Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Get a Grip, America

Trump's ham-fisted, misguided, and transparent Putin-coddling is not tantamount to sedition.

This week, The Washington Post published an op-ed headlined "It's not wrong to compare Trump's America to the Holocaust." As with similar examples of this genre, it's a sickening display of moral relativism that belittles the suffering and murder of millions in the service of some shortsighted and crass partisan fearmongering.

Elsewhere, Politico published an opinion piece headlined "Putin's Attack on the U.S. Is Our Pearl Harbor," which demeaned the sacrifice of American service members by likening a military attack on American soil that brought us into the bloodiest war mankind has ever experienced to phishing.

On MSNBC, where illiterate histrionic analogies litter coverage every day, a contributor compared Donald Trump's meeting in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin to Pearl Harbor and Kristallnacht, just to be safe.

Social media are teeming with similar hyperbole—"treason," "traitor," etc.—and not just from anonymous trolls. It's difficult to accept that people with working brains actually believe this rhetoric, and they certainly don't act like it. But if well-heeled pundits keep telling everyone the Fourth Reich is imminent before retiring to their town houses in D.C. every night, some people may actually start believing them. And if phishing and hacking are truly comparable to Pearl Harbor or Kristallnacht or the Holocaust, there's really no reason those accepting these analogies shouldn't also support military reprisals abroad and a coup at home.

Defenders of this hyperbole often claim that they're not making an exact equivalence to the lives lost but rather speaking to the intent of all those attackers. All such attacks, they say, are intended to destabilize "our democracy." Well, yes. But one aspect of similarity doesn't make the events comparable. It would be like saying Iran's spying on the United States—spying that resulted in our military technology's being sold to China—was comparable to 9/11 because both sets of attackers intended to harm our democracy. If this were so, it would be treasonous to make peace with these nations and completely rational to wage war. Surely, we can find less feverish analogies.

Russia attempted to meddle in our domestic affairs, and there should be retribution and condemnation for those efforts. But our electoral system was not undermined. It withstood, as it has for many decades, Russian attempts to mess with institutions. The reaction to those hacking efforts, on the other hand, does no favors to democracy, and it certainly does no favors to Democrats who are suddenly horrified by the Putin threat.

You may remember how liberals lectured Americans after 9/11 about appropriate ways to deal with terrorists. For the most part, it amounted to saying, "Don't kill them! That's exactly what they want!" Well, it's certain that this is what Putin wants. Few things destabilize democracy more than imbuing a foreign strongman from a second-rate power with the imaginary capability of deciding our elections.

Nor is Trump's ham-fisted, misguided, and transparent Putin-coddling tantamount to sedition. For a number of reasons—including an inability or refusal to make any distinction between Russian "meddling" and attacks on the legitimacy of his election, a trait shared by many of Trump's detractors—the president is a fan of Putin's. Even though his administration has been tougher on Russia in many respects than the previous ones, there's no way around the fact that the president admires strongmen.

That doesn't make his foreign policy position an act of treason, any more than it was treason for Barack Obama to coddle the Iranians—even though the former president sided with Iran (and Hezbollah) over American law enforcement. Democrats' hysterics make it impossible for many people to even concede that they have a point to make.

Since Trump met with Putin in Helsinki, many Republicans, including the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader, have come out in support of the intelligence community's assessment of Russian meddling, weakening the argument that the GOP always walks in lockstep behind the president.

There could even have been some consensus in Washington over how to move forward. Instead, we had elected Democrats spinning melodramatic political fairy tales about the Russkies controlling the GOP, about the need to start a coup and about the presence of kompromat. Earlier this week, an army of blue checkmarks was retweeting and oohing and aahing over an erroneous report about how a Russian spy had infiltrated the Oval Office, simply because the woman in question had red hair and looked vaguely similar to an accused spy.

The Trump news conference with Putin was unhinged. But so is Democrats' reaction to it.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • DajjaI||

    Well yes but the alternative was TrumPutin stirring up terrorism in the middle east and nuking them. So while I agree the reaction by the libs is hyperbolic, I've been pretty quiet about it. The main thing that scares me is that they are trying to use this to shut down freedom of speech. The bolshies went bonkers when Zuckerberg defended Holocaust denial. They are trying to use that as a pretext for censorship, and of course 'Russian meddling' is next on the list followed by 'libertarian ideologues'. So then it starts getting personal. The other thing that bothers me is that Trump is responding by giving the IC more money. Of course that will protect him from accusations of collusion, but at what price to the rest of us?

  • JesseAz||

    Who is they and where is the link to the bill seeking to abridge the first amendment?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You know else didnt want to be linked to the holocaust?

  • geo1113||

    Peter Lorre?

  • General_Tso||

    Captain Renault?

  • Rich||

    Mel Gibson?

  • ColoradoKook||

    Fezzik?

  • Harvard||

    Henry Ford? Joe Kennedy??

  • Sevo||

    Lucky Lindy?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That was two. cheater. You have to space them out.

  • Chereth Cutestory maritime aty||

    George Soros?

  • JesseAz||

    Most Jews?

  • Fooseven||

    This was pretty good

  • Rock Lobster||

    FDR?

