I know, I said it’s time to move on. But you should watch this clip, now doing the rounds on Twitter.
Adam Schiff is one of my favourite members of Congress. Whenever he appears on the various cable news shows, he’s lucid, calm, highly intelligent, and laser-focussed on what really matters. He offers no talking points – he’ll tell you exactly why he contends what he does, with substantive, fact-based analysis, and you’d better do your homework if you want to debate him. You certainly won’t rile him, intimidate him, or leave him sputtering, grasping for words while you cackle nonsense at him – the standard GOP bag of tricks is useless against him.
He’s a formidable politician. I admire him greatly – my loyal readers (hi guys! When are we next having lunch?) will recall the many times I’ve revelled in what he’ll be able to do when he gets the gavel on his committee. Well, he has it now. In the wake of the mid-terms, he’s become Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, the one previously led by the almost unbelievable Trump-toadying GOP stooge, Devin Nunes, who’d be behind bars if I had it my way. The GOP doesn’t like that, and they’re on the attack. Their response to his leadership is spasmodic and predictable. They want him out, and claim he should resign because, they more than merely imply, he’s been lying about Trump for the past two years.
Schiff has been consistent in insisting that there’s plenty of evidence for the collusion with Russia that Trump denies, and he’s never allowed anyone who’ll listen to miss the distinction between crimes Mueller can prove beyond a reasonable doubt, and unethical and morally corrupt flirtations with a foreign power that merit the attention, and perhaps ultimately the action, of Congress. He has been clear on this from the outset, for almost two years now – that if Mueller couldn’t prove crimes, Congress still had a job to do, which was judging the fitness of a man to be President based on his demonstrated character, behaviour, and the underlying intent that can be reasonably inferred from the many underhanded things he countenanced, whatever can and cannot be “established” in criminal court.
Maybe the rest of us should have been pitching it that way all along, too.
The Republicans want to spike the ball and declare this is all over, which, sure, is the politically savvy thing to do, and fair enough, if Mueller’s report says what A.G. Barr’s wee crafty letter claims. They are, however, taking it to typically dishonest and vindictive lengths. They’re now calling for Schiff to step down as Chair, because, they say, he deliberately sold a false narrative about Trump, was wrong and thus acting in bad faith (a lying liar, you should feel free to conclude out there in TV land), and has poisoned the electorate with his false conspiracy theories, all arguments that they extrapolate from A.G. Barr’s four page summary of the Mueller Report. This is, of course, the purest horse-shit, and betrays how much they’re afraid that Schiff will see to it that Mueller’s conclusions on criminal conspiracy aren’t necessarily the end of the matter.
I’m on the record: we have to stop obsessing about Russia, now, not because we should by any moral or legal standard, but because it’s now counterproductive. Politically, yes, it’s time to move on. Impeachment is off the table, and the Democrats can’t campaign on Trump’s persistent game of footsie with Russian autocrats as a reason to flip the White House in 2020. They can’t let the next two years be nothing more than investigating Trump, either. They have to run for something, not against the current monster, and they have to advance legislation in the House that would benefit the American people, as doomed as it all is as long as the Republicans control the Senate, simply to show the electorate what could be, if they vote Democratic. On the trail, the eventual 2020 candidate has to ignore Trump and talk about what the Democratic Party will do to improve quality of life for average working people. Yes, yes, and many times yes.
That doesn’t mean they should bow down to GOP triumphalism, and let them sell the narrative that Donald was lily-white all along, never did anything wrong, and never should have been investigated at all because there was never any evidence of collusion – and by the way, any Democrat who thought different is a traitor and a liar and should be thrown out, and the investigation was itself illegal and an attempted coup. No. I can agree it’s time to move on, Hell I’ve said so, but there are some things a good person’s dignity will not abide. If they want to play that game, Chairman Schiff has a message for them.
Watch an honest man who knows what he’s doing and really cares rip these mendacious morons to shreds. You’ll never hear it done better, on this or any other topic, not even by AOC, whose fiery passion delights me. She inspires the way Bobby Kennedy once did. Schiff does it more like Aristotle. Facts. First principles. Logical conclusions. The truth, as best as we mortals can divine it.
Hold fast, Adam. Hold fast and kick their pale, white, Trump-enabling asses.