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Russia Probe Skepticism Is a Form of Self-Preservation for the Purity Left

No matter how much evidence is produced, they won't admit how serious the attack was. Why? Because they were an integral part of it.

A few days ago, Jonathan Chait dug into the mystery of why so many on the fringe left like Glenn Greenwald refuse to believe Russia successfully waged cyberwarfare against us:

The purest form of this sentiment on the far left is a vein of attacks that are almost indistinguishable from Republican rhetoric about the investigation. The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald has gone frominsisting evidence of Russian interference should be discounted until Robert Mueller produced some indictments to now saying indictments themselves should also be discounted.

Chait also digs into the less onerous denial of the Russia probe; the kind that says the attack happened but that it's not a big deal:

Situated just to the right of this faction is a slightly less extreme form of skepticism about the Russia investigation. It does not justify or deny Russian hacking. Instead it criticizes liberals for caring too much about Russia, and posits that the Russia fixation is somehow preventing the left from prosecuting a populist case against Trump.

Chait comes to the possible conclusion these people feel the attention the Russia probe commands is distracting from their favored line of attacks on Trump.

Possible, but allow me to offer my alternative.

During the election, most, if not all, of the people currently insisting that Russia's attack either did not happen, did not make a difference, or that we're paying too much attention to it were the same people that spent all of their free time tearing down Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Even after Bernie lost the primary and contest was between Hillary Clinton and a white nationalist fascist, they continued their scorched earth war against Hillary. These are the people that were targeted by Russian propaganda and the most likely to promulgate it.

As Driftglass and BlueGal of The Professional Left podcast have repeatedly pointed out, some of them surely thought that Hillary was still going to win so they were free to bash her to their heart's content. She would still be president and they would beef up their anti-establishment credentials by sticking it to that establishment bitch.

Others thought we'd be better off with Trump because of the Underpants Gnome Theory of Progressive Utopia (1. Defeat Democrats 2. ??? 3. Progressive Utopia). Susan Sarandon falls into this category. They were in love with the idea of a revolution paid for in glorious blood and suffering. Not their blood and suffering, of course but any price was worth paying. As long as someone else was paying it.

The last group, which includes Greenwald, truly and deeply loathed the United States and Hillary Clinton to the point on blind hysteria. Here's a quote from Katherine Krueger that Chait uses to exemplify the resistance to the Russia Probe:

It’s worth scrutinizing what people are really mad about when they tweet things like this. Are they most mad that Trump is siding against the American national intelligence community, which has a bloody legacy of influencing elections abroad when it suits its own interests and trampling its own citizens’ civil liberties? Are they angry that Trump continually refuses to admit black and white truth staring him in the face, which would give Clinton even a second of solace? Or are they most inflamed at the notion that the international order is shifting away from a place where American might comes first and must be deferred to in all matters of war, peace, and beyond around the world? Just some thoughts to ponder.

This is such a mishmash of nonsense it's hard to believe it's serious. One can be critical of the intelligence community and still be outraged at Trump attacking it with obvious criminal intent. She's literally putting her legitimate concerns on the same moral level as Trump's. Worse, she's dismissive because if it would make Hillary feel better then why bother even if it's true? And just to top it off, she reminds her readers that she regards the US as the source of all evil in the world so maybe knocking it down a few pegs isn't so terrible. I can only assume she's not one of the millions of of people whose lives are being destroyed by Trump's white nationalist policies.

How nice for her.

These are not rational counterarguments. These, and the rest of the denials and dismissal, are desperate attempts to evade responsibility.

The ones who assumed Hillary would win cannot acknowledge they contributed to her loss. They cannot, even for an instant, admit they were played for suckers or made a mistake. The only person to blame for losing the election is Hillary and no other explanation will be accepted, ever.

They'll grudgingly admit that Russia did...something but it wasn't important. The important thing is to get back to bashing the Democratic Party because they're corrupt and evil and not Bernie and blablabla.

The ones that have discovered putting a sociopathic white nationalist fascist in charge was a terrible idea cannot admit their mistake, either. Turns out step two in the Underpants Gnome Theory of Progressive Utopia is undoing the last 50 years of progress in American and locking that regression into place for another generation or two. Their guilt is even worse. At least the first group didn't actually want Trump to win.

The last group is the worst because they're perfectly happy Russia attacked us. They'll keep denying it because don't see it as a problem. For them, the downfall of America, the Great Satan, is the goal. We are, after all, the very worst thing to ever happen to the world. Sure, if America topples, the world will be thrown into chaos but, afterwards, everything will be much better. Maybe! It's the Underpants Gnome Theory on a global scale pushed by people who are, you guessed it, not going to be the ones dying in the streets.

How nice for them.

When you listen to someone on the fringe left arguing that the Russia probe is a distraction, listen carefully. It's a good bet the undercurrent of that argument will be more critical of the Democratic Party than it is of Trump or the GOP. At a time when literal Nazis are marching in the streets trying to seize power, there's a faction of the fringe left that is obsessed with preventing Trump from being held accountable for the greatest political crime in American history. I'm not going to go down the rabbit hole and suggest that they're Russian operatives (although Greenwald's deep ties to Russian front Wikileaks raises a lot of uncomfortable questions), but at the end of the day, if they're doing the same work whether out of guilt or because they're useful idiots, the result is the same: They're helping make us vulnerable to continued attacks.

For that reason alone, these are not people that should have a place in the conversation. They are not arguing in good faith and they're poisoning the well of public opinion for selfish reasons. If I wanted that, I'd watch Fox News.

Oh, wait...

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