Make no mistake: it’s payback time. In ordering up a “deep dive” into possible Russian interference in the election of Donald Trump, sore loser Barack Obama wants to delegitimize the real estate magnate’s win. His motive? Punishing Trump for the years the mogul spent publicly questioning whether Obama was an American citizen, which cast doubts on the legitimacy of his presidency. Ah, how sweet the revenge. And how pitiful.
President Obama has searched high and, increasingly, low, for the reasons he and Hillary Clinton lost the election. He has blamed Fox News, insufficient grass-roots campaigning by Hillary, “fake news”, and now has singled out Russian meddling for the loss of 194 of 207 counties that voted for him in either 2008 or 2012.
The suggestion is that Vladimir Putin wanted Trump to win; the liberal media has hinted darkly that the president-elect and his campaign team have “ties” to the Russian head of state.
As most Americans review Trump’s defense and security picks, the notion that the new administration will go easy on our adversaries – including Russia – is laughable. Retired General James Mattis, whom Trump has nominated to head Defense, has described Russia’s annexation of Crimea as a “severe” threat, one underestimated by the Obama White House. Mattis is not to be trifled with.
The media has ignored the reality that Moscow’s possible hacking of DNC and Podesta’s emails were retaliation for Hillary Clinton’s assertions that Russian elections in 2011 were “rigged” – an accusation that infuriated Putin. When protests erupted in Russia over the election outcome, Putin blamed Clinton. “She said they were dishonest and unfair,” Putin said at the time. He accused then Secretary of State Clinton for giving “a signal” to demonstrators organized “with the support of the U.S. State Department…We need to safeguard ourselves from this interference in our internal affairs,” Putin said. Does this sound familiar? Turnabout is fair play, and Putin has made it clear that if we mess with his elections, he will mess with ours.
Obama knows this. Politico reported in a July piece entitled “Why Putin Hates Hillary” that the Russian leader’s anger about Clinton’s interference was “communicated directly to President Barack Obama.” Former administration officials involved with Russian policy say the Kremlin saw Clinton as taking a harder line against Russia – “reset” notwithstanding – than others in the White House. “And they say Putin sees Clinton as a forceful proponent of “regime change” policies that the Russian leader considers a grave threat to his own survival.”
That is why the Russians may have tried to undermine Hillary Clinton, not because they see Trump as an ally. Like most of the world, Moscow no doubt expected Clinton to win. Coming into office weakened by Putin’s meddling would have undoubtedly pleased Moscow no end.
Obama’s call for an investigation is transparently bogus. First, the CIA offers up only scant circumstantial evidence – evidence that even the New York Times admits “does not support firm judgements” -- to make the charge that Russia worked to favor Trump. The FBI isn’t even on board with the conclusion.
Second, everyone knows that no serious inquiry could possibly be completed by January 20, when Trump will be sworn in. The federal government operates with glacial pacing; Obama knows the report will likely never be completed, and so the issue of Russian hacking will hang like a cloud – like the “birther” rumors – over the Trump White House.
While muttering about how the need for “transparency” might inspire the investigation into the hacking, the Times et al ignore the reality: the emails released via WikiLeaks that outed cheating by the DNC in favor of Hillary Clinton, or showed how disrespectful her camp was of Catholics and average Americans, actually increased the transparency of the election. The United States should not tolerate cyberattacks from a foreign government; nor should we tolerate cheating in our politics.
Obama is still smarting from having put himself on the line during the campaign, telling the Black Congressional Caucus, for instance, “I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election.”
He made Hillary’s campaign all about him, but she lost anyway. That has to sting. Especially since Americans, in choosing Trump, also chose to undo most of Obama’s most precious accomplishments.
On the campaign trail, Trump made no secret of his desire to toss Obama’s climate agenda, his Iran deal and, most importantly, ObamaCare. In recent weeks, he has nominated cabinet officials who are well suited to carrying out those promises. Lofting Scott Pruit, the Oklahoma Attorney General, to the EPA: good-bye overreaching anti-fossil fuel regulations. Rep. Tom Price for HHS: so long ObamaCare. “Mad Dog” Mattis for Defense: the Iran deal is toast. For a president who has put such stock in his “legacy”, and who took office being compared to Abraham Lincoln, the erasure of his eight years must be intolerable.
What will be left of the Obama presidency, which chose to act unilaterally through executive actions and regulations rather than work through Congress? Not much.
Actually, with his embarrassing reluctance to shoulder any responsibility for the drubbing given Democrats over the past eight years, his legacy will begin with a very sour taste in the country’s mouth.