Ever since the Clinton campaign got busted for lying about having paid for the Russia dossier, Republicans have been screaming, “Scandal!” and Democrats have been saying it’s no big deal.
Or, in other words: Each group is having the exact opposite reaction to the dossier news as it did to the news that some members of Team Trump met with Russians who claimed to have opposition research on Hillary, despite their previous claims to the contrary.
When the latter story broke in July, liberal pundits gave it wall-to-wall coverage, saying that seeking opposition research from a foreign adversary is never okay, that the changing narratives indicated something sinister, and that Donald Trump himself must have been involved.
Republicans, on the other hand, went with the “So what?” defense: So what if the Trump Campaign’s stories changed? It turned out that the meeting was just about adoption policy, anyway. No harm, no foul! Opposition research is normal. If it were my father, I’d have done the same thing! Donald Trump says he didn’t even know! Can we stop talking about Russia? The liberal media is obsessed!
Now, conservatives are insisting that the dossier story is serious, and liberals are singing a different tune: So what if the Clinton campaign’s stories changed? Hillary lost anyway. No harm, no foul! Opposition research is normal. If I were on that campaign, I’d have done the same thing! We don’t even know if Hillary Clinton knew! Can we stop talking about Hillary Clinton? The conservative media is obsessed!
It must be pretty easy to be a partisan pundit right about now. Apparently, all you have to do is determine what the other side argued about the last shady opposition-research story and just start making the same argument about this shady opposition-research story! In July, Joy Reid slammed the notion that anyone could find it “perfectly ok” to “seek oppo from a foreign adversary.” Now, she’s tweeting that, “Only the American media could make a scandal out of opposition research.”
Hilarious, isn’t it? We’ve seen such a lack of self-awareness on this issue that I honestly wonder whether some of these people even remember what they were saying just a few months ago. Not just liberals, but conservatives, too — take a look at what Donald Trump Jr. himself is now tweeting about the Clinton campaign:
That was a fast change of attitude! Weird how that happens. pic.twitter.com/1WutD4wMn4
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 26, 2017
Seriously? How could he tweet that without noticing that the tweet itself displays a stark “change of attitude” on these issues on his own part? And why is no one even talking about it?
I’ll tell you why: Because everyone is too busy defending their own side and attacking the other to stop and consider what’s actually true. People complain about how often politicians lie, but the reason that they do it is because we let them. They know they can count on their tribe to rationalize it if they get caught.
Here’s a radical idea: It’s bad that the Clinton campaign changed stories about the dossier and it’s bad that Team Trump change stories about the meeting. If you’re upset about one and not the other, then you’re not really upset about the issue itself — you’re just a partisan pawn spouting propaganda for someone who didn’t care enough about you to tell you the truth in the first place. It’s amazing how many of the same people who would be mad at their friends for lying to them will willingly defend the lies of a total stranger just because of “party allegiance.” It’s disgusting, it’s dangerous, and it’s time to do better.