President Barack Obama's allies cheered in 2012 when he mocked former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in a presidential debate for asserting that Russia posed the greatest geopolitical threat to the U.S.
Amazingly enough, many of these same people have refashioned themselves since then into wannabe watchmen, warning at every turn that we should remain vigilant against the great Russian Bear.
Hey, it's nice that they've accepted the reality they mocked just a few years ago, but what took them so long?
Consider, for example, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who referred to herself this week as the "Paula Revere" (eye roll) of warning about the Russians.
"I don't think anybody can with a straight face say that the Russians did not set out to influence our election, and they did so," she told late-night host Stephen Colbert. "
"And I am saying as clearly as I can — I feel like I'm a bit of a, you know, ‘Paula Revere,'" Clinton added. "I'm trying to sound the alarm about this."
Is that right, now? This is a strange assertion considering she participated in the Romney pile-on in 2012.
"I think it's somewhat dated to be looking backwards instead of being realistic about where we agree, where we don't agree," Clinton told CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty in 2012 about the Russian question.
"If you take a look at the world today, we have a lot of problems that are not leftovers from the past, but are of the moment," she added. "In many of the areas where we are working to solve problems, Russia has been an ally."
Paula Revere indeed.
Then there's former Obama aide Ben Rhodes, who griped this week that Trump didn't explicitly single out Russia during his appearance Tuesday before the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
"Trying to imagine what GOP would have said if Obama didn't call out Russia by name," Rhodes complained, apparently forgetting that his former employer rather famously dismissed the Russian threat.
Let's not forget former Vice President Joe Biden, who said in 2012: "Romney acts like he thinks the Cold War's still on, Russia is still our major adversary. I don't know where he's been. … This is not 1956."
Fast-forward to 2017, and the following remarks come from the exact same person:
[T]here are those who … wish to dissolve the community of democracies and supporting institutions in favor of parochial international order … the greatest threat on this front springs from the distinct illiberal and external actors who equate their success with fracturing the liberal international order.
I won't mince words. This movement is principally led by Russia. Under President Putin, Russia is working with every tool available to them to whittle away at the edges of the European project, test the fault lines among western nations and return to a politics defined by spheres of influence.
Are you kidding me with this right now?
These people all had a good laugh when Obama quipped during that 2012 presidential debate, "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War's been over for 20 years."
Were these people unaware of the 2008 Russo-Georgian conflict and everything it signaled about the Kremlin's larger ambitions? Did no one tell Clinton, Biden, etc. about the many cyberattacks Russia launched against the U.S. prior to the 2012 election? What about all the warnings from human rights activists and Russian dissidents?
A little more than four years later and many of the same people who cheered Obama's ill-advised "zinger" are now very, very serious about Russia.
They really didn't know Russia was a threat all the way back in 2012? Please.
Don't be a child.