    (Yeah? Sue me, lefties.)

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Trump is smarter than the media for not discussing current American intel policy relating to Russia.

    Even with an undermining media to American interests, Trump seems to be trying to push nations that have been walking all over the USA. This while intel services do their counter espionage thing.

    ...or our intel service are traitorious fuckers that are more focused on getting rid of Trump and his representation as Americans pushing back against the Deep State.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    Trump is marginally less intelligent than an average fence post.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    True, but it still doesn't disprove LC1789 assertion that Trump is smarter than the media.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    That's a fair point......

  • JesseAz||

    Even a fence post can get a doctorate in victims studies. 7 years of college and not a single fact learned.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Winning the presidency on the first try against an experienced politician requires the intellect of a fence post. I guess.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It is funny that the Left labels Trump as dumb, yet that dummy has beaten them at every turn.

    Doesn't speak well of Lefty 'intellect'.

  • Teddy Pump||

    That is exactly what he wants you to think!

  • RodgerMitchell||

    Guess who pays Trump's tariffs on the world? Think hard. That's right: We do.

    Very clever of Trump to punish us as retribution against other nations. And equally clever of Trump backers to support it.

  • A Thinking Mind||

    I was floored by the first freaking sentence.

    I can easily believe someone could say that. I sincerely hope nobody actually believes it.

  • Number 2||

    Godwin's Law is once again proven true.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    The WP publishes crap like "It's Not Wrong to Compare Trump's America to the Holocaust" then bristles when anyone points out that the mainstream media is totally destroying their credibility with their reaction to Trump.

    As bad as Trump is, I can't imagine wanting to give power to the totally unhinged left. There's no way to win here...…...

  • Horny Lizard||

    What to do, what to do? How about we divide govt between the partisans so that can check one another?

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    Yes, it would be much better if we were imprisoning white girls who wear cornrows. 2 years in the hoosegow for 2nd Degree Cultural Appropriation.

  • KevinP||

    it took him 28 hours to correct his gaffe on our intelligence agencies, another full day to say Russia interfered

    These were the same intelligence agencies that were confident that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction?

  • LynchPin1477||

    Yeah. But how about criticizing the evidence of the particular claim in question instead of bringing up past mistakes?

  • BYODB||

    It's the CIA, they will never show you any of the evidence so literally past history is about all you have.

  • mlwjr||

    Where we given any evidence?

  • M.L.||

    Evidence???? What evidence?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Shame if something happened to your evidence.

  • Teddy Pump||

    And that there was a humanitarian crisis in Libya that necessitated murdering their leader & destroying the nation & that Assad used chemical weapons over & over against his own people for no logical reason or benefit & that Da Lesbo Witch was merely a tad careless in using a private e-mail to hide the proof that she turned the State dept. into the Clinton Foundation State Dept.!

  • afk05||

    http://www.businessinsider.com.....raq-2015-3

    They published the full report years ago that shows that the Bush administration altered and redacted the report from the CIA to change the ambiguity to certainty to fit their political narrative and their goal of war in Iraq (for the real reason of control of oil, that we have been fighting Russia by proxy since the Cold War ended)

  • JesseAz||

    I know right? I cant believe trump caceled weapon sales to Eastern Europe to offset Russia agression. I can't believe he signed a pact with russia to decrease us nuclear weapons while allowing Russia to increase theirs. I can't believe he gave us technology to Russia in the skolkovo deal that is now being used in Russian weapons programs. I can't believe he reduced export of LNG to Europe allowing Russia to dominate the energy market. I can't believe trump gave Russia more work influence by pulling out of Syria and signing the Syrian chemical weapons destruction, good thing those were never used again. I can't believe he sat idly by and watched Crimea be usurped by Russian forces... Oh wait that was Obama you dumb fuck.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    What does that have to do with what Hihn said? Why are you making me defend Hihn?

    I swear, if he takes me off his list, I'll never forgive you.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Very well put.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dumbfuck Hihnsano the neocon doofus burps another copypasta shitpost.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dumbfuck Hihnsano thinks the board cares what Fox thinks.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH

    Dumbfuck Hihnsano mimics the sound of wind through his empty skull.

  • Number 2||

    Kristallnacht and the Holocaust were attacks against American Democracy? Seriously?

  • Juice||

    It's like 911 times 100. That's right. 91,100.

  • Nardz||

    Dear. God!

  • NashTiger||

    9hundred11hundred?

  • General_Tso||

    My overcooked breakfast sandwich this morning was like the Rape of Nanking and the Influenza epidemic of 1918 all rolled into one.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    I went out in the back yard to trim some trees yesterday and it was so hot and humid that it's not wrong to say it was like the Katyn Massacre.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    It all comes back around to the Russians, doesn't it?

  • Toom Tabard||

    The sad point is that the whole "Trumped-up" "Russians are coming" is due to the embarrassment suffered by the DNC for not securing their servers. The dirty laundry was aired so Democrats were angry. Just dumb.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dumbfuck Hihnsano is shocked to find Russians here!

  • Rich||

    Simile when you say that!

  • Horny Lizard||

    And there we have it folks: "Trump and Putin are in lock step gaslighting America for some nefarious purpose but some Democrats are hyperbolic and inartful in their reactions so it's a wash."

