President Obama is Not Going to Save You From Trump

In terms of the relationship between his White House and the incoming Trump administration, Obama said Friday there was no "squabbling" between them and insisted that a roiling debate over Russia's intrusion into the US election should be confronted on a bipartisan basis....

Despite his assurances, his White House has increasingly been engaged in an escalating rift with Donald Trump's transition team over Moscow's intrusion into the US vote. At the same time, Obama is working to foster a productive relationship with his successor in a bid to influence his presidential decision-making.
That idea is both wise and good, and a welcome change from the near-nuclear language we've been seeing from elements of the left. Good for him.

I also endorse the view that this should be a bipartisan issue, and that we should take steps to identify weaknesses in our voting process and correct them for the future. One of them that seems highly plausible to me is Wretchard's two-step proposal to have paper ballots, plus voter ID laws requiring a secure form of identification.

We should certainly oppose manipulation through information warfare, as well. However, insofar as an adversary sticks to telling the truth, it's hard to be very opposed to that. Lies, distortions, propaganda -- all these things we should oppose. That a foreign government may have access to some uncomfortable truths is not necessarily. We also run intelligence and information operations (even if you doubt RT's claim, cited below, that Hillary Clinton's support of NGOs in Russia was aimed at influencing public confidence in their election process, we certainly have done many such things over the years). Telling uncomfortable truths is something that probably should be part of how we operate with regard to manipulative elections in places like Iran or China. It's hard to object to having it done right back to us.

The better thing would be for the DNC -- and, insofar as they have similar practices, the RNC -- to straighten up and fly right.


E Hines said...

From the cite: ...Obama is working to foster a productive relationship with his successor....

Then, from OP: ...a welcome change from the near-nuclear language we've been seeing from elements of the left.

There's no "welcome change;" it's just a smoke screen. Obama is nakedly and publicly attacking Trump's integrity and American-ness by explicitly accusing him of knowing since last fall that Putin was hacking the Democrats in order to support Trump's election: " I don't know if it was a staff meeting or if he had access to a briefing or he was just basing his assessment on a large number of published reports, but Mr. Trump obviously knew that Russia was engaged in malicious cyberactivity that was helping him and hurting Hillary Clinton's campaign," Earnest said.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

It is a change from calling Republicans "traitors" and calling for the Electoral College to throw the vote to someone else. He continues to refer to Trump as the President Elect, and to reassure everyone that there is going to be a smooth and peaceable transition of power.

That's the very thing the left doesn't want right now. I can't hold it against Obama if he throws them a few bones while doing the thing they hate most, and which he cannot want to do, but that his duty demands of him.

E Hines said...

He's not throwing them any bones; the only change from calling Republicans "traitors" is that he's calling Trump, in particular, a "traitor."

Obama's silence on his fellow Democrats calling for the abuse of the Electoral College--and their explicit death threats against the Electors and their families--demonstrates his approval of that, also.

Eric Hines

Texan99 said...

It is remarkable how quickly we moved from

(1) the White House being completely aware of the Russian hack but considering that it called for no response--don't want to make the Russians angry when we're trying to negotiated deals on Syria or Iran!--to

(2) the White House being shocked, shocked to discover that the Russians were out to get Clinton, to

(3) the White House endorsing the notion that the election was tainted by Russian support of Trump, to

(4) the White House speculating that Trump knew about the plan all along but failed, as a Republican candidate for president, to take the kind of corrective action that one might normally suppose the actual officeholder might be willing and able to take.

How long before they try to claim that Trump knew about the hacks but they did not?

jaed said...

David Frum is already at the point where he's calling Trump a Russian agent, in pretty much so many words.