Congress fiddles while our wanna-be Nero, befuddled and reckless, blunders about the globe torching alliances and embracing foes.
I’m not sure which is more dangerous—the roving wanna-be or the Republican-dominated Congress, whose incompetence was on full display in the joint hearing of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees yesterday. For nine hours, that group grilled Peter Strzok, Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI, whose major mistake was using his FBI-issued cell phone to send the kinds of text messages millions of us write every day—words expressing dismay and disgust over the politics of our time.
His most egregious offense, in the view of his GOP inquisitors, seemed to be that when his girlfriend sought reassurance Trump would never be elected, Strozk had replied “…we’ll stop him,” thus shocking the tender sensibilities of the Republicans, who saw it as a threat.
I was briefly in Madrid during the run-up to the 2016 election. One evening while a group of us dined at an outdoor café, a Brit stopped by our table seeking the same reassurance. We offered it, saying things like, “… we’ll never let that happen …never fear; not a chance …” Strozk’s response sounded a lot like ours. No threat, just a naive statement we believed at the time was true.
Carried gavel to gavel by major networks, the committees’ hearing offered only one thing: incontrovertible proof of the dysfunction of our legislative branch. What the committees saw as the purpose of their hearing is unclear. They were confused about the difference between political opinion and bias. Mr. Strzok helped them with that—or tried to—as he explained that we all have opinions, whereas bias means we allow those beliefs to so taint our view that we act, not in accordance with known facts, but in conformance with our beliefs. (I might add, since Mr. Strzok didn’t, that a lot of that tainting goes on inside the beltway these days.)
In my opinion, the purpose of the hearing was about the same as the purpose of those ever-recurring falsehood-strewn Trump rallies—entertainment for the GOP base, spiced by dismay for the rest of us. Now, in all honesty, there was some entertainment involved. At one point, Rep. Louie Gohmert, (R-Tex) alluded to Strozk’s infidelity, which was, incidentally, unrelated to the subject at hand. With that, the Dems had had enough; they roared disapproval, and an outraged New Jersey legislator, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman demanded of Gohmert, “Do you need your medication?”
Clearly, the GOP needs more than their meds. Spending nine hours in a pointless hearing … while thousands of children, ripped from their parents, remain alone; while Trump insults our NATO allies in Brussels; while anti-Trump protests erupt in the UK; while wanna-be Nero insists he wants to meet alone with his hero Putin?
Really? Republicans, you control Congress. What say you?