I have been closely watching the situation surrounding the New York Times and Justice Brett Kavanaugh. It has developed into a food fight between the reporters and the editors, but one thing remains very apparent. The report left out some very critical details. They failed to mention that the person who was supposedly victimized by the action refused to be interviewed and had told friends she had not recollection of the event. But the reporters relied upon second and third hand accounts of what people said they thought they had witnessed and what they said someone told them had occurred.
This entire episode should give everyone pause no matter where you are on the political spectrum. What we are now doing is opening Pandora’s box where anything anyone has ever done as a youth can be used against them, and many times these incidents are not even true, but have the potential to ruin lives and careers. I don’t know exactly what happened and neither does anyone reading this blog. What I do know is that people who were opposed to the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh are quick to jump to the conclusion that it must be true and those that supported him are equally quick to defend him. That puts this entire situation back into the realm of partisan politics and it unfair to Justice Kavanaugh and anyone else involved. Some of the people being quoted in the article have strong political ties to opponents of this administration and therefore anyone appointed by the administration.
President Trump has waged a full-scale attack on the media and in my opinion, it has not been beneficial to either him or the nation. But in fairness the media has also been in full battle mode in attacking him. Some of it is warranted and some of it is not but the bias has become very open and most of the American public realizes it and that is not something that helps future Presidents and reporting. I read multiple newspapers each day and particularly the Washington Post since I spent the majority of my life in Washington, DC. If you read the Post, you will find very few positive or even neutral stories about Trump. It is heavily negative coverage and when you compare it to the fawning, they did over Barrack Obama you have to wonder if fairness in the media will ever exist again.
This week Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) convened the first of what he promises will be more hearings on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. His first witness was Corey Lewandowski. Unfortunately for Chairman Nadler he was presenting a witness that had more political savvy than the typical Congressional witness. The Democrats tried over and over to trap Lewandowski into giving them video footage of him reading what he has written down under the direction of the President with respect to instructions he was to give to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on removing the Special Counsel. Mr. Lewandowski consistently refused to read what they were putting up on the screen and welcomed them to read it for the audience and the hearing record. He knew full well this was an attempt to gain some campaign fodder and did not take the bait.
After hours of back and forth the consensus among even the liberal media was the hearing was a flop and, in some ways, a complete disaster for the Democrats. Nothing new was brought forward and everything that the Democrats on the Committee wanted to bring out was already on the record in the Mueller Report. Basically, they wanted to regurgitate the few items in the Mueller Report that they felt gave them ammunition for proceeding with impeachment of the President. They failed.
You have to wonder what is driving Congressman Nadler in this futile effort. I suspect that he is hearing the footsteps of his fellow New York Member of Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has subtly threatened to back a primary challenger for him if he does not commit to a full impeachment probe. But being realistic Mr. Nadler knows that there is absolutely no way that President Trump is going to be removed from office by the Congress. First, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is doing an adequate tap dance on the issue as she tries to support the progressives in her caucus by appearing to support impeachment proceedings while at the same time soft peddling any real attempt to bring this to the floor. The Speaker has over 20 new members that flipped Republican seats in the last election and they do not want to have to vote on any impeachment resolution. But let’s hypothesize that somehow the progressives get their way and force such a vote and the House actually passes a resolution calling for the impeachment of the President. Now the trial goes to the Senate and conviction (actual impeachment and removal from office) requires 67 votes. Nobody in their right mind believes that there is anywhere close to that many votes. In fact, it is highly doubtful that there is even 51 votes.
We need to identify what all of this really is, and it is political theater.
I want to write something of a more personal note. This week Emily Clyburn passed away. She is the wife of the House Majority Whip, Jim Clyburn (D-SC). She and Jim were friends and she will be greatly missed. I remember a story Jim told me that said everything you need to know about Emily. Jim had just been made a part of the Democrat leadership team. That means he now had a security detail of Capitol Police. He was sitting in his office when his wife called him from South Carolina. She began in an agitated voice with “Clyburn”. He now knew he was in trouble since she only used his last name when she was upset with him. She informed him that there were Capitol police at their house in South Carolina and that they also wanted to go out to their house on the lake. This house had been left to her by her parents and she did not want anyone poking around this most personal place. Jim had to explain to her that they were just doing their job and they would be very careful not to disturb anything. She relented but made it plain she was not happy about it.
A couple of weeks later she was with Jim in Washington for a dinner. At Reagan National Airport they were returning to South Carolina. As they approached the security line one of the police officers gently took her arm and told her to come with him. He led her around the security site and into the waiting room. She looked at him and said, “so I don’t have to take off my shoes?” He shook his head no. Emily then turned to Jim and with a smile on her face said, “This is not so bad after all and I could get used to this.”
My relationship with men like Jim Clyburn is one of the things I miss about Washington, DC. We were political opposites, but we were friends. We could talk about the things that were important in our lives and always had a smile on our faces when we ran into each other. I will be in Washington next month and I intend to stop and see Jim and express my condolences at his loss. Jim and Ms. Emily were closing in on 60 years of marriage and as my wife and I approach our 50th anniversary I know the void he will feel. My best wishes Jim.