  • harpac||

    I can't tell if this post is brilliantly ironic or stunningly idiotic in its lack of self-awareness.

  • harpac||

    Update: after reading a few more posts from Horny Lizard, I know realize it is the latter.

  • harpac||

    *now

  • Horny Lizard||

    I said my peace. You can go fuck yourself.

  • Number 2||

    Take that, harpac! Horny Lizard gave you a "peace" of his mind...such as it is.

  • harpac||

    Aw, man! You beat me to it, # two!

  • harpac||

    Your "piece" hardly promotes "peace" so you can go "peeees" yourself

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    "This is my last election. After the election I have more flexibility."

    You're right that there's gaslighting going on, and it's coming from the same sources that have always conspired with totalitarian states like Russia (both during and after the Soviet phase), Nazi Germany (it's not Godwin when historically correct, kids), and fascist Italy: the progressive Left.

    Now tell me the one about how Benghazi was all about an obscure YouTube video and the name of the prophet Mohammed must not be profaned. You know, those good old American values of censorship and establishment of religion.

  • BYODB||

    All good points. No one wants to look at what's actually done and rely on what's said precisely because it makes Trump look good and Obama look terrible. Not in every arena, obviously, since Trump is his own unique blend of bad but it couldn't be more amusing to watch people suddenly give a shit about the executive branch again.

    Watching it come full circle from Mitt Romney, through Obama, and back around to Trump couldn't be more enlightening.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Even though his administration has been tougher on Russia in many respects than the previous ones, there's no way around the fact that the president admires strongmen.

    That doesn't make his foreign policy position an act of treason, any more than it was treason for Barack Obama to coddle the Iranians—even though the former president sided with Iran (and Hezbollah) over American law enforcement."

    A distinguishing feature of the modern left--from Obama to college campuses--is the inability to distinguish between speech and action. Bad speech or failing to condemn something is worse to them than what someone actually does.

    Barack Obama killed more innocent children with drone strikes than Adam Lanza did with an assault weapon, but the distinguishing characteristic to the left wasn't the intent or the action itself; it's that Obama said all the right things--which doesn't really make any difference.

    Trump says all the wrong things--which doesn't really make any difference either. It's what people do that matters, not what they say.

    Working with Putin on ISIS and Iran is the right course of action regardless of what Trump says about anything.

  • Horny Lizard||

    Do you understand Russia is selling weapons to the Taliban? Do you understand that Russia tried to kill American troops in Syria? Do you understand that Assad emptied his prisons of Islamic extremists early in the civil war to help create ISIS so that his murderous regime would look palatable in comparison. Do you understand that Russia and Assad initially ignored ISIS in Syria and instead focused on destroying the more moderate American backed revolutionaries?

  • Nardz||

    And to Ken's point, it's a pretty good illustration that Leftists' worldview is composed of fantasy when they stick to the devout faith of moderate jihadists

  • Horny Lizard||

    I didn't say moderate "jihadists". That's your fantasy.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I understand that you've been absorbing some rather interesting news sources.

    Do you understand that our best curse of action might be working with Stalin to defeat the Nazis and chase the Japanese out of China--regardless of however many millions he's starved in the Ukraine or sent to die in the gulags?

  • Horny Lizard||

    The more apt comparison would be working with a pre WW2 Hilter to give the Sudetenland Germans a referendum to join Germany.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lefties in Britain already did that.

  • harpac||

    Boom -- roasted.

  • Number 2||

    Dear Mr. Horny Lizard:

    The 1980s called. They want their foreign policy back.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lizard is old enough to remember the "duck and cover" days and wishes to return to the fantasy that Russia was this superpower that had zero domestic food problems and was successfully spreading Communism around the World.

  • Number 2||

    Is he that old? Then he also must remember one American president who clearly and expressly spoke out against Russian dictators, the mischief they were spreading around the world, and the harm they intended to cause Our Democracy.

    As I recall, that particular American President was vilified as a dangerous, reckless warmonger.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    And Ted Kennedy conspired with Yuri Andropov to get him out of office.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I am so glad y'all are on here.

    Its fun to bash the Lefties spouting nonsense with some historical facts and I cannot be on Reason all the time.

  • JesseAz||

    Do you understabd it was Obama who gave Russia an increased presence in the middle East with the Syrian chemical "destruction?"

  • DesigNate||

    There shouldn't even BE American troops in Syria to try and kill.

  • TGoodchild||

    It is a feature of Trump Derangement Syndrome, wherein one must simultaneously invalidate and disqualify everything he says, yet accept that none of same speech is genuine, honest, or perhaps calculated to some end. He's a complete buffoon who can't be taken seriously, but who also must be taken literally and dead-seriously.

    The average voter remains incredulous to the left's vitriol, and people opposing leftists (there are no actual Democrats anymore, other than maybe Diane Feinstein on some days) will be getting a bump in spite-votes this coming fall.

  • Horny Lizard||

    Trump is both corrupt and incompetent. It's not complicated.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    And he's better than Obama, Booosh, Bill Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, LBJ, JFK, Truman, FDR, and Wilson.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    "And he's better than Obama, Booosh, Bill Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, LBJ, JFK, Truman, FDR, and Wilson."

