So Sen. Lindsey Graham wants to take a peek at several Barack Obama-era political curiosities, to put it kindly, that have left voters with bad tastes in their mouths — and Democrat Dick Durbin thinks that’s oh-so-stupid, oh-so-funny, oh-so-very, very ridiculous and worthless.
And he’s making his point with mocking. But really, Durbin’s laughter, thrown as it is Graham’s way, is actually a face-slap to voters.
Durbin’s condescension is all that’s wrong with today’s ruling political class.
The backstory: Now that Graham’s heading up the Judiciary Committee, he’s announced intent to look into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and into the FISA warrants that guided law enforcement looks into Carter Paige, former foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump.
These are valid queries.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court applications leading to the look at Page have been items of contention for some time. Business Insider wrote, back in July 2018: “Page was previously at the center of an intense debate over a classified memo about the FISA applications that Republicans said exposed corruption at the highest levels of the FBI and the Department of Justice. The memo accused top officials at the FBI and DOJ of misleading federal judges in seeking the warrants needed to extend secret surveillance of Page during and after the 2016 presidential election.”
In other words: Graham’s not the only one with questions about FISA.
As for Clinton’s email server? Come on. Only the most ardent of Clinton supporters — and maybe not even them, privately — would suggest that this ball of scandal isn’t worthy of unwinding. Graham’s quite right in using his leadership position to dig a bit deeper.
But to Durbin, it’s all pish-posh.
The stuff of stuff and nonsense.
“This is going to be like the History Channel,” Durbin said, after laughing over Graham’s investigative plans and labeling them the “thrilling days of yesteryear,” the Hill reported.
His mocking went on: “Instead of taking a look at the current issues, Lindsey Graham wants to go back and answer important questions about the Bermuda Triangle and Hillary Clinton. … [And] you know there is that question about Jimmy Carter which he probably wants to ask.”
But here’s the thing. Durbin’s drips of sarcasm may be his personal feel-good moment of the new congressional year.
To voters, though? To Republicans around the nation who’ve believed all along that the Clintons in general, and Hillary Clinton specifically, have been handed the golden goose egg of media silence on all things scandalous?
Well, that’s a big reason Trump’s in the White House — not Hillary. Consider that, oh ye Democrats of dying-from-laughter face.
It’s one thing if Durbin finds such lines of questioning humorous. But his public mocking of Graham’s investigative intents hits hard on voters’ ears. The message he’s sending isn’t simply that Graham, to him, is stupid. It’s rather all Republicans, all conservatives, even all Independents with lingering suspicions about Clinton, and valid concerns about America’s secret court system, are stupid.
And for a public servant, that’s an attitude that just screams for adjustment.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ckchumley.