If Barack Obama Had Done What Donald Trump Did

I’ll go along with your test, Stephen. If Barack Obama had done what Donald Trump did, which was to pursue a business project in Russia, meet with Russians, and suggest he would soften U.S. policy toward Russia, the right-wing media echo chamber would have jumped all over him. It would’ve further fueled their largely racist delusions and given them a perfect theory for red-baiting Obama.

I would have had trouble with the nature in which Republicans attacked Obama, but that does not mean I would totally be okay with how Obama used his presidential campaign to enrich himself and create more opportunities for business deals. (Of course, Obama would never get to build his Obama Tower project in Moscow so in the long run that would undermine some of the right-wing criticism.)

My journalism would feature principled critiques of Obama’s politics and policies, which is what was the focus of my journalism and under Obama.

When Obama’s second term was coming to an end, I published a series on the legacy he would leave, when it came to war, targeted assassinations, indefinite military detention, decriminalizing torture, and the crackdown on whistleblowers.

All of these expansions of presidential authority are and have been available to Trump during his first term in office. That Trump has these powers is far more dangerous than any possibility that he may not be sufficiently hostile toward Russia or that some Russians took advantage of his campaign to escalate their information warfare against the U.S. government.

I’ve remained focused on critiquing the dangerous politics and policies of the Trump administration.

You add:

Republicans are perfectly fine with breaking the rules and rigging the system if their guys are the ones doing it, and they’re perfectly happy hamstringing, lying about and framing someone if it’s the other team’s guys and they’ve deluded themselves into believing that this is perfectly acceptable because if the Republican “ideals” (… *erp* … sorry, threw up in my mouth a little) are, in their mind, best for America, then being a blind Republican is perfectly okay.

I cannot help but read your comment and think you believe I am making a Republican argument in support of Trump to criticize the boosters of Russiagate, as if I am somehow on Trump’s team. I ask what evidence you have for this.

Perhaps, you see all critiques of Clinton Democrats as aiding and abetting Republicans. It is possible you think journalists or columnists should not put forward essays that challenge their politics because it will divide Democrats at a time when everyone should unify against Trump. Is that the view you share?

I got as far as the 2nd paragraph before the entire article’s credibility disintegrated. […]

So your presumption was that the Democrats were looking for* a sinister excuse for losing and then used it to rally support against Trump**. Interesting slant.

“Interesting slant” is one way to condescendingly describe it. Provocative and intended to promote further conversation would appropriately describe my essay as well.

Sadly, the core argument of my essay, which is well-sourced, clashed so sharply with your worldview that you did not even read it. Which means your entire comment, which I spent time to engage with, only responded seriously to the introduction of my essay. I do not know if you read any other paragraphs of what I wrote, which makes it very difficult to take your response too seriously.

Journalist. Writes about politics. Managing editor of Shadowproof.com. Twitter: @kgosztola

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