In an appearance on yesterday’s Meet The Press, Sen. Ted Cruz was questioned by host Chuck Todd about the Republican Party’s repeated and unfounded claim that Ukraine interfered in our elections in 2016.
Of course, this accusation has become the standard talking point by Trump and the GOP as they look for ways to defend Trump’s impeachable actions in the Ukraine scandal. It’s also evidence of a disturbing trend within the GOP to embrace Russian propaganda for political gain and party preservation.
According to a U.S. Intelligence report, Ukraine election interference in 2016 has been a vital part of a Russian propaganda campaign to take the heat off their own election interference as well as influence the U.S. debate as Russia tries to undermine the government of Kyiv. And with Republicans desperate to avoid going the way of the dodos, they have become willing participants in spreading Putin’s big lie.
Historically, GOP has been an acronym for Grand Old Party but as visitors to my website know, it has come to stand for Gutless On Principles. However, in the Age of Trump, Washington Post columnist Max Boot has come up with a much more frightening and dangerous acronym: “Gang of Putin.”
In a December 4 column, Boot explains:
“Of all the changes that have occurred in our politics since the rise of Donald Trump, the most gut-wrenching for me personally is to see the Republican Party transformed into the Kremlin’s ‘useful idiots.’ As a young refugee from the Soviet Union growing up in Southern California in the 1980s, I was attracted to the GOP because it was the party of moral clarity — the party willing to stand up to the ‘evil empire.’ How far we have come — in the wrong direction.”
But it’s not just the GOP’s capitulation to Russia, it’s the praise Trump routinely gives Putin. “Today,” Boot writes, “we have a Republican president who, while reluctantly acceding to sanctions against Russia, incessantly praises its dictator, Vladimir Putin — ‘a terrific person’ — tries to bring Putin back to the Group of Seven; conceals the details of their meetings.”
In addition to those things, Boot adds, Trump “undermines Ukraine, a victim of Russian aggression, by harping on its corruption while ignoring Russia’s own kleptocracy; allows the Russians to take possession of U.S. bases in Syria; and propagates Russian propaganda, blaming Ukraine for 2016 election interference.”
Trumpists in the media are also exposing themselves as shills for Putin. Calling concern over Russia and “obsession” of the Left, Tucker Carlson declared on his FOX News show that Putin didn’t hate America as much as the media:
“For Chuck Todd and the rest of the dummies, Vladimir Putin is isn’t a real person with actual ideas and priorities and a country and beliefs. No, he stopped being that long ago. He’s a metaphor, a living metaphor, he’s the boogeyman! Step out of line and you’re a traitor in league with Vladimir Putin!… The irony, of course, is that Putin, for all his faults, does not hate America is much as many of these people do. They really dislike our country. And they call other people traitors? Because they’re ‘mouthing the talking points of Putin!’ These are people who don’t know anything about Russia, who don’t speak Russian!”
A few days prior to this broadcast, Carlson defended Trump against impeachment by openly rooting for Russia to defeat Ukraine, although he later claimed to be joking after taking some heat for it.
If Republicans believed in country over party and politics, they would want to get to the bottom of the Ukraine scandal and what role, if any, Russia had in influencing the 2016 election. But if that happened, Trump and his enablers would be exposed as the frauds we’ve always known them to be.
Instead, we’ll be fed a steady dose of pro-Russia propaganda bought and paid for by Vladimir Putin, all the while being told to vote for Trump and the GOP in 2020 because only they can save us.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative.