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Outsiders vs. Insiders: How the wisdom of Ben Franklin would solve GOP's cowardly dilemma

It’s often said if terrorists ever succeed in altering our way of life they’ve already won the war on civilization because their goal is to force people to cease living free in order to stay alive.

Benjamin Franklin famously summed up this line of thinking, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Benjamin FranklinFranklin was right; you can’t live your life in fear. Perhaps Republicans in Congress should take a field trip to Philadelphia or Williamsburg (Virginia) to learn a little more about the courage and fortitude of the Founding Fathers.

A similar “live in fear” phenomenon is materializing in Washington these days as our political leaders seem to be using the whole Russia/Trump collusion/James Comey matter to justify their failure to move forward on the president’s agenda, as though the infinitesimal possibility Trump could actually be guilty of Russia-love is reason enough to stop passing laws.

The truth is if the legislative process halted every time there was a hint of scandal in Washington nothing would ever get done. The scurrilous Democrats are frequently engaged in something that merits further investigation (IRS blackballing Tea Party Groups, Monica Lewinsky, Benghazi, etc…) and they’re always pointing the finger at Republican presidents to try and foster humiliation (Iran/Contra, Russia/Trump, etc…).

It never ends. Politics is non-stop crisis, real or imagined – especially when the establishment media is actively involved.

Tragically it now seems like the James Comey hype is negatively affecting President Trump’s agenda. Sarah Westwood of the Washington Examiner reported, “In the nearly five weeks since Trump removed his FBI director, the Russian election-meddling probe that was once under Comey's purview has threatened to overtake the White House and grind its agenda to a standstill. West Wing aides faced a daily barrage of questions about the investigation and Comey's involvement with it until, in late May, they began referring all Russia-related inquiries to Trump's outside counsel…

“Trump's unpredictable use of Twitter, a staple of his political career since it launched in 2015, has become an obstacle to his efforts at building goodwill in Congress. Confronted with a steady stream of controversial or inaccurate tweets from the president, many Republican members have chosen to distance themselves from Trump rather than wade into the quicksand of defending Trump from himself.”

In other words it’s excuse after excuse after excuse. GOP leaders are allowing the loudest complainers to sabotage the party’s entire program. As far as I know there hasn’t been a single Trump utterance or tweet that’s ever prevented Republican congressmen from putting on their business attire, traveling to their offices and functioning as they normally should.

If Republicans choose to allow leftist grassroots phone and email campaigns – or media interrogations on Russia and Trump – to distract them from the real items on the agenda that’s their business. Having personally worked in a congressional office in the 90’s I’m fully aware of the sheer amount of, for lack of a better way to put it, crapola that members have to put up with.

That’s why there’s an army of fresh-out-of-college lowly paid support staff and nearly indentured servant interns hired to deal with constituent and media relations to free up congressmen and senators to attend their meetings, run from fundraiser to fundraiser and do whatever it is they do when they’re not back in their district going to ribbon-cuttings and town hall events.

The life of a congressman and senator isn’t as carefree and glamorous as the popular conception would have it; they have an incredibly time-consuming and stressful job which coincides with needing to deal with thousands of berserk unhappy people at any given time. But it still doesn’t excuse them from paying attention to the job of legislating. The rest is all extraneous boloney.

The James Comey affair is probably the biggest example of a nothing-burger the Democrats and media have used to derail attention-challenged congressional Republicans. Comey is like a 6’ 8” hat rack for those lacking intestinal fortitude to hang their pathetic gripes. But when push comes to shove President Trump was entirely justified in firing Comey.

Even those who know Comey personally (and respect him) agree it was time for him to go. Andrew C. McCarthy of National Review wrote over the weekend, “At last, at least for your humble correspondent, this week’s big hearing brought clarity. I now believe President Donald Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey because he believes Comey intentionally misled the public into believing Trump was under investigation by the FBI.

“There is enough support for this theory that, had the president been forthright in explaining it when he dismissed Comey on May 9, there might have been considerably less uproar. Instead, Trump dissembled, as he seems hardwired to do. He thus bought himself a debilitating special-counsel investigation, despite its being increasingly patent that there is no crime to investigate.”

As usual, McCarthy is correct in his assessment. At times Trump has difficulty explaining why he takes actions that otherwise would appear entirely defensible. I still maintain, however, that it was the Democrats and media that blew the whole Comey matter out of proportion. Comey was at the epicenter of liberal rage for much of 2016 and only subsequently became their hero after the former FBI Director stumbled and bumbled through numerous public pronouncements of Russian involvement in the election.

Anyone with eyes to see, ears to hear and a brain to think could gather from the earliest stages that there was nothing to the Russia/Trump collusion allegations. The Democrats worked so hard in the prelude to last year’s balloting to reassure the entire world that the actual votes could not be tampered with.

Yet when the DNC’s email dump was revealed by Wikileaks shortly before Hillary Clinton’s nominating coronation last July the Democrats began whispering “Russia” and it hasn’t stopped ever since. Never mind the fact no one seriously denied the veracity of the content of the emails which painted the entire Democrat party in a very unflattering light and had nothing to do with Trump, Russia, Comey or anything aside from a lack of conscience among them.

It was an internal squabble that, unfortunately for Democrats, reached the light of day. Like perpetuating the commonly held myth that blood only turns red when it hits oxygen (it’s always red) the Democrats sought to turn the world’s attention away from their own problems. And who better to blame than the Russians and Donald Trump?

And one important thing no one is asking in all of this -- why would the Russians in their right mind prefer Trump to Clinton? Didn’t Trump talk about another massive defense build-up?

It never made sense – and still doesn’t.

But strange as it may be to think there could actually be something positive to come from the Comey furor -- it’s uniting conservatives behind the president. Byron York of the Washington Examiner reported last week, “At about the moment fired FBI Director James Comey was sitting down to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee [a conservative crowd of about 700] was waiting in a Washington hotel to hear President Trump speak … at the annual meeting of the Faith & Freedom Coalition…

“Before the event, I asked an organizer to describe the audience's views on the Trump-Russia matter. Some are concerned, he said — not hair-on-fire concerned, but at least a little worried. Others, not at all — they believe that even if there is a molehill about Russia, which they don't think there is, it's the media that is exaggerating it into a mountain.

“If there were those who were worried, they weren't saying so.”

I haven’t met a single person who voted for or was inclined to support Trump and Republicans who is worried about the Russia “investigation,” much more so since Comey staggered through his testimony last week all-but clearing the president and his campaign and admitting the former FBI Director himself was a leaker while also proving to be the incredible shrinking man.

If grassroots conservatives and Republicans aren’t worried about Comey, why should congressman and senators be concerned? The GOP agenda will rise or fall with the support of Republicans already in Congress. Trump admitted last week that the Democrats are out of the equation (by their own choice).

The party has rarely enjoyed such an unfettered path to success…if they would only take it.

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