April 3, 2017

ROGER KIMBALL: “What if?” The Evelyn Farkas Fracas.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that conservatives and Republicans (no, they are not necessarily the same) enjoy playing the counter-factual game of “What if?”

What if a Republican had presided over Benghazi instead of Ms. “At-this-point-What-Difference-Does-It-Make” Clinton?
What if a Republican administration had intervened to prevent Arizona from enforcing federal immigration laws?
What if a Republican had decided to enforce provisions of the Affordable Care Act selectively, omitting, for the time being, those that were politically inexpedient?
What if a Republican had made a deal with Iran that all-but guaranteed their acquisition of nuclear weapons within a few years?
What if a Republican administration had spied on a rival presidential candidate, who then, to the surprise of wise men everywhere, became the disfavored president-elect?
What if a Republican administration had illegally leaked, from classified intelligence reports, the names of private citizens to the media?
What if, what if, what if?

You know the answer: The well-oiled outrage machine of the media-industrial complex would have been wheeled into action. Oh my God, Mitt Romney once carried his pet dog on the roof of his car! Can you believe it? There are reports that he was mean to a kid in his high school! Obviously the heartless bastard is not qualified to be president. When asked in 2012 what was the most serious national security America faced, he said Russia. Russia! What a rube. And there was Barack Hussein Obama, really letting him have it: Now the 1980s are calling and asking for their foreign policy back! Yuk, yuk, yuk.

It’s as if our media is a bunch of politically partisan Mean Girls. Plus:

This story is in the process of putting itself together even as I write. Klavan is correct that what we are looking at here—“that the Obama Gang was using intelligence on Republicans to try to thwart a Trump administration from erasing Obama’s legacy”—is a “huge story.” He says “almost as big as the fact that Obama used the IRS to decimate the Tea Party movement.” In fact, it’s much, much bigger.

On Thursday, Kimberly Strassel wrote a blistering piece in The Wall Street Journal describing how 1) House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes saw and reported on classified information detailing such surveillance, 2) How Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the Committee, went into full flak mode, emitting a storm of obfuscations, non sequiturs, and procedural cow patties, and 3) how the cold-light-of-day finger of accusation is pointed directly at the heart of the Obama administration. “Mr. Nunes,” Strassel wrote, “has said he has seen proof that the Obama White House surveilled the incoming administration—on subjects that had nothing to do with Russia—and that it further unmasked (identified by name) transition officials. This goes far beyond a mere scandal. It’s a potential crime.”

Big time. As Michael Goodwin put it in The New York Post on Sunday, “If it can be proven that a sitting president used government authorities to spy on a candidate who then became president and orchestrated leaks of classified material, Watergate, by comparison, really would be a second-rate burglary.”

And the longer they cover for Obama now, the less they’ll be able to protect him later.

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