    Statements like this prove that TDS affects different people in different ways. It's a two-way disease.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I get what you're saying, but when I look at the specific people on his list I'm thinking that's a pretty low hurdle to jump. I know that many people regard presidents like FDR and Wilson as "great" but they weren't, really.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    "I know that many people regard presidents like FDR and Wilson as "great" but they weren't, really."

    I'm not saying that any of those were "great", but at least they were competent enough to take a piss without getting it all over their shoes (well, maybe not LBJ or Wilson).

    I'm not convinced Trump reaches that level of competence.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Not really bevis.

    Obama- ObamaCare and second war president....
    Booosh- got us into two of the longest wars in US history (Afghanistan and Iraq)....
    Clinton- was one of two impeached presidents....
    Bush- at least had the decency to not win a second term....
    Reagan- ran up deficits and had the Iran-Contra Affair. He pushed the USSR into imploding though.
    Carter- made recession worse and made the gas crisis worse....
    Ford- was just a stand-in.
    Nixon- would have been impeached....
    LBJ- First war president to have US troops in combat during his entire term....
    JFK- Cuban Missile crisis....
    Truman- Made Korea conflict worse. Nationalized steel mills....
    FDR- Put Americans in internment camps without trial. Kick started Socialism in the USA....

  • No Yards Penalty||

    LC1789, seriously, take Trump's cock out of your ass, you tiresome Trumpanzee.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    No Penalty for Old Men, take Hillary's dick out of your mouth you tiresome homophobe racist.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    MAGA!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Maga

  • perlchpr||

    I'm not convinced on Reagan, though I'm willing to listen to arguments for the position. The rest of those guys...

    Hrm. I dunno. What was JFK supposed to be a bad president for? He wasn't really in office long enough to accomplish the sort of shit that FDR and Wilson did.

  • Ron||

    thanks to JFK's CIA attempted invasion of Cuba we almost had a real WWIII with nuclear weapons. People give him credit for preventing WWIII but do you get credit when you also started it.

  • Dizzle||

    He was also the first to send troops to Vietnam if i remember correctly

  • Don't look at me.||

    Literally hours from nuclear war.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Exactly Ron.

    JFK escalated the entire Cuba situation until Khrushchev pulled back. I tend to give Khrushchev more credit for de-escalating the Cuban missile crisis than I do JFK. JFK was just lucky that Khrushchev was a Communist reformer and could stand up to his generals.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I used to leave Reagan off that list but Reagan just grew government too much.

    I always gave him credit for sending weapons to Afghanis to fight the Russians and pushing the USSR to implode.

    Reagan was just too much of a Democrat neocon.

    Trump just has not made the big mistakes like the other presidents on that list. Trump's positives as President are just too hard to ignore. If Trump can get a few more originalists on the SCOTUS, his good choices will be hard to tear down.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    MAGA!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Maga

  • JesseAz||

    Simple is your defining attribute.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's all about intentions. The left has good intentions, which means that bad results aren't their fault. Not only that, but anyone who disagrees with them must have bad intentions. After all, how could they not? The left has good intentions, and good intentions always yield good results. If someone disagrees then they not only have bad intentions, but they want bad results. Kulaks, wreckers, sabateurs and all that.

  • Horny Lizard||

    There's some a stale thinking around here. Ya'll need to talk in specifics not this vague "the left" bullshit.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Shut up Lefty.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Ya'll need to talk in specifics not this vague "the left" bullshit.""

    Generalization fallacies are all the rage. Look how the term Nazi gets thrown around.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    To be fair, socialists have been trying to distance themselves for decades from Nazis being called the socialists that they are.

  • Qsl||

    I think it is more disturbing than that. The left essentially has no answer to Trump. As it is, much of Trump's policy prescriptions are straight out of the 70s democratic party. He could offer universal healthcare tomorrow, and all the left could do is mention Nazi Germany did the same. He has effectively neutered the left by giving them most anything the could have asked for (while taking all the credit for it), leaving them scrambling to come up with platforms that won't be co-opted later (and oftentimes a complete 180 from democrats just a few years before). He sets the agenda, and all the left can do cluck at what they could never hope accomplish.

    As it is, the most staunch ideological opponents to Trump are from within his own party. These are sad times for the less is more crowd as while the major parties are plotting new trajectories, they are left out in the cold.

  • BYODB||

    There's a lot of truth here, and I've stated much the same myself over the past two years.

    Trump is a Democrat from before Democrats completely lost their minds, and they have absolutely no idea how to counter that beyond loudly shrieking. That doesn't make Trump correct, it makes the Democrats unhinged.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Banning electric power plants was a real hit as a 2016 Dem platform plank.

  • perlchpr||

    Which is hilarious, because if you try and defend yourself from accusations of having committed a microaggression with "I didn't intend to offend anyone", you will be told, explicitly, that "intentions don't matter".

  • Rich||

    The Washington Post published an op-ed headlined "It's not wrong to compare Trump's America to the Holocaust."

    Now if only Trump would tweet "It's not wrong to compare The Washington Post to the Holocaust" we'd have parity.

