The Smirnoff Principle

Back in 1981, “Fort Apache, the Bronx” hit the big screen starring Paul Newman and Ed Asner, a political and physical lookalike of Jerrold Nadler. In this drama, police toss an innocent Puerto Rican youth to his death from the roof of a building. Leftist critics viewed the film as cinéma vérité about conditions in Reagan’s America, but they got some pushback from Russian actor-comedian Yakov Smirnoff.

“This is nothing,” Smirnoff said. “In Russia, KGB throws guy off roof to hit guy they really want.” Call it the Smirnoff Principle, and when it kicked in more than 30 years later it wasn’t exactly a laughing matter. Here’s how the back story unfolded.

As Pulitzer Prize winner David Garrow noted in Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, the Democrats’ 2008 candidate, a “composite character” formerly known as Barry Soetoro, proclaimed a complete transformation of the United States. Since the Democrats’ New Deal (FDR) and Great Society (LBJ) programs already made the nation a top-heavy welfare state, many Americans wondered what the transformation was all about.

On the healthcare side, the president proposed the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. To find out what was in it, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, Congress first had to pass it. The president assured Americans they could keep their own medical plans, their own doctors and so forth.

After Congress passed the measure, duly upheld by the Supreme Court, Americans learned that they couldn’t keep their own medical plans or their own doctors. Under this deal, Americans did not get the health care they wanted, but the health care the government wanted them to have. On top of that major shift, POTUS 44 was transforming the nation into a more authoritarian arrangement in which the outgoing president felt entitled to pick his successor.

That was former First Lady Hillary Clinton, whom he proclaimed more qualified that anyone to be president. Trouble was, she ran a corrupt foundation, violated laws about classified information, and destroyed some 30,000 emails lawmakers wanted to see. So the president deployed powerful players in the FBI and Justice Department to mount the “midyear exam” operation that would keep Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. Not to worry, James Comey said, she had only been careless.

Meanwhile, the president’s team had already targeted candidate Donald Trump, and when Clinton famously lost, they launched the Crossfire Hurricane operation against President Trump. To get Trump, the deep state drones went after Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Michel Flynn, Roger Stone et al, in some cases with pre-dawn raids and in terrorum tactics.

In effect, Robert Mueller’s spetsnaz squad threw these guys off the roof to hit the guy they really wanted. The nation had been transformed into an arrangement more like the Soviet Russia Yakov Smirnoff described. The conflict carries on in the Democrats’ impeachment efforts, launched, of course, even before Trump’s 2016 victory. With the conflict in stalemate, as Pelosi withholds the articles, here’s the high concept.

Those who favor impeachment, such as the compassionate former editor of Christianity Today, do not trust voters to make the call on who should be president. The impeachment sturmtruppen want one political party to make the call, with the presidential election less than a year away. And several presidential candidates openly tout an arrangement in which you don’t get anything you want, only what the government wants you to have.

With these people, as the late Frank Zappa put it, “Number one ain’t you. You ain’t even number two!” So as inspector Claude Lebel told Madame de Montpelier in The Day of the Jackal, “Be in no doubt as to the seriousness of your position.”

About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

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