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Republicans, Apologize to Edward Snowden

By  |  January 4, 2017, 03:25pm  |  @josh_hammer

Three days after the fateful Indiana primary that secured the Republican Party’s presidential nomination for Donald Trump, Erick wrote that Republicans should apologize to Bill Clinton.  The message was straightforward: with the purported “family values” party now coronating a pathologically lying, serially philandering (and now, of course, we can also say, sexually assaulting) man as its god-king standard-bearer, Republicans retroactively owed an apology to Clinton over their failed attempt to impeach him for what amounted to the receipt of sexual favors from an intern and a concomitant cover-up of said favors.

In noting the sheer hypocrisy of what had become of the Party of Lincoln and Reagan, Erick was, indeed, spot-on.

Unfortunately, given the worship of anti-American nut basket Julian Assange that is so obsequiously idolatrous it might give the ancient Israelites’ golden calf a run for its money in the eyes of God, that precise logic now also applies just as strongly to Edward Snowden.

My personal stance on Edward Snowden has never wavered.  Regardless of the underlying policy dispute with respect to NSA surveillance, Snowden’s actions back in 2013 were completely indefensible.  His leaks directly endangered American soldiers, sailors, and marines stationed around the globe; conversely, al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups directly benefited.  He was not a “whistle-blower,” let alone a “hero”; he was a coward and a traitor, plain and simple.  While the best way to handle the Snowden situation has always been to somehow extradite him from his Muscovite enclave and formally press charges for treason, I confess a longstanding sympathy for invoking something closely akin to the Obama Administration’s legal justification for the Anwar al-Awlaki drone strike (itself the single greatest act Barack Obama ever took as President, incidentally, if you ask me) to make the Snowden problem “disappear.”  Would that he might take an accidental “fall” down a particularly steep staircase.  You get the idea.

Most Republicans, regardless of where they have stood on NSA surveillance policy, have shared my visceral antipathy toward Snowden.  Since the GOP is the alleged party of moral clarity and Reaganite badassery in terms of destroying Soviet-esque existential threats, this all makes sense.

That is, until it didn’t make sense.

Nowhere has the insidious Trumpification of the GOP been more acute than as it pertains to Vladimir Putin and his pal Julian Assange.  The polling, for Republicans, is simply jarring:

Back in July 2014 just 10 percent of Republicans held a favorable view of Putin, according to a poll conducted by the Economist and YouGov.  By September of 2016, that number rose to 24 percent.  And it’s even higher today: 37 percent of Republicans view Putin favorably, the poll found in December.

This, of course, has less to do with anything remotely resembling intellectually coherent principle, and everything to do with brute partisanship.  Trump’s oleaginous Russophilia, which he repeatedly demonstrated throughout the 2016 campaign, inevitably led Putin and the Kremlin to meddle on Trump’s behalf.  (Unless, of course, it was, um, worse than mere meddling.)  Regardless, we have, indeed, come quite a long way from Reagan’s iconic exhortation to “Mr. Gorbachev…[to] tear down this wall.”

But not content to merely latch themselves to the vodka-laced teat of Mother Russia, many Trumpist Republicans have doubled down by aligning themselves with WikiLeaks’ Assange.  Notwithstanding that Assange is, personally, an alleged rapist.  Notwithstanding that Assange, professionally, has long threatened to leak information that might put U.S. troops in jeopardy the world over—much like Snowden.  Frankly, Assange’s long history of trying to hold hostage American interests makes him little different than a state-sponsored terrorist like Kim Jong Un.  Assange is, indisputably, an enemy of the West.

But Republicans apparently don’t care.  Sarah Palin now sees fit to “apologize” to Assange.  Sean Hannity flies to London so that he can get an “exclusive behind-the-scenes” interview with Assange.

This is not just disgustingly hypocritical, disgustingly partisan, and disgustingly evidentiary of forfeited principle.  It’s also just plain disgusting.

Here was Erick, this morning:

Republican cheerleading for Russia of late has been disappointing.  We are facing a role reversal between the parties and the Republicans, typically more responsible on foreign affairs than Democrats, are going off in support of a totalitarian monster who murders dissidents and is a threat to our friends.

And here was Ben Shapiro, over at the Daily Wire:

Assange, lest we forget, bragged about the fact that WikiLeaks could be responsible for the deaths of Americans and American allies abroad.  He’s an alleged rapist and a longtime ally of Vladimir Putin; in 2011, Putin gave Assange a visa, and in 2012, Assange worked to cover up a payment from Syria to Russia.  Back then, Fox News’ Sean Hannity dubbed Assange a quasi-terrorist and asked why the government couldn’t stop him; today, he flies to the Ecuadorian embassy in London to interview Assange, then says, “I believe everything he says.”

The political party that defeated the Soviet Union and took the fight to the jihad after 9/11 seems hellbent on playing footsie with one of the world’s most brutal despots and otherwise cozying up to one of its most rogue, lawless, terrorist-abetting zealots.  It would be best if the GOP could actually Make Conservatism Great Again™, but if Republicans wish to solidify their misbegotten newfound “convictions” and seek to exude at least an iota of intellectual consistency, the least they can do is apologize to a fellow lawless, terrorist-abetting zealot currently holed up in that same Russian despot’s frozen lair: Edward Snowden.