  • ThomasD||

    The slightly more apt (if still totally hyperbolic) comparison would be to note, given how the WaPo never found fault with Obama's letting Russian run over the Ukraine, that the WaPo is like the Holodomor.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I'd say "It's totally apt to compare WaPo to Pravda," but that wouldn't be hyperbolic.

  • Number 2||

    How about, "It's not wrong to compare the Washington Post to the Völkischer Beobachter?"

  • perlchpr||

    "It's not wrong to compare The Washington Post to Pravda."

  • Rhywun||

    The Washington Post published ...

    Maybe if you ignore it, it will go away.

  • Dadlobby||

    Maybe a little less worry about what EVERY country is doing to every other country (that they can) and a little more worry about us killing other countries leaders and then having to pay for decades of "nation building" and the fact we pay for this by borrowing against future generations?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    You may remember how liberals lectured Americans after 9/11 about appropriate ways to deal with terrorists. For the most part, it amounted to saying, "Don't kill them! That's exactly what they want!" Well, it's certain that this is what Putin wants. Few things destabilize democracy more than imbuing a foreign strongman from a second-rate power with the imaginary capability of deciding our elections.

    That one hit awfully close to home. The janitor must have been approving editorials last night. Haven't seen much of harsanyi around here lately. Wonder why that is?

  • BYODB||

    And, amusingly, liberals still haven't changed their tune when it comes to terrorists but have done a full 180 on Russia. Curious.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Russians overthrew communism. With any luck they'll help us overthrow fascists who call other socialists "liberals." There are elected libertarians in Russia, but in "our" client-states libertarians can't even get ballot access--yet. Communism is fast losing votes in Russia, and actuarial tables diminished the number of christianofascists in Germany by 1.8% this past year. These are as positive as the way the LP vote count fits the Fisher-Pry replacement curve, now that our candidates no longer seek to bully women.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Russians did not like the weight of Communism they allowed to happen for over 80 years.

    Russians want Socialism which is just the right amount of government power and tiny freedoms.

    Any 'Libertarians" in elected positions in Russia are tokens.

  • NashTiger||

    The Woketarians were sleeping on this column

  • Heraclitus||

    We are stuck in a cycle of hyperbole much like the Israelis and Palestinians are stuck in a cycle of violence. The Dems are lobbing rhetorical bombs because this is still payback for all the hyperbole surrounding the Obama administration. The 2 1/2 year investigation over a little political spin after Benghazi pretty much sealed the deal. Then came emailgate. Oh, we just have to have those emails. Why? Because something bad might be there. Well, we just have to have the notes on Trump's meeting with Putin. Why? Well, you get the picture.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The Lefties are lobbing rhetorical bombs because they are desperate to get rid of Trump.

    Incompetence in Benghazi involved 4 Americans dying and 10 wounded for no good reason. Clinton had to shift blame from herself, even though she was directly in charge of diplomatic stations.

    Clinton mishandled classified information, which would get anyone else sent to prison.

    Those are facts.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    She was grossly negligent with classified information.

  • Don't look at me.||

    But she had good intentions.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    So were all the other people sent to prison for mishandling classified information.

  • Number 2||

    You have a point. This is the level to which political discourse has descended. The two parties have come to realize that to win elections they need only to provoke their respective bases and can ignore everyone else. Hence the hyperbolic silliness. Hence the reduction of political debate to the level of Twitter wars.

    Which is one reason I say that although Donald Trump may not be the president America really wanted, he is the president that America deserves.

  • ThomasD||

    Benghazi was the disastrous culmination of the disastrous Libya fiasco.

    People died. Lots of Libyans, and some Americans, including an Ambassador.

    That's rather a big deal.

    When (not if) Trump generates a feckless screw up of those proportions, and nakedly lies about it all, then we can talk about proportionality.

    Until then your equivalence rings rather false.

  • Number 2||

    In fairness, I don't think he's arguing equivalency, although I could be wrong. I took his point as: the Democrat reaction to the Trump-Putin meeting is the tit-for-tat payback for the Republican reaction to Benghazi.

  • ThomasD||

    I would agree if not for the "...over a little political spin..." phrase. the media made it about the spin, and only the spin, because that's all they wanted it to be about.

    The Libya intervention was was a foreign relations fiasco and remains an ongoing humanitarian disaster as well.

  • ThomasD||

    It's pretty much the rhetorical equivalent of noting that Hillary's husband was impeached 'over sex.'

  • CptNerd||

    "Over sex?" "I don't think I'll ever get over sex."

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    You should get married. It'll quickly cure that problem.

  • DesigNate||

    I'm not sure I'd classify lying about the cause of an attack on one of our Embassy's, arresting a guy for his speech to make it look like you're being proactive, and then saying shit like "At this point, what difference does it make", as spin.

  • D-Pizzle||

    "Oh, we just have to have those emails. Why? Because something bad might be there"

    I suppose you're one of those people that actually believes that Hillary had a secret, home-based email server "for convenience;" that Hillary's deleted 30k+ emails were about wedding plans and yoga routines; that Platte River used bleachbit on Hillary's email server 2 weeks after those records were under Congressional subpoena because one of their employees happened to remember exactly then that he was instructed to do so months before; that the Brooklyn bridge can be bought for bargain basement prices; that South Central Florida real estate offers outstanding investment opportunities; etc...

