An editorial in Thursday’s New York Times made hay of a partisan Democratic report concerning alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election: “A Grave Warning on Russian Meddling.” The text box: “Senate Democrats issue the most comprehensive public analysis thus far of Moscow’s war on the West.”
But in order to flay Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans for failing to take the Russian threat seriously, the editorial board has to keep buried its own sneering partisan blindness toward the Russian threat, after Republican Mitt Romney raised the issue against the accomodating Obama administration during the 2012 campaign:
If there has been any benefit from Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, it’s that it has raised awareness about President Vladimir Putin’s broader threat to democracies in Europe and elsewhere.
In the face of complacency from Republicans fearful of what attention to these intrigues might reveal about the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia, Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have issued a report that appears to be the most comprehensive public accounting of Russia’s war on the West.
It drives home the point that the 2016 election, which every American intelligence agency has said involved Russian interference to help elect Donald Trump, is part of a pattern in which Mr. Putin has worked to erode Western institutions and undermine faith in democratic practices.
Few countries in Europe have escaped his malign intrusions. The report should serve as an alert for the United States to work urgently with its allies to protect democracy.
There is a significant impediment, however, and that is President Trump and the congressional leaders who enable him....
The report was produced without Republican input, which gives it a partisan cast it does not deserve, especially since it acknowledges that the threat posed by Mr. Putin existed before the current administration came to office.
But most important is leadership, which so far Mr. Trump has refused to provide. On Twitter, he denounced the Democrats for releasing the report and, once again, said he had not colluded with Moscow. “Russia & the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing,” he wrote. He’s right, but he doesn’t realize who is being laughed at.
Speaking of being laughed at: Back on March 29, 2012, New York Times editors sniffed at then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s “shocking lack of knowledge about international affairs,” after Romney called Russia the U.S.’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe”:
Two decades after the end of the cold war, Mitt Romney still considers Russia to be America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe.” His comments display either a shocking lack of knowledge about international affairs or just craven politics. Either way, they are reckless and unworthy of a major presidential contender.
One would think at least an acknowledgement of its embarrassing misjudgment would be in order, but being an enlightened liberal newspaper means never having to say you’re sorry.