Last week, Marco Rubio was on Meet the Press to answer questions about Trump’s allegations that Obama had tapped his phones at Trump Tower. Chuck Todd asked him what Trump meant by the Tweet under the assumption that Rubio had some inside information since he had flown to Florida with Trump aboard Air Force One that Friday. Rubio deftly stated he did not know what Trump was talking about and they never discussed it on the flight.
Two things came to mind as I watched that interview: (1) Why isn’t this guy the President?, and (2) Rubio’s statement of fact regarding Russia. As he noted, there is no doubt that Russian, through hacking and dissemination of “fake news” stories easily accepted by a gullible public, “interference” had taken place. He correctly noted that they had done the same in European elections previous to the 2016 election here and were still doing it in France, Holland and Germany this year. These facts underlie Putin’s grand scheme where the United States in 2016 was simply the granddaddy of all elections.
Putin’s motivation was not to put Trump into the Oval Office. If so, that would confirm the Left’s notion that Trump is a puppet of Putin at worst or a dupe at best. In fact, by perpetuating the story that the election was influenced by Putin’s Russia, that said influence got Trump elected and, therefore, Trump’s presidency is somehow “illegitimate” makes the Left the true dupes of Putin. They are doing his bidding.
This was a win-win for Putin no matter who won in November 2016. Did Putin have a preferred candidate? Most likely, just as every world leader has a preferred winner in foreign elections. As an aside, Putin did not go as far as the Obama administration in Israeli elections when State Department grants were funneled to groups opposed to Netanyahu. But, that story gets buried in the back pages.
As Rubio stated in that interview with Chuck Todd, we know the Russians through their misinformation and fake news “propaganda” campaigns here and in Europe try to influence the process in foreign elections. And he stated that they will do so in the future. And the interference through these methods involves not only elections, but the policy debates on vital issues.
One would hope that these investigations lead to something, mainly what we can do to thwart these efforts. Unfortunately, this writer does not believe much can be done besides an educational effort for the electorate. As long as there are voters who believe that Alex Jones and his ilk are legitimate journalists, or that sites like InfoWars is a real news outlet, there will be a vulnerability for Russia and Putin to exploit. One cannot erase stupid and gullible in the electorate with legislation.
Along the way, Putin has found and exploited another vulnerability- the media all too
willing to run with the next big “scoop” that seems to end up nowhere. It is bad enough when fake news sites pop up to spread nonsense and even worse when so-called “respected” outlets fall for hoaxes and false news. Compounding the problem is the MSM’s attitude – when they are called out- to then circle the wagons and as they pontificate, adopt an “ends justifies the means” attitude.
Does any rational person really believe that Putin is fearful of a Congressional investigation in DC? He wins in all scenarios and carries on in the Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic States, Central Europe and elsewhere. He carries on unabated while rendering the media and the Left the real dupes. The more they act, the more they confirm Russia’s true motives- undermining Western values and the democratic electoral process.
Instead, the real “scandal,” if there is to be one, does not involve a handshake “meeting” with a Russian ambassador in Cleveland, or a meeting with said ambassador in a Senate office. It does not even involve a phone call between a presidential transition team and a Russian official. The real scandal involves, like most, money and where that money leads.
We have taken our eyes off what could be a more newsworthy story than Russian interference in the election: Trump’s tax returns and his refusal to release them. That is where the real story lies and as long as the MSM focuses on chasing ghosts emanating from Russia, they only prove that they and the Left are the true dupes in this whole story.