  • Paulpemb||

    Maybe he's just one of the Washington, D.C. 'journalists' who thought that Hillary declaring that oversight and accountability laws didn't apply to her was 'kind of badass'.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""I suppose you're one of those people that actually believes that Hillary had a secret, home-based email server "for convenience;""'

    That part I do believe. The convenience of deleting information that may get subpoenaed or out your corruption if came to light.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Was anyone really surprised that the media would jump on any meeting between Putin and Trump as proof of their fever dreams?

    It really didnt matter what was said or what happened, the Lefties are so desperate to stop the rollback that they make what Russia intel services do something that no other country does.

    We have never had Israeli attacks, North Korean attacks, Chinese attacks, German attacks, Italian attacks....

  • Cynical Asshole||

    All such attacks, they say, are intended to destabilize "our democracy."

    At this point any time I hear anyone talking about the attack on "our democracy," I interpret that to really mean "Those dastardly Russkies cost our queen her rightful place on the throne!"

  • Jerryskids||

    "It's not wrong to compare Trump's America to the Holocaust."

    I don't see how you can argue with that, you can compare anything to anything. Is it wrong to compare a bologna sandwich to filet mignon, a Maserati to a Yugo, the Sistine Chapel to an outhouse? You compare the two and conclude that, while there's some superficial similarities, the two things are vastly different. Having somebody give you a hundred dollars is better than them giving you a punch in the mouth. How would you know that's true unless you mentally compared getting a hundred dollars to getting a punch in the mouth? Is it wrong to compare getting a hundred dollars to getting a punch in the mouth?

  • JesseAz||

    Youve never had a week old bologna w a side of room temperature yellow mustard I see.

  • Sevo||

    Harsanyi is just now figuring out that TDS is epidemic among the US punditry?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    No, Reason is just now getting around to publishing him.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Harsanyi is just now figuring out that TDS is epidemic among the US punditry?

    More like he's finally getting over the bad case of TDS he had.

  • JesseAz||

    He still has it, but only the Reason approved levels of it.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    All such attacks, they say, are intended to destabilize "our democracy."

    They'd better laugh when they say that. Sure, they constantly engage in public masturbation over the glories of "our democracy". But what do they do when the people vote in what they regard as the "wrong" way? Yep. They look for ways to short-circuit "our democracy". It suddenly isn't so sacred anymore.

  • NashTiger||

    Other than the Electoral College, Article I , Article II, Amendment I, Amendment II, Amendments IV, V, VI, VIII, IX, and X, and about 40 of the States, they love the crap out of our democracy

  • mtrueman||

    "Russia attempted to meddle in our domestic affairs, and there should be retribution and condemnation for those efforts. But our electoral system was not undermined."

    It seems more likely that domestic actors were doing their best to interfere with elections. Strangely, Trump doesn't seem interested in uncovering the mystery, even though he himself claimed on many occasions that the elections were rigged.

  • JesseAz||

    How come we are only focused on Russia and not china? Those pseky European endorsements for Hillary was meddling too. How come we aren't allowed to investigate for voter fraud which is direct meddling?

  • mtrueman||

    "How come we aren't allowed to investigate for voter fraud which is direct meddling?"

    Trump doesn't want these investigations, I suppose. He's in charge of the department of justice and swamp cleaning in general.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Funny how the current president never goes after the previous in a meaningful way.

    I suspect a dem may run on the we need to investigate Trump even more. But it will quietly disappear.

    Remember all those investigations Obama did of Bush?

  • mtrueman||

    Over in corrupt South Korea, no less than two previous presidents are eating their meals from metal plates. ie they are in prison over corruption. Instead of justice, Americans are palmed off with the spectacle of scandal.

    Still, we may be witnessing something of a 'soft coup' against Trump, a la Brazil or Paraguay, and it will be interesting watching it develop. Kennedy got it hard, and the last soft one was against Nixon, perhaps.

  • MikeP2||

    Actually, Trump did pursue election investigations, but was thwarted by States that refused to provide the requested information.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    "Russia attempted to meddle in our domestic affairs, and there should be retribution and condemnation for those efforts."

    Should there be retribution or should we just tighten up our systems? Though guys like Matt Welch prefer to take what-about-ism off the table, which is usually a good practice, I think it is dishonest to pretend that Washington doesn't engage in plenty of unwarranted meddling of its own all over the globe. Probably in Russia too.

    Washington has money, bombs, and a CIA with a long history of creating havoc around the globe. Don't be so naive to think that other countries won't want to tinker with that power. Can you blame Russia if they preferred the lesser of evils (in their regard) in Washington?

    The better approach, IMO, is for Washington to quit its own meddling abroad and work to prevent security failures at home.

    Besides, what did the Russians actually do? They didn't meddle with the results. If they did what they're accused of, they just shed some light on how corrupt Hillary and the DNC are.

    Does this make me a Russian bot?

  • DesigNate||

    We're all Russian bots.

