See. when we do it, it’s ethical.
It’s small wonder that the rest of the world sees the United States as the most arrogant nation imaginable. Hot on the heals of elected officials from both parties declaiming the outrageous conduct of Russia to “interfere in an American election,” with Democrats, depending on which excuse has been chalked on the blackboard as Hillary’s excuse du jour, even claiming that Vladamir Putin’s e-machinations stole the election, President Trump endorsed far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. Oh, as usual with this President, it was a confusing endorsement with a touch of deceit: in an interview with The Associated Press, Trump said although he was not offering an endorsement, Le Pen is “strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France.” In other words, he endorsed her by saying she was the best candidate. The translation of Trump’s statement: “I won’t endorse her, but I’m endorsing her.”
Two weeks later, ex-President Obama directly and formally endorsed Le Pen’s opponent, Emmanuel Macron, saying a video announcing his support..
“I know that you face many challenges, and I want all of my friends in France to know how much I am rooting for your success.Because of how important this election is, I also want you to know I am supporting Emmanuel Macron to lead you forward. En March! Vive la France!”
Also typical, also unfortunate.
Obama’s latest exploits should be called his Hypocrisy Tour: first the man who led the party that condemned the corruption of big money in politics immediately cashes in witb a staggering post-presidency book deal and two $400,000 speaking fees, and now the icon of the party that has been shaking its fist at the skies about foreign interference in U.S. elections openly interferes in the election of an American ally. …because, you see, when we do it, it’s a good thing.
This shouldn’t be hard to grasp. Any efforts by a foreign country, government, official, leaders, former leaders, corporations, organizations or media organs to influence the results of another nation’s elections are wrong, per se and always, no exceptions.
Some forms of outside and illicit influence are worse than others, but they all are wrong: endorsements, contributions, fake news, hacking…all of it. This should be obvious, and it is not a partisan observation. The refusal to admit it, however, IS partisan. The United States cannot protest credibly when its elections are messed with as long as its leaders and others persist in interfering with the democracy of other nations themselves. It doesn’t matter if the meddler is a former President who has been anointed with an unearned, permanent presumption of virtue regardless of reality, or a current President whose conduct is automatically assumed to be sinister by those unalterably biased against him. It is wrong in either case, or any other.
This embodies an international application of the Golden Rule. Democratic elections are nobody’s business but the citizens of the nation holding them. The United States resents outside interference with our elections—some Democrats called the Russian involvement with letting us know just how corrupt the Clinton campaign was the equivalent of an act of war—so we should understand why for us to do the same is similarly wrong.
I admit it: I trolled my Angry Left Facebook friends with this post a couple of days ago:
Barack Obama just endorsed Macron in the French election. Boy, don’t you just hate it when foreign governments and officials try to influence elections?
Was that wrong?
As I knew I would, I was immediately bombarded with rationalizations, spin, and the unmistakable sounds of those hoisted on their own petard. “Obama’s just a private citizen!” was the go-to lie. Right. Just a private citizen like you or me, whose endorsement video was run in its entirety on CNN and other news outlets and got more media coverage than the President’s endorsement. An ex-President is not “just a private citizen” as long as he has influence and power, and continues to use it. “The resistance” regards Obama as the last “legitimate” U.S. President. Then there is this: what ordinary private citizen publicly endorses anyone? By definition, endorsements come from those who think they can have an impact on an election by their announced support.
That leads to one of my favorite protests: Obama was trying to influence the French election,, but he wasn’t interfering with it. Aren’t you impressed that Bill Clinton is one of my Facebook friends?
Another theme was the always popular, “With all the other ethical outrages going on, this is the worst thing you can think of?” You all know how much I appreciate that one: “A isn’t wrong because B is more wrong, and besides why don’t you criticize what I find unethical…hey, look over there!”
Embodying what I think is the real logic of this hypocrisy was my left-leaning sister, who said, “This election in France is special, and it’s important to defeat Le Pen.” Ah! The same reasoning the New York Times employed to justify tossing journalism ethics into the trash and actively campaign for Hillary Clinton!
Didn’t anyone tell these people that standards you ignore whenever it is convenient aren’t standards at all?