In what was the first public hearing of a Trump campaign operative in the new Congress, the House Oversight Committee revealed how damaged our political process is. We were treated to a full day of inquisition by a completely cynical Republican caucus. With only one exception, Justin Amash (R-MI), the Republican committee members spent their entire time trying to undermine and destroy Michael Cohen, never addressing the fact that Trump chose to hire him and had him in his employ him for 10 years, nor that he presented clear evidence of wrongdoing by the President. In so doing, they further poisoned a political well that is already damaged from years of prior poisonings.
Michael Cohen is hardly a perfect person – I don’t even think he’s a good person. IKARUS-256.51 white dark red 1 43 Classicbus RARE Ferrari J50 Spider 2016 Bianco Liana White Met LOOKSMART 1 43 LS485B ModelHe lied before Congress and cheated on his taxes, committed bank fraud, and violated campaign finance laws. However, as any prosecutor would know, you don’t always get perfect people as witnesses. The point is that Cohen showed some contrition, spoke in a clear and organized way, and most importantly, provided the receipts to back up his claims. Checks don’t lie, and not a single member of the Republican caucus questioned his evidence. Instead we were provided with endless hectoring, yelling, puerile visual aids, racial tokenism, questions about potential book and movie deals, and a bizarre demand that he account for boxes of his belongings that the FBI had returned to him that came right out of the strawberries scene in “The Caine Mutiny.”
And so the Republican caucus of the Oversight committee, which ran endless and fruitless investigations of the Benghazi affair and the Clinton emails story has shown that it is not interested in getting at the truth, but rather wishes to protect a President of their own party.Cadillac S&S Ambulance Red White 1966 NEO43898 1 43Mercedes Sl Class 2008 Yellow Minichamps 1 43 436037530 Model As Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said to Cohen, “our colleagues aren’t upset because you lied to Congress for the president. They’re upset because you’ve stopped lying to Congress for the president.”
This is no way to run a railroad. I remember watching the Watergate hearings in school, and I noted that although several of the Republican Senators were Nixon loyalists, at least a few made more than token efforts to get at the truth. Some, including Howard Baker, did better than that, asking for example, “what did the President know, and when did he know it?” But all of them made good faith efforts to allow the hearings to go forward. In the current Congress, no such efforts are being made by Republicans, save Justin Amash. It’s really very sad.
The cynicism that has infected our political system can, in part, be linked to Reagan’s lifting of the fairness doctrine,1958 John Deere 730 with blade 1 16 Ertl 45297Bn85-0,5 x WIKING H0 1 87 Camión Scania Expedición IPEC + ESPLENDOR + which allowed for the rise of 24-7 hate mongers like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and so many others. Before that time, radio stations had to provide some kind of ideological balance. Since that time, many media outlets, such as Fox News Entertainment, have become explicitly political. In the ensuing years, it has gotten progressively worse. The Willie Horton ad, the smears against John Kerry, the birtherism attacks on Barack Obama, and the sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton are but a few examples of this worsening. More to the point, as pointed out by many, including most recently Chris Cuomo, someone like Donald Trump is able to get away with his constant spewing of hatred and bile precisely because our political system has been brought to such a low state.
However, what Cuomo failed to address is his network’s own role in this denigration. HOT WHEELS 2011 GARAGE 30 CAR SET REAL RIDERS FERRARI FORD DODGE CHEVY VW NewGama ca. 1 43 Volkswagen VW 411 green in OVPEvery night, and especially during election seasons, CNN brings us Brady-bunch like montages of some of the worst cranks you’ll ever see in an effort to provide “both sides” of a story that does not always have two sides. This is all done to create controversy where none was warranted in the name of ratings. Many of them have ended up being banned from their airwaves, among them Jeffrey Lord. Nonetheless, that does not negate the fact that these people had clear track records of spewing garbage, and yet CNN chose to employ them to shore up their ratings. On Fox News, almost all of their commentators play his role, with Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace among the exceptions.
The breathless coverage of the Clinton email story, nonstop footage of empty Trump podiums, RUSSTAL024 Russian Commissar Advancing with Tokarev Pistol by First LegionARTE MODELO 1 43 DIE CAST AUTO FERRARI 500 TRC 1956 NURURGRING red ARTE 97-026and full coverage of Trump rallies during the 2016 campaign was truly disgusting, as was the provision of hundreds of hours of free airtime to Trump by CNN and MSNBC. It is the media’s job to cover stories based on the facts, not to provide false equivalences in a pathetic attempt to appear objective and attract viewers. What are people to make of their electoral choices if both candidates are so denigrated?
The point is not that Cuomo was wrong, it’s that the media is a large part of the reason people have such a poor view of politicians. BMW 3.0 Csl (E9) Coupe 1973 Yellow 1 18 Minichamps 180029028 NewPlayart set highway patrol item n. 7592 porsche polizei police 386Yes, a number of our politicians are flawed, and yes, some of them belong in jail. However, a good number of them come to Washington seeking to implement policy solutions that they think will help the country. But in the face of decades of unrelenting attacks, mostly by the right, the willingness of many people to believe that anyone who enters politics has any purpose nobler than lining their pockets has been sharply eroded. Is it any surprise, then, that so many people were to willing to vote for a deeply flawed candidate like Donald Trump? As Cuomo suggested, if the disease is this bad, at least we’ll vote for someone who says he cares about us (which was yet another Trump lie).
This nihilism was brought into sharp relief with this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) convention, the speakers for which seemed to be drawn from a list of every right wing nut they could lay hands on. Here we were treated to endless diatribes about “Democrat party” plans to take away our hamburgers, cars, and airplanes by fascists like Sebastian Gorka, criticisms of the late Sen. John McCain by third rate hacks like Michelle Malkin, BROOKLIN BRK FS04 1940 GRAHAM HOLLYWOOD CONgreenIBLE blueE MINT BOXED1978 VW T2 black Bandit Collection 1 64 Echelle Greenlight 27840 Nouveauseemingly sacrilegious claims by a pillow maker that Trump was chosen by G-d, unhinged nonsense about infanticide by a sitting US Vice President, and a two hour rambling speech by Donald Trump filled with hatred, irrelevancies, and curses. To say nothing of Trump’s truly odd hugging of the flag, as though he was holding onto a palm tree during a tropical storm. The clear aim of this hot mess is to “brand” the Democrats for 2020, and also to stir up hatred of anyone not on the Trump train.
So long as the Republicans take this approach, they may win elections, but they continue to bring the level of political discourse down and foment unrest, to the detriment of our country. The level of cynicism is hard to fathom. In the long-term, it is unclear what will happen after their savior, Trump, leaves the scene. At 72 years of age, he’s no kid, and even if he wins a second term, he will some day leave.
The dual challenge to Democrats is not only to combat the rampant corruption, evil, and cynicism of the Trump era legally, but also to provide an antidote to those problems. They need to provide a positive vision for America. As much as I do not like Ronald Reagan, that was his great gift. If they can do it, maybe we can get out of this infinite regress. If not, our political process will continue in its downward spiral.