    And rabid Trump supporters, apparently.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Besides, what did the Russians actually do? They didn't meddle with the results."'

    Every report I've seen from FBI or an Intel agency, the word attempt was present. Which infers failure.

  • mtrueman||

    "What a shame the American Fake News folks just refuse to do investigative reporting anymore, especially if it throws any shade whatsoever on Hillary or Obama. "

    No need to rely on dubious American sources. Have you checked the reports in the foreign press?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I do. It is often very illuminating.

  • Lester224||

    Yes the rhetoric is hyperbolic. However, kissing Putin's ass and inviting a 3rd rate economic power to a summit looks very weak. It makes it look like Russia has something on Trump. Putin is an ex-KGB dictator shark. Trump loves him. Why? Because he's "strong". Putin has gotten rid of all the "fake media" in his country, just like Trump would like to do. Being Putin is Trump's wet dream.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Being Putin is Trump's wet dream.""

    No way Trump is going to spend that much time in the gym.

  • Rockabilly||

    Get a grip and chill man.

    The deep state wants war.

    Trump is playing them with some weird mind games.

    I love how the CIA/NSA/DEA,FBI are freaking out along with their progressive communist allies.

    These ladies are the bomb = chill bro, have a refreshing beverage and smoke a bowl.

    The Surfrajettes

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAyeVjnJg9E

  • M.L.||

    This is sick stuff. There are things to be outraged about, and they have to do with what Trump's opponents are doing.

    1. Mueller offered Tony Podesta IMMUNITY to testify against Manafort. Podesta is the bigger crook, but the Mueller gig is a partisan hatchet job and Podesta is a Dem bosom buddy while Manafort had the bad luck to get tenuously involved with Trump. Some justice!

    2. Communist filth and ex-CIA director John Brennan is now an MSNBC screamer. This is a guy who flatly lied to America about killing civilians with drone strikes, spying on Congress, and other things. He says our President is guilty of treason, which is punishable by the death penalty. He maintains that the intelligence community should violate its charter and withhold information from the President. So far so good, ho-hum. But apparently, this guy currently retains his top level security clearance to access sensitive intelligence. What sense does that make? And we wonder how there are constant leaks? Oh, and this applies to James Clapper and Michael Hayden as well, who are both similarly unhinged.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    > Russia attempted to meddle in our domestic affairs, and there should be retribution and condemnation for those efforts.

    PROVE it muthafukah! Of STFU.

    We now know that it was Seth Rich that LEAKED (not hacked) the emails from the DNC, NOT THE RUSSIANS, and that some Russian company bought a few thousand Facebook ads that were shown to be ineffective (free speech).

    Stop with the DNC talking points/fake news!!

  • tzx4||

    Elect a clown, expect a circus.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Elect a libertarian-ish president, expect attacks to prevent the rollback.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dumbfuck Hihnsano screeches about government teat sucking while his mouth is around the whole breast.

  • John B. Egan||

    'Trump's ham-fisted, misguided, and transparent Putin-coddling is not tantamount to sedition.'.... Maybe.. Maybe not. Who knows? Seeing as Trump insists on meeting with know spies (Kisliak) and ex-KGB Putin behind closed doors and apparently making policy agreements without notifying the 'whole Congress' (not just a select number of GOP)... then he has overstepped his Constitutional authority:

    Section 8

    1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

    11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

    Congress has yielded some of these rights and should take them back. The presidency is not a Kingdom. In any event, Trump is not qualified mentally or morally to be one anyway.

  • Taito7||

    Didn't they attack America's election and infrastructure? Wouldn't that make Putin an enemy of the state? Siding with an enemy of the state over your own hand picked intelligence chiefs, not only is in complete contrast with logic, reason and facts, but it's also against American Values.

  • RodgerMitchell||

    David Harsanyi tells us not to worry. After all, it's only the President of the United States who has been compromised by our enemy. It's not as though it's someone important.

    So what if Trump will do whatever Putin wants in order to get that Trump Tower Moscow built and to keep those hooker/pee tapes hidden.

    Here's a thought. To demonstrate to David Harsanyi how cool we are, and to improve efficiency, let's eliminate the middleman and simply elect Putin to be our President.

    Will that do it, Harsanyi?

  • mtrueman||

    This could be a US intelligence operation against Trump. There may be no substance to the Trump the tool angle. We have no way of knowing, given that the operation(s) are cloaked in secrecy.

  • DRees||

    In a way, I agree with Rand Paul. It's better for us to be talking with our adversaries than shooting missiles at them. As Paul points out, there is indeed plenty of precedent for doing so--Ike, JFK, Reagan, etc. It's just that I don't trust the guy who's doing the talking for our side this time around.

  • JDS1||

    Have you read the Foreign Agent Registration Act?

    If you think there should be laws against bribing the President, don't pretend you don't see the problem with Russian meddling.

    A lot of the "libertarians" and Trumpista supporters I see making the "everyone does it" argument miss the fact that campaign contributions from domestic contributors have to be disclosed to FEC to avoid corruption or the appearance of corruption. FOREIGN individuals CAN advocate in US elections or for changes to law or policy IF THEY DISCLOSE UNDER FARA. People getting paid to advocate for foreign governments are free to do so AS LONG AS THEY REGISTER and thereby publicly disclose that they are advocating for a foreign country. The danger FARA seeks to prevent is foreign money being used to advance a candidate and not having that disclosed, which would presumptively cause that candidate to be unreasonably favorable to the foreign interest.

