoenix airport. I do not care how charming Bill was. At the time, he was what the authorities call an accessory to the fact, and the fact was Hillary Clinton's server and the classified documents she had on it.

How did we find ourselves at this comic pass with the Democratic Party warning us of the Russian menace — the Democratic Party whose members have included Alger Hiss and, more recently, Bill Ayers? Well, turn to the recently released best-seller written by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign." All the pundits are talking about it, and there are things to admire in it. For instance, they revealed: "Hillary declined to take responsibility for her own loss. ... Hillary kept pointing her finger at Comey and Russia. ... That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. ... Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team ... For a couple of hours...they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument." Now it is the centerpiece of the mainstream media and the Democratic Party's campaign against Donald Trump.

But let us recall that both the mainstream media and the Democratic Party have been trying to link this hacked information to Trump for months. What will happen if there is no corpus delicti, if people like acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe continue to say they have found no collusion between the president and the Russian government? Will this controversy just fade away, even as Trump's harassers move on to evermore fanciful charges? I am betting that will be the case. After all, this week, the Washington Post claimed that President Trump leaked classified information to two Russians with his national security adviser standing by. Official Washington became hysterical. The week before, the Post published two stories and the national security adviser hurried out to pronounce one story false.

Has Hillary Clinton written the score for this opera buffa?

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R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator, a political and cultural monthly, which has been published since 1967. He's also the author of several books.

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