It’s a very interesting time to follow national politics these days. According to our elected leaders in Washington, D.C., I really should be dead right now. But somehow, I am still here writing this column.
Whether it’s Obamacare (passing or trying to repeal), tax cuts, Supreme Court justices and more, some claim every decision is life-and-death. Turns out they aren’t. Obamacare passed, and I didn’t die. Tax cuts passed, and while I have more money in my paychecks, I’m still here. The Supreme Court is still there, mostly divided while making decisions, and my life is going along just fine.
A perfect example of the overboard hyperbole was the “memo” that was released last week. Before it came out, the two sides of the debate saw the thing very differently. Republicans who read it claimed it would be bigger than Watergate and would once and for all clear Trump of any wrongdoing with Russia. Democrats said it would destroy our intelligence communities and cause our secret agents to, yes, die.
Well, Friday afternoon the memo was released and guess what — it was none of that. Nada, zilch, nothing even close.
What the memo showed is some of the top people in the FBI and DOJ don’t like Trump, and they used a dossier of information that has been debunked to legally spy on a Trump associate. The key word there is legally. We can debate whether the U.S. government should have the right to legally spy on U.S. citizens, but they do with a secret court warrant. And they got that warrant and used it legally.
The key to the memo was the feds knew the dossier was not legit and used it anyway. But why is that surprising? Really, why is it? If you ever go to a hearing, from grand juries to the secret FISA court, where the prosecutor alone is trying to get a court to side with them, they will use whatever evidence they have to make their case. They rarely present evidence of innocence. That’s for another day and another time.
And the key to the whole memo is that surveillance on this one individual began before the dossier was used. That information was added in an effort to maintain surveillance.
On to point two — the allegations from the Democrats. True, the memo probably made thousands and maybe hundreds of thousands of Americans question the FBI and DOJ, at least those leading the organizations. But put our intelligence communities at risk? Hardly. In fact, there wasn’t much in the memo that hadn’t already been reported in one form or another long before.
Yes, some of that reporting was secret, and the memo confirmed it, but I saw nothing that truly shocked me. So did it hurt our intelligence communities, hopefully the majority of whom are working overseas monitoring real threats to our nation? Not a chance. Another load of crap. And as I write this, I have not heard one story of a single agent dying as a result — at home or abroad.
The reality is the only names mentioned were already very public and very well known, not just in D.C., but to anyone who pays close attention to politics. There were no secrets released, no names of intelligence officers. Both sides loaded up on the hyperbole, both sides spewed loads of lies in an effort to get on TV and maybe make a name for themselves.
Our political climate, mostly in D.C., but certainly moving to statehouses, has become a laughingstock. Sure, there are still good people who run for office and try to make a difference. But it sure feels like the longer they stay in D.C., the more corrupt they get.
It may be time for term limits for Congress. Imagine political fights right now without Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnel. Actually, I would love to see that.
Yes, we would still have blowhards trying to make a name for themselves, but at least it would be new faces and, just maybe, new ideas.