There were a number of stupid things said at the third and thank God final presidential debate of the 2016 election year, but the hands down stupidest was Hillary Clinton's claim that Donald Trump is a puppet of Russian honcho Vladimir Putin.
For starters, there is no solid evidence that anything of the kind is happening, except the release through Wikileaks of thousands of embarrassing and possible actionable emails from Clinton and her cronies running from insults to criminal conspiracies. The Clinton campaign and the wider Democratic Party are both screaming loudly of Russian interference, which is what people do when they know that the ginned up polls showing her ahead of Donald Trump aren't accurate and she actually is losing.
Second, although she claims that 17 US intelligence officials say Putin is interfering with our election, and that he really, really, really likes Trump more than her – something that any sixth grader would understand as a threat to their class standing – the truth is that starting with the FBI and going outward, the Obama Administration simply isn't trusted and anything they say is highly suspect to most intelligent Americans.
But to hear her go on and on about the Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming was like reverting back to the Cold War days when the Russians really were coming and they really liked the Democrats far better than any Republican. This time around Clinton seems to have taken on the characteristics of infamous Red baiter Joe McCarthy, the late senator from Wisconsin who turned commie hunting into a national pastime.
But McCarthy was a Republican and although he was eviscerated by the 1950s media, which had far fewer communists in key positions than today's media, he also was right. In a famous incident from that time McCarthy, in a speech before Congress held up a list of dozens of suspected communists who he said were working inside the US government.
He was roundly criticized for his comments, but as was later revealed in several books on the Venona Cables, he was right and virtually everyone on his list, nearly 5 dozen I believe, was in fact a communist agent. The Venona Cables were messages transmitted between the Soviet Union and its spies in the US, which the communists thought were immune from decoding.
But through a series of events in WWII, the code was broken and US intelligence agencies began deciphering them, a task that continued until the Jimmy Carter presidency when he ended it. The upshot of the work on the Venona Project was that the identities of many Soviet spies working in the US government including the State Department, the Treasury, the OSS which was the forerunner of the CIA, and even the White House were discovered.
McCarthy didn't live anywhere near long enough to do a victory round on his claims of widespread communist infiltration but it would appear that Hillary Clinton did that for him Wednesday night. She literally looked like a 50's era red baiter, warning of a newly emerging Red Scare, and claiming that Trump is a mere puppet for Putin.
That claim might have had some traction if not for the fact that Trump wants to beef up the US military, the Justice Department and other agencies that would pose a major threat to any Russian attempts at infiltration or manipulation. Putin has pretty much had his way with the Obama Administration, including making Clinton herself look like a world class chump on the international relations, so why would he want to give up on a good thing?
Backing Trump would be a lose-lose situation for Putin because he would be facing an unknown factor who just might get his jollies facing up to the old Russian bear. Clinton on the other hand, well, why not back Clinton? At least she can be manipulated, and quite often wouldn't even know it.
Nonetheless, as asinine as it appeared Clinton's ravings did take me back in time to a much simpler and joyful era, when we knew that the Russians were our enemies seven days a week and nothing was going to change that. It sort of made me feel – young again.
Does anyone remember I Led Three Lives? Now that was a TV show!