The Things That Seem and Those That Are

| January 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

By
George Mitrovich

I wasn’t doing a January column. Too much going on with planning programs for The City Club of San Diego (four programs before February’s end), The Denver Forum’s big farewell luncheon for Governor John Hickenlooper, January 3 (the governor is leaving office after sixteen years as Denver’s mayor and Colorado’s chief executive, but will soon announce he’s running for president).

In addition, I just returned from from a Boston trip and a very big Red Sox Writers Series event at Fenway Park with Jane Leavy, Babe Ruth’s biographer (she was here for The City Club last fall), and an eight day trip over Christmas to Arlington, Virginia, to be with our son, Tim, his wife, Lisa, and their daughters, Jessica and Juliette.

But then, I came across something I had written last May, and rereading it decided it has held up, seven months later.

So, here it is:

Just finished reading “Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War,” written by The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos, David Remnick, and Joshua Yaffa.

The New Yorker is famous for running long articles, but perhaps none longer that this remarkable piece of reportage (as the French might say).

I did not read it in a single sitting. I’ve done that with many New Yorker articles, but not this, more like four or five.

If you want specifics from the article, you will need to read it. All I can do here is share my overall impressions, which are:

1. The evil that is Putin and the Russia apparatchik is beyond dispute, as is their undermining of the 2016 election. Many Trumpians will deny that, but they deny that out of their profound ignorance (although using “profound” in the same sentence with many “Trump supporters” no doubt qualifies as an oxymoron).

2. The sabotaging of the presidential election is not the sole reason Trump won, but when you lose the presidency by 70,000 critical votes, its impact cannot be overstated.

3. But Russia’s role in the election in securing Trump’s improbable “victory” is secondary to the mind-boggling incompetence of Hillary Clinton and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

It’s impossible to overstate Ms. Clinton’s failure and that of her $800,000,000 campaign, or that of her 1,000 campaign staff, to grasp what was happening in America.

Neither Ms. Clinton nor her staff got it, but Trump did. How is that possible other than rank incompetence? (That is not The New Yorker’s point, but it’s mine.)

It was obvious very early on that Congresswoman Schultz, doubling as chair of the DNC (always a bad idea, as you can do justice neither to your constituents nor to the committee you lead) favored Ms. Hillary over Senator Bernie Sanders.

Her denials were hollow and unconvincing, as Wikileaks proved. But by the time the facts were established and Ms. Schultz had resigned (replaced by Donna Brazile; at best a wash, more likely a loss), it was too late, as the supporters of Senator Sanders were livid, with due cause — and Ms. Clinton as the Democratic nominee, continued on with her tone deaf campaign.

4. But despite Ms. Clinton’s colossal failings as a presidential candidate, she was on track to win the election and become the 45th President of the United States, until Friday, October 29, 2016, the day that James Comey, director of the FBI, issued a statement saying the bureau was reopening its investigation into Ms. Clinton’s emails, while she served as secretary of state.

Perhaps in presidential campaigns there have more egregious acts that sunk a candidate, but not one that readily comes to my mind.

I knew the day it happened it would have disastrous results for Ms. Clinton’s campaign; a disaster aided and abetted by President Obama’s failure to fire Director Comey for his unforgivable breech of Justice Department protocol.

Yes, it’s true Comey came off as a hero during his Senate testimony last spring, but that does not change the damage he did to Ms. Clinton’s presidential campaign, which changed the course of American history.

How ironic the person who benefitted the most from Mr. Comey’s wrong headed decision was candidate Trump; who later, as President Trump, fired Mr. Comey.

Hard to believe all these words later that my purpose in writing about The New Yorker’s article, then and now, is to encourage you to set aside the necessary time and read the reporting of Osnos, Remnick, and Yaffa (it’s available online, and it’s still relevant).

But if you do, you will see that despite Trump’s accusations of “witch hunt,” of his unrelenting attacks on both our law enforcement and national security institutions, of Sean Hannity and Fox News’ parroting of Trump, of the willful blindness of Trump’s “base”, that despite it all, 2020 and running again for Trump is over. If he isn’t impeached, he will be a one-term president, and we may then echo what President Gerald Ford said when Nixon was gone from the White House — “Our long national nightmare is over.”

Cheers for the New Year!

George Mitrovich is a San Diego civic leader. He may be reached at: gmitro35@gmail.com.

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