    So our regime allows that money equals speech. It just says money can also facilitate bribery ,so you at least have to disclose. FARA is particularly important because persons outside the US are not subject to our jurisdiction and can't be prosecuted for bribery. We can only prosecute people here. That is why disclosure under FARA is so important.

    You seem to be trying to confuse and distort the real issue, which is that TrumpCo has the motive, means, and opportunity to regularly provide US intelligence information to Russia.

  • JDS1||

    It's also quite a spectacle, seeing a bunch of libertarians reassure each other that the emperor is wearing clothes. You're thoroughly discrediting yourselves in the long term.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    it's been a while since these threads were dominated by libertarians.
    Nowadays, Contards/fauxbertarians like loveconstitution and john are here pushing Trumpamania.
    I have no idea what happened to all the genuine libertarians.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dumbfuck Hihnsano the blowhard wonders why no one wants to follow his brand of neocon goobertarianism following a WER MUH TRUE LIBERTARIANZ lament by No Brains Penalty.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dumbfuck Hihnsano screeches another blowhard bitchfit.

  • JDS1||

    If you're saying Reason is not libertarian, I would agree. it's not just the shitposting alt-right idiots in the comments section, it's this intellectually dishonest article. Reason isn't libertarian anymore, it's softcore TrumpCo.

  • JDS1||

    Incomprehensible.

  • JDS1||

    Are you a bot?

  • NashTiger||

    Math - Logic = Hinh

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Maga

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Says one of the recent phalanx of DU trolls infesting these comments.....

  • JDS1||

    Not sure what makes me a snowflake. Never seen an alt right bitch I couldn't destroy IRL

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Maga

  • letters2mary||

    The Helsinki "moment" was not the finest in this administration's brief tenure nor in any administration's, for that matter. However, although an epic gaffe, recovery from which will consume no small amount of energy, it was not the end of the world, of truth, or of diplomatic relations, as lamented by various prophets of doom.

    Yet the hyperbole keeps on coming and coming. It is aggressive and assaultive while at the same time vapid and lacking foundation in any sense of history.

    So it is a great relief, no matter how disingenuous it may be, that a former President notes that it may not be a good idea to be assaultive and aggressive simply because of the color of a person's skin or their gender. I think I heard something to that effect some years ago. One wonders if this message will be heard over the din.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    A non-Lefty media would accept that people mis-speak and just ask questions to clarify it was a gaffe.

    An objective media would ask serious questions of all politicians and bureaucrats to make sure the People are alerted about tyrannical government. Plus, they make good money doing so.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dumbfuck Hihnsano screeches about Russians while invoking McCarthyism.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Gosh, David's screeching against "liberals" reads a lot like Anthony Comstock's scolding of those who objected to ten-year terms for mailing a letter. This article is right up there with "Imperiled Innocents" and "Traps for the Young."

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Maga

  • loveconstitution1789||

    MAGA!

  • Raphael D.||

    What recovery? The longest most anemic recovery on record. 1% growth. Low workforce participation rates. Stagnated wages. Decreased manufacturing. The only growth in the economy was the addition of more government jobs.
    When Obama took office the really important figure, debt to GDP stood at roughly 65% -- he took that to 106% by his final year in office, dropping our credit rating in the process. In other words, Obama's debt exceeded the income capability of the nation. That ratio is now finally dropping. And to be clear, when Obama racked up more debt than all the presidents before him, combined, he tied all future administrations to paying interest on that debt. The largest area of growth in our federal spending.
    The supposedly unbiased CBO, has been a poor predictor of actual performance. It's projections on the Trump administration put growth at under 2%, the President has nearly doubled that growth rate.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Maga

  • Mulika Pesa||

    BO: The brilliant final undisputed leader of the free world #LLOFW

  • Leyroy Brown||

    Business Negotiations 101
    1. Flattery opens many a door especially with important people.
    2. Never begin the name-calling and insults until it is clear that nothing will come from further talks.

    What would have been accomplished by Trump calling Putin a liar and a murderous thug to his face in a press conference being broadcast to the world? If he had done so the diplomatic door would have been slammed shut and all bridges burned.

    The TDS crowd has truly lost their ability to reason. "Tintin the stench of the mightily proglodyte filled the air in Helsinki."

  • Raphael D.||

    Except that Obama's negotiations with Iran, his payments to them, his suppression of intel, etc may have actually been treason. Especially when one considers that there have been thousands of US troops injured or killed by Iranian forces. We know that Obama stopped an active investigation that was tracking Hezbollah smuggling and money laundering operations on our very border. We know he refused to expedite a known arms trafficker and terrorist held by the Czechs. Why? Every action Obama took showed a loyalty to Iran's revolutionary government and the globalist.

    Trump and Putin do like each other, but it is more because they both see the threat that the globalist pose in their quest for a world order where everything is dictated by the Merkel's, Microns, and Soros of the world.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online