... reminding me of the old Mick Jagger questions: "Am I hard enough? Am I rough enough?... Ain't I tough enough?"
I don't know who Mick was talking to, but Chuck was talking to Robert Gates on "Meet the Press" yesterday. And Robert Gates said:
I think that Putin saw the United States withdrawing from around the world. I think actually the problem has been that President Obama's actions often have not matched his rhetoric. His rhetoric has often been pretty tough. But then there's been no follow up and no action. And if you combine that with red lines that have been crossed, demands that Assad step down with no plan to actually figure out how to make that happen, the withdrawal from the Middle East, from Iraq and Afghanistan and essentially the way it was done, I think it sent a signal that the US was in retreat. It was always going to be complicated to withdraw from those wars without victory without sending the signal we were withdrawing more broadly from a global leadership role. I think some of the things that have been done have accentuated that impression around the world. And I think Putin felt that he could take advantage of that.Chuck Todd came back reminding Gates of the time President Obama got tough in his own special way by telling Putin to "cut it out." Obama himself claimed that it was effective to tell Putin to "cut it out," but Todd, for all his bolstering of Obama, said it was "obvious that lecture didn't do anything." Todd, wondering how we should retaliate, asked Gates to "characterize" exactly what it was that the Russians did. Gates said:
Well, I would characterize it as a thinly disguised, covert operation intended to discredit the American election and to basically allow the Russians to communicate to the rest of the world that our elections are corrupt, incompetent, rigged, whatever and therefore no more honest than anybody else's in the world including theirs. And, you know, the US oughta get off its high horse in telling other nations how to conduct their elections and criticizing those elections and so on. Whether it or not it was intended to help one another candidate, I don't know. But I think it clearly was aimed at discrediting our elections and I think it was aimed certainly at weakening Mrs. Clinton.I still don't understand how our getting to read email that was intended to be kept private corrupts the election. There are always disclosures of secrets before an election. We always know some things and not others, and the information flow is not organized and orchestrated. What is the big deal? If, as Gates said, the Russians' idea was to get out the message that our elections are corrupt, incompetent, rigged, why are we helping him? Wouldn't the strongest defense against Putin be to act as if nothing of any significance happened, and he's a puny little man?
Podesta's dumb assistants got phished. That's all. And we got to read some real email that meant not very much. Why are our news media and the Democrats bending over backwards to pump up Putin? Why are they doing something that must delight the hell out of him?