Just a few years ago, Barack Obama was famously caught in an open mic moment telling the Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”
“I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” replied Medvedev.
The American left made excuses for him, and when Mitt Romney named Russia as a geopolitical threat, the American left ridiculed him.
“Gov. Romney, I’m glad you recognize al-Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what is the biggest geopolitical group facing America, you said Russia — not al-Qaeda. And the 1980’s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back — because the Cold War has been over for 20 years,” Barack Obama told Romney to cheers from the left.
Just four years later you’d think the left had always been concerned with Russia and had always thought the Russians were enemies. The political opportunism in accusing Donald Trump of collaborating with the Russians is really rich.
The American political left would have you believe that Donald Trump is both a dolt and a criminal mastermind who collaborated with the Russians to steal an election. They are now throwing around the word “treason” as if they have ever had any concern for it.
In fact, the very people most loudly using the word “treason” are people who cheered on Senator Ted Kennedy, who actually asked the Soviets to interfere with the American presidential election in 1984.
Concurrent to all of this are a group of Republicans who now treat Russia as if Barack Obama was right in 2012. They, led by the President of the United States, act like Russia is our best friend and collaborator. And these same people are yelling about a coup by the left.
The media criticizing the President of the United States is nothing new. Leakers leaking out of an undisciplined White House is nothing new. Democrats demanding investigations into the President is nothing new. None of this is a coup. The President of the United States is still President and Commander-in-Chief.
There are no tanks rolling down the street to remove him from power, and there are no political leaders seizing power from him. What the White House is reeling from is not a coup, but the gangrene set in from a series of self-inflicted wounds.
The rhetoric on both sides is out of control. There is no treason. There is no coup. Both sides are throwing those words around like the political left hurls around the word “racism,” taking from it all its power and meaning as a word.
I might as well plant my flag in the ground on this point. I will actually be really surprised if we make it to December 31st of this year without people in this country taking up arms against each other. The rhetoric is so overblown, so heated, and so believed by a bunch of people who should know better.
If the left really does believe the Republican Party is a criminal enterprise in league with the Russians, they’re either moral cowards without conviction in their beliefs or about to take up arms to defend their country. If the right really does believe the left is engaged in an unconstitutional coup against the lawfully elected President, they’re either moral cowards without convictions in their beliefs or about to take up arms to defend their country.
My hope is that both sides, deep down, realize how full of crap their own side is in this rhetoric. But I increasingly doubt it. Neither side has an incentive to tone it down because both sides want their bases mobilized for 2018. The need to keep the bases amped up will only lead to more heated rhetoric and accusations.
I can only hope sane heads prevail and the partisans turn to their better angels. But right now I’m increasingly expecting some blood spilled before either side is willing